The latest technologies aren’t always gizmos with buttons. Sometimes they’re much closer to home, much more in tune with what we need in our everyday life. And when it comes to exercise technology, one of the growing trends is cooling down your body during and after training.
There’s an important reason for that: according to recent studies excess heat inside the body can cause muscles to remain sore for longer, for workouts to be more difficult, and for you to tire more easily. As the body heats up internally we get tired faster. Our bodies cause this tiredness so we don’t unintentionally overheat. That information isn’t new — there’s a good reason why gyms are air conditioned and why so many people claim that working out in the cold is better.
Unfortunately that knowledge isn’t shared much, and it’s extremely important for us after exercising to cool down for two reasons: to relieve potential soreness earlier, and of course to cool off faster. Movies with athletes sitting in tubs of ice after games aren’t a joke. Perhaps the more problematic issue is actually icing down after exercise is tough to manage because you have to stop everything and keep whatever you want to cool off, like calves or ankles after running or arms after lifting weights, in place and iced down.
HyperIce is a new company that produces five different ice packs that are meant to alleviate all of these ailments, especially for athletes who stress very specific parts of the body. I tested the Utility — the smallest and most formidable of the bunch — and it fits for arms and legs, though is too small for the back, shoulders, and knees. HyperIce does offer larger ice packs for those body regions as well.
The HyperIce is a simple velcro-connected strap that combines an ice pack (called an ice “cell) and a cloth holster that wraps around the body part in question and keeps the ice cell in place. The idea is brilliant: a simple, well designed, and really easy to use ice pack that stays in place so you can go about your business while cooling off or icing down.
The combination of different components is what makes the HyperIce significant and useful. The ice cell has an air-release button to keep the rubber cell tout so ice firmly rests on the skin, while the velcro straps enable users to tie down the HyperIce to a specific region of the body. To remove excess air from the pack, just squeeze the rubber cell and press down on the button to slowly release the air. The cell pops in and out of the cloth part without fuss, and fits snugly inside. While HyperIce suggests using cut or shaved ice instead of full ice cubes, cubes work fine. They don’t fit as comfortably on the skin and lower the coverage of ice-on-skin, not having shaved or cut ice available isn’t a deal breaker.
I’ve used the HyperIce Utility for the past two months with a lot of success, and I’m really happy with it for two main reasons: first, actually using it is quick and painless. Just fill up the cell with ice and strap it on. I have problems with my wrists, forearms, and elbows from too much typing but also overuse due to constant work and exercise and little rest time. In the past I just had to stop doing certain exercises, like pushups on my fists (instead of open-handed), and a number of other hand/wrist-specific exercises. I would get sore, go back to work, and the next day I’d still be hurting. And the next day. And the next.
The same with my calves and ankles. I don’t run much (not a runner), but when I do both my ankles and calves always swell up and get sore after a serious run. The only thing worse are elbows, which are easy to injure because they tend not to hurt or feel sore until suddenly they do. I used to get tennis elbow (interestingly, never when I played tennis), but with the HyperIce I haven’t had to worry about any of those symptoms.
In the past to put ice on my elbows, wrists, ankles, or calves required getting a bulky ice pack (generally one of those large, block-shaped packs), wrapping it in a towel, and tying it around the ailment. This, as we’ve all experienced, is frustrating and time consuming, and it doesn’t last long because it’s next to impossible to tie it down properly. The HyperIce isn’t exactly easy to set thanks to the velcro straps that attach to the HyperIce’s cloth consistently, but the difference between HyperIce and a towel is light years apart. The level of convenience is huge.
I’ve found that the true benefit to HyperIce is the convenience of use, which ironically enough is very easy to dismiss. Like so many things today, after we get used to a new convenience we get spoiled by it, and the same holds true with HyperIce. But if it goes away, suddenly the difficulty of icing down without it is clear as day. HyperIce isn’t a necessity, but it is a simple — if expensive — solution to a problem that has plagued athletes and exercisers for generations. It’s an unsung hero that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Bottom Line: A very good and useful ice pack that you can tie around ankles, elbows, and wrists.
- Excellent type experience and feel
- Stunning lightweight, bold design
- Multiple Bluetooth profiles is still brilliant
- Proximity and ambient light sensors are excellent additions
- Difficult to put on; velcro straps make sense but get stuck to the cloth too easily, which makes putting it on a hassle