Why trainers love it: These boots use peristaltic pulse dynamic compression (PPDC), developed by a physician-bioengineer, to improve blood flow and remove waste products like lactate, explains Lauren Deluca, Tier X coach at Gold Coast in Chicago.
Here’s how it works: In a comfortable seated position, you slip into the boots (often called boots), which are divided into five internal zones: feet and ankles, calves, knees, lower thighs, and upper thighs. Once you start the session, the boots inflate section by section, working their way up. Using different pulsating patterns, they hold and release pressure at various points, activating some muscles while relaxing others.
The nuanced, segmented compression makes NormaTec great for speeding recovery, easing inflammation, and reducing post-workout soreness. Plus, the device swaddles you, which is incredibly restorative, says Samantha Carmean, Tier X manager at Hudson Yards in New York City.
NormaTec’s cult-like following is growing: Pro sports teams and athletes like LeBron James also swear by the recovery system. Here’s why Equinox experts love it.
How: Your muscles are made, in part, of something called sarcoplasm, which is typically in a gel-like state. This makes them resistant to lengthening, causing a certain healthy level of stiffness to help you avoid overstretching any one muscle. PPDC thins out that sarcoplasm, making your muscles more elastic. In turn, you’ll have a wider range of motion afterward, so you can get deeper into a squat on a strength day or Pigeon Pose during yoga.
Take advantage: Spend 10 minutes in the boots before any workout, Deluca says.
How: While foam rollers and vibrating massage guns improve local circulation, NormaTec boots target entire swaths of the body at once.
The resulting blood flow helps your muscles and tissues absorb more nutrients to repair breakdown after intense workouts, says Abe Maynard, Tier X coach at Santa Monica in California. In turn, you’ll experience less delayed onset muscles soreness than normal. All the experts agree using the boots regularly helps them train at greater intensities more often.
Take advantage: Use the boots as often as every day to reduce soreness, even on rest days. At the very least, spend 15 to 30 minutes in the machine as part of your cool-down after heavy lifts, HIIT, long runs, and other intense workouts.
How: Research shows compression gear calms your nervous system, so just being in the boots puts your body in a resting, or parasympathetic, state. But because the boots are a form of passive recovery (in other words, they require zero effort on your part), each session is also a great opportunity to meditate or practice mindfulness, Carmean says.
Take advantage: Try a simple, breath-focused meditation: For five minutes of your session, inhale for four counts, hold for four, then exhale for eight. Focus on the breath; any other thoughts that come up, acknowledge them and let them pass. This way, you’ll get a total reset—in body and mind.