Compex Recovery: Which Program Should I Use?

The most common use for an electric stimulation devices is in recovery, and rightfully so. An NMES device such as Compex can be used to decrease recovery time by using involuntary muscle contractions and controlled levels of electric pulses to improve blood flow, reduce muscle soreness and flush away lactic build up. But if you turn on a Compex device, there are more recovery programs than just one and knowing how to choose the correct program will further enhance the benefit of using a Compex device.

So which program should you choose?

Active Recovery

This program is also known as the Training Recovery program in the wireless device. This program would be best used immediately post workout and studies have shown that immediate recovery markers are improved by 4.5x when using a Compex device versus a voluntary cool down. Although the program will run for 20 minutes, just 6 minutes of use is enough to be effective in flushing out lactic build up and recovering from “the pump.” This program would be very beneficial in a competition setting or between back-to-back training sessions or events.

 Recovery Plus

This program is also known as Competition Recovery in the wireless device. This program would be best utilized in the hours or days following a physical effort or on “rest day” to reduce muscle soreness or stiffness. This program should not, however, be used during competition.


This program is also known as Muscle Relaxation in the wireless device. This program is a low-frequency electric pulse that will help to relax tight muscles and help restore mobility with increased blood flow and movement. Like the Recovery Plus, this program should not be used during competition.

 Choosing the correct program can help to amplify the efficiency of your recovery between training and competition events. Better recovery equates to higher levels of performance and decreased feelings of fatigue or soreness and can help an athlete advance to the next levels of their potential.

Fitness Test: Compex Muscle Stim Devices

Check out the review in Men’s Health and Fitness on the Sport Elite and Wireless Device by  Brittany Smith.  Complete article here

YOU CAN ZAP your muscles—literally send an electric current down to nerve fibers, fire your motor neurons, and stimulate a strong muscle contraction. It’s called NMES, neuro-muscular electrical nerve stimulation; more specifically, we’re talking about two NMES stimulators from Compex, a company that’s been in the business of electrotherapy for over 20 years. So why should you want to try it out? For one, NMES can help you heal quicker if you’re coming back from an injury. But, it’s not just for guys who have been sidelined. It can also help you recover faster after a brutal WOD and even boost your performance in workouts by better activating bodyparts.

And it doesn’t hurt—aside from some alien tingling sensation you quickly get used to. I can attest to this; I tested both the Compex Sport Elite Muscle Stimulator Kit and the Compex Wireless USA Muscle Stimulator Kit.

But before you read what I thought, check out everything you need to know about personal NMES devices first.

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A Lesson in Lactic Acid: Active Recovery with Compex

Virtually every human being has experienced the bodily responses associated with strenuous activity or physical exertion. Heavy breathing and muscle fatigue are not unique to athletes alone, although high-performance individuals certainly experience strain to an exceptionally higher degree. Regardless of intensity, however, the science is the same and a basic biological understanding of how our human bodies respond to physical stress is important to understand how to best recover.

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What is E-Stim and How Will Compex Help My Training?

Electric muscle stimulation, or neuromuscular electric stimulation (NMES), is a common modality of physical therapy and rehab treatment. For serious athletes, however, it is also used as a powerful tool for training and physical recovery to optimize performance. More commonly referred to as e-stim or muscle stim, an NMES device delivers electronic pulses to motor nerves through electrodes placed on the skin, causing a motor response to achieve a number of desired results.

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TENS VS. NMES: What’s the Main Difference?

Whether looking for a tool to boost your fitness and strength or recover from an injury quickly, electric muscle stimulation (EMS) can help you achieve your goal. With that comes many questions, like what exactly is NMES and TENS? This is a common question we get at events when we are demonstrating the Compex’s uses and benefits. To avoid further confusion, we want to clarify the differences between NMES (NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation) and TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). Many people have been in physical therapy and may have had an experience with TENS and NMES devices, but were not educated on the difference between these types of stimulus.

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Introducing Compex Wireless USA

Introducing the first FDA-cleared wireless electric muscle stimulation device designed to enhance performance and speed recovery. For over 20 years Compex has been the global leader in electrotherapy, with products beneficial for muscle recovery, injury prevention and intense training programs. Now with the release of the Compex Wireless USA athletes can experience freedom from wires which raises the training experience and allows athletes to take their workout to the next level.

Professional athletes of all sports from running, functional-fitness and cycling, to basketball and football can integrate Wireless USA into their daily training routines to achieve peak performance and desired results.

From fast recovery to muscle-strength gains and endurance improvements, the use of Wireless USA provides athletes and fitness enthusiasts with an intelligent tool to supercharge their performance and prevent future injuries. The device recruits specific motor nerves by targeting muscle fibers that cannot be reached through traditional workouts and training.

“Compex has been a key tool to enhance my performance since I started training,” said Josh Bridges, 2014 CrossFit Games Competitor. “It allows me to activate all my muscle fibers, dig deeper and ultimately get stronger for competition day. With the introduction of Wireless USA, I’m now able to have more freedom and increase the usage of NMES in my training.”

Additional Compex enthusiasts include: Chad Mendes (UFC), Steve Weatherford (NFL), Andy Potts (Ironman), John Wellborn (Strength Coach), among others.


World Champion Triathlete Timothy O’Donnell credits Compex muscle stimulation for recovery during training

Training for a triathlon is no easy feat and there are many elements that come into play when you’re working to become the best athlete possible. World champ triathlete, Timothy O’Donnell recently spoke to Outside Magazine about how he prepares for these strenuous races and credits Compex’s portable electrical stimulation machines during training.

“I have a lot of calf issues,” O’Donnell says in the magazine article. “When they get tight, I hook up the machine and it sends electrical pulses into the muscles.”

Triathlons require stamina and endurance leading up to and during the race so it’s important to maintain strength and health. The Electro Muscle Stimulation maximizes your muscle recovery so you can realize all of your fitness goals. It also flushes lactic acid by increasing blood flow to fight against the sensation of heavy legs, keeping you on top of your game. Compex recovery products also help to stimulate your endorphins to deliver pain relief, further relax muscles and even reduce anxiety.

O’Donnell will be competing in the Ironman Kona October 11on a 140.6 mile journey and we wish him all the luck. For the full article, click here.

Compex Recovery Series: Plantar Fasciitis


If you feel a sharp pain in your heel when you take your first steps in the morning, you might have a condition called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one the most common causes of heel plain and approximately 2 million patients are treated for it every year.

Plantar fasciitis is caused when the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. The plantar fascia connects your heel bone to your toes and is designed to act like as a shock absorber, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension on it becomes too great, small tears can occur in the fascia. Plantar fasciitis is often common in runners and people who are on their feet for extended periods of time.

If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, you’ll notice a stabbing pain after you get out of bed in the morning and begin walking. The pain may subside once you walk around a bit and your foot loosens up, but it may return standing or getting after sitting down for a while or when you go up stairs. If your are experiencing foot pain at night, you may have a different problem. Consult with your doctor as you may have arthritis or tarsal tunnel syndrome, not plantar fasciitis.

There are several additional factors that may increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. This condition is most common between the ages of 40 and 60. In addition to runners, risk is increased for dancers, particularly ballet dancers because dance can increases stress on the heel and attached tissue. Dancers may also have high arches, another factor. If your job requires you to be on your feet all day, your risk of plantar fasciitis increases as well.


Despite it being a painful condition, most people recover from who plantar fasciitis recover in just a few months with treatment. First and foremost, resting and getting off your feet for a while is recommending. The following can also help soothe the symptoms and prevent plantar fasciitis in the future.


Taking ibuprofen or naproxen, common pain relievers, may ease pain and reduce inflammation.


Just like with your Achilles tendon, stretching out your calf muscles can help to reduce the stress on your fascia by allowing more flexibility in your foot.

  • Calf stretch
    • Try leaning forward against a wall with one knee straight and the heel on the ground. Then place the other leg in front, with the knee bent. Push your hips toward the wall in a controlled fashion and old the position for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise 20 times for each foot. You should feel a strong pull in the calf during this stretch.
  • Plantar fascia stretch
    • Sit down and cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grab the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you in a controlled fashion. If you cannot reach your foot, wrap a towel around your big toe to help pull your toes toward you. Place your other hand along the bottom of our foot. The fascia should feel like a tight band when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds then release. Repeat it multiple times per foot. For best results, try this exercise in the morning before standing or walking.

Night splints

Just like with the exercises listed above, a split may help stretch your calf and the arch of you foot. Night splints do this for you while you sleep by holding the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight that helps them stretch out.

Supportive Shoes and Orthotics

Supportive inserts like heel cups or custom arch supports can help reduce pain by increasing foot support and distributing your weight more evenly. Also, wearing worn out running shoes actually increases your risk of plantar fasciitis as well as aggravates it so make sure you are wearing shoes with proper fit and support.

Electric Muscle Stimulation

Using an electric muscle stimulator Compex can also help you recover from plantar fasciitis by breaking up adhesions without impact. Here is how to use your Compex unit to help with recovery:



Compex Recovery Series: Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendon

If you have pain along the back of your leg near your heel, you may have Achilles tendonitis. Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that commonly occurs in runners and “weekend warriors”.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. Named after a tragic hero from Greek mythology, it connects your calf muscle to your heel bone to allow you to jump, run and walk.

Achilles tendonitis is most common in middle-aged men, but it can happen to anyone who has a sudden increase in physical activity. The risk is increased if you also have tight calf muscles and/or a flat arch in your foot. Other risk factors include running in worn out shoes, cold weather, frequently running uphill or if you suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

There are two main types of Achilles tendinitis: insertional and noninsertional. Insertional Achilles tendinitis involves the lower portion of the heel, where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. Noninsertional Achilles tendinitis is when the fibers in the middle portion of the tendon have started to break down with tiny tears, swell, and/or thicken. This type is more often seen in younger, active people. Both types can also cause bone spurs.

Achilles tendonitis should be diagnosed by your doctor. However, if you experienced a sudden “pop” in the back of your calf or heel, this might be something more serious like a ruptured or torn Achilles tendon. If this happens, see your doctor immediately.


More often than not, Achilles tendonitis can be treated without surgery. However, recovery may take a few months. The following will can help you recover and get back in the game.


Rest is always the most important thing when recovering from an injury. Your body needs a break to heal. While taking time off from exercise is recommended, if you just can’t ditch all physical activities, switch to more low-impact ones while you’re recovering. When resting your Achilles, try biking, swimming or using an elliptical machine until you’re fully healed.


Icing the injured area of your Achilles tendon throughout the day can help to reduce the swelling and pain. However, try not to ice it for more than 20 minutes at a time.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication is recommended to help reduce the swelling and pain associated with Achilles tendonitis. These include such drugs as ibuprofen and naproxen. While they will reduce swelling, the do not reduce the thickening for the tendon. If you find yourself taking these medications for more than a month, speak with your doctor.


Exercise might be the cause of Achilles tendonitis, but it can also help prevent it and aid in recovery. The following exercises can help reduce stress on the Achilles tendon:

  • Calf stretch
    • Calf tightness is a contributing factor to Achilles tendonitis. Strengthening and stretching your calf muscles can help. Try leaning forward against a wall with one knee straight and the heel on the ground. Then place the other leg in front, with the knee bent. Push your hips toward the wall in a controlled fashion and old the position for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise 20 times for each foot. You should feel a strong pull in the calf during this stretch.
  • Bilateral heel drop
    • Stand at the edge of a stair with just the front half of your foot on the stair. Make sure you have good balance or hold onto a railing if necessary. Lift your heels off the ground then slowly lower your heels as low as you can go while still on the stair. Repeat this step 20 times. This exercise should be done in a slow and controlled manner, as moving too quickly can potentially injury the tendon.

Supportive shoes and orthotics

If you’re experiencing chronic Achilles pain, you may want to invest in supportive shoes or shoe inserts. These can be helpful if your Achilles tendonitis lasts longer than a few months.

Electric muscle stimulation

Electric muscle stimulators are great for helping sore muscles recover. Compex can be used to help relax the muscles, increase blood flood and decrease pain associated with Achilles tendonitis. Take look below to see what programs to use and the best pad placement for relief.