NormaTec Compression Boots Make Me Cry Most Nights


My love affair with NormaTec compression boots started years ago. In a previous life, before I was impregnated with the spawn of my husband, I was training hard to be in fight-ready shape for whenever an opportunity for a boxing match came up. This meant being in the gym before and after work on most days, sparring on Saturdays, and getting a rest day on Sunday.

That rest day was never enough, though, and I eventually came to realise that recovery was just as important as how I was training in order to make the gains I needed to keep fighting at a national level. Resting more wasn’t an option, either (there was a pesky thing called work in the way), so I started looking into what the best athletes in the world were doing to help speed up recovery.

Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr says Normatecs are one reason she’s able to train as hard as she does. Source: YouTube

One of the answers: compression boots. Top tennis player and WH cover star Naomi Osaka is an official fan. CrossFit GOAT Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr is another one. So, in my lunch break, I’d head to the recovery clinic near work, sit in the NormaTecs for 30 minutes, feel like a new woman, and end the day boxing with fresh legs. I tried to do this at least once a week.

Today, I’m at a different stage of life, where my spawn is now 10-months-old but I feel like my body is in a similar need for recovery as it was in those fighting days. Who knew that being a new mum to a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night, working full-time, while trying to get my own consistent training in would end up feeling like I was back in fight training mode? But it does and my focus again is back on those things that helped me feel rested and recovered. And all I can say is, thank the universe for Normatecs.

WH editor Lizza using Normatecs during fight training
WH editor Lizza using Normatecs to recover from fight training (left) and in beast mode (right)

What are they?

The Normatec Pro 2.0 Leg System – the official name for the compression boots that now have a highly venerated, permanent spot in our lounge room – uses air pressure to massage the legs in order to enhance blood flow and speed up recovery. The pulse massage pattern, created by a physician bioengineer, helps to move fluid out of the limbs and mimics the muscle pump of legs to increase circulation. The great thing about Normatec Pro 2.0, versus the 2.0, is the number of options and how customisable it is. The Pro has two main massage pattern settings: Normatec Pulse, which is a less intense sensation than the second setting, Sequential, which is what I use to recover after heavy leg sessions.

What does it feel like?

The best way to describe how the Normatec compression boots feel is that it’s a similar sensation to having your blood pressure taken. Except imagine that instead of a cuff around your arm, you’re wearing two boots that inflate (and then deflate) into five different zones along your legs, squeezing and releasing. You can change the pressure level to suit you too. Levels 1 to 3 are good to use to warm up before a session and promote good blood flow. Levels 4 to 7 help to speed up muscle recovery, reduce soreness and increase circulation. It goes all the way up to level 10. With the Normatec Pro 2.0, you can even change the zones, eg, if you wanted to avoid your ankles for some reason, you could skip zone 1. Or, if you’re a short-ass like me and have boots that are slightly too long for you, you can skip zone 5 so that it doesn’t feel like it’s cutting into areas it shouldn’t (ahem, pelvic region).

How I use them

Like I mentioned earlier, my life right now feels like it requires the same focus on recovery as it did when I was fighting. On top of work, I try to get to the gym at least four days a week (two weights sessions, two boxing sessions – I haven’t decided yet if I’ll fight again, but I’d like to get fit enough to start sparring), and then there are all the endless responsibilities that come with having a 10-month-old who still wakes up for feeds in the night (my husband and I share night feed duties these days).

For the past month, I’ve been using the Normatecs at least twice a week, especially after a heavy weights day, and up to four times a week. My Normatecs ritual goes like this: at night, after the baby has gone to bed and I’ve sent my last work email, I’ll set myself up on the couch, hit level 8 for 45 minutes and watch Westworld (I know, I’m really, really late to the party), or read a good book, while eating my dessert of choice (this week, it’s been double chocolate cream). Afterwards, I feel so relaxed and sleep like a dream – well, as much as possible with the night feeds – and the next day when I would usually have DOMS from doing heavy barbell squats the day before, I feel fresh.

Naomi Osaka told WH that Normatecs were an important part of her recovery.

What are the benefits?

According to Normatec, these are the proven benefits:
– Enhance healthy circulation
– Decrease muscle soreness and fatigue
– Increase range-of-motion
– Reduce inflammation
– Speed recovery
– Promote relaxation

Who shouldn’t use it?

Normatec says stay clear if you have any of the following conditions:
– Acute pulmonary edema
– Acute thrombophlebitis
– Acute congestive cardiac failure
– Acute infections
– Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
– Episodes of pulmonary embolism
– Wounds, lesions, infection, or tumors at or near the site of application
– Where increased venous and lymphatic return is undesirable
– Bone fractures or dislocations at or near the site of application

Is it worth it?

The RRP for the NormaTec Pro 2.0 Pro Leg System in Australia is $1,999.95. It’s a hefty investment, but absolutely worth it if recovery and training are important parts of your life. Most clinics charge around $60 for half an hour in them, so you’d need to use them 33.33 times (to be exact) to break even on costs. My advice? Before you buy a pair, try it at one of the recovery clinics to see if you like it first.

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