Featured Recovery Reviews

Rock Rub

Rock RubRock Rub is a rather odd thing, but like many odd things we’ve sort of fallen in love with it.


The basics: Rock Rub is either a massage wax or a callus-busting moisturiser for your hands or possibly both. If you looked at the strap-line on the jar – ‘Go stronger, for longer’ – you might get a third, more Fifty Shades, impression. The confusion comes in depending on whether you check out the wax on the US website or its UK counterpart; in the US, Rock Rub is predominantly sold on the basis on its hand-moisturising strengths whereas in the UK it would appear we’re not quite ready to admit that rough hands are something that need dealing with. Weird, but there you go and in fact Rock Rub is pretty damn good all round.


The reason why Rock Rub works well as both a moisturiser and a massage aid is down to the ingredients of course. Beeswax (Australian beeswax to be specific, although we don’t know if that’s significant) forms the base along with canola oil, to which is added vitamin E, patchouli, lavender and the mysterious sounding ylang-ylang. It’s really the latter – along with the vitamin E benefits – that make Rock Rub so good for the skin, whilst the beeswax, with it’s slightly ‘tacky’ qualities that make it so well balanced for massage, particularly myofascial release.


Whilst we had feared that patchouli and lavender would be an overpowering combination, the smell is actually subtle and, most importantly for massage, the consistency remains constant during treatment and a little goes a surprisingly long way.


So whether you’re looking to soften those cycling hands or just get some much-needed massage in before that next long ride, Rock Rub pretty much hits the spot. We’re glad to have cleared up any confusion…


Rock Rub is available in 50g pots at £6.72 or 400g pots at a really reasonable £14.99. Further details at

Extras Featured Recovery Reviews

Hot Ginger Muscle Soak

Hot Ginger Muscle SoakHaving launched with Hot Ginger Muscle Rub and Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz, both very good, Natural Hero added Hot Ginger Muscle Soak to their offering. Never wanting to pass up a hot bath in the name of work, Cyclo took the plunge.


Whilst both the Hot Ginger Muscle Rub and Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz boast 98% and 99% natural ingredients respectively the Natural Hero Hot Ginger Muscle Soak goes the full distance with 100% credentials. This means there are no parabens or added sodium laureth sulphate (both cosmetic and toiletry staples) to worry about. What the soak does contain is a blend of premium grade ginger root, rosemary, and sweet fennel essential oils that soak tired muscles; the ginger also adds a glowing warmth to proceedings. A dash of sweet almond and starflower essential oils, both of which nourish and condition the skin, are excellent addition when you consider the damage that the elements do to the exposed expanses of the average cyclist.


Look, we’re not necessarily suggesting you light some candles and put on a little Katie Melua, but a recuperative soak after a tough race or training session makes good sense as part of the recovery process and Natural Hero’s Hot Ginger Muscle Soak ticks plenty of boxes.


Hot Ginger Muscle Soak comes in packs of six 18ml bottles, each good for one soaking. Available online from, amongst others,

Featured Recovery Reviews

Overdrive Sox

Overdrive SoxOverdrive Sox from 110% offer an innovative way of getting things started with Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – often known simply as RICE – the tried and tested regime for speeding recovery post-exercise.


In essence the Overdrive Sox are a two part-system consisting of a performance compression sock, which can be worn for training and an additional over-sock ‘ice sleeve’ for use during recovery or rehabilitation. The main compression sock is a long, calf-length affair, which incorporates graduated compression (tighter to less constrictive from bottom to top) designed to increase blood-flow during exercise and help ‘flush’ lactic acid. Whilst lactic acid, a by-product of strenuous exercise, was once considered detrimental the jury is now a rather more out on the subject, but helping rid the muscles of the lower legs of it certainly can’t hurt.


The sock is comfortable with a fairly generous toe box, good squeeze and support through the arch and enough elasticity (15% spandex to 85% nylon) to move freely yet still deliver the compression. The sock is relatively thick, adequate for colder – but possibly not mid-winter – rides, and with decent wicking. The bulk may make it impractical for use with certain cycling shoes, but MTBers might find great flexibility here.


The unique selling point for the Overdrive Sox though is the recovery and here things get a bit fiddly…


Overdrive SoxThe whole kit comes in an over-sized padded thermal bag that looks fit to ship transplant organs. Inside, in addition to the compression socks, are a range of pads, which can be trimmed to shape and size, and the ‘ice sleeve’ that houses them. Before use the pads need to sprayed with or soaked in warm water until they expand to around ½ inch, then wiped dry and popped into the freezer to set. Once done the ‘ice sleeves’, which have a higher 30% spandex mix, slip on over the compression socks and the frozen pads can be inserted into various pockets to treat whatever needs the healing touch – plantar fascia, Achilles, calf, etc. ‘This is not rocket science’ say the instructions; granted but a little time-consuming, which means you may more readily grab a bag of frozen peas.


Despite the time-drain or degree of pre-planning needed the Overdrive Sox do work incredibly well, yes they feel rather over-engineered but the results are a credible speeding up of recovery and relief from post-training aching muscles.


Overdrive Sox are available in four sizes – S to XL – retailing at £58.50 from

Featured Recovery

Massage Oils

Massage OilsThe effort of a long ride or hard training session warrants, if not demands, a little post-exercise pampering and a massage – from gentle warm down to deep tissue – is a great place to start. Everything from the feet to the calves, quads and hams benefit from massage and there are plenty of resources online to teach you the simple techniques to speed recovery and prevent the dreaded DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) that can creep up on even the most experienced of ridesr. With this in mind Cyclo looks at three of our favourite massage oils…


St Kitts Arnica Massage Oil - The St Kitts Herbery was founded by Susan & Paul Johnson back in 2001; initially a true kitchen-table enterprise that has now grown enormously but stayed true to its original ideals, creating high quality botanical products using largely traditional methods. There are those that swear by arnica for reducing bruising and if you’re amongst them then the excellent St Kitts Arnica Massage Oil is the one for you. Even if you doubt the properties the addition of lavender, birch tar and rosemary to the grape seed, sunflower oil base makes for a silky smooth massage that smells good too and is popular with physiotherapists.


A 100ml pump bottle of St Kitts Arnica Massage Oil retails at £9.95, details and online purchase at


Aptonia Relax Lotion - If you’re looking for pure simplicity at a low price the Aptonia Relax Lotion is an all-round massage oil, good for both warm-up and cool-down. The combination of glycerin, and hydrogenated castor oil makes for a smooth application and the viscosity works exceptionally well if used in conjunction with massage tools like The Stick. The use of linalool, alcohol denat base and menthol in the mix goes some way to providing a cooling effect on the skin and the addition of various citrus notes takes the edge off. Really at the opposite end of the spectrum to the bespoke nature of the St Kitts offering but, for the price, a trusted addition to the kit bag.


Aptonia Relax Lotion comes in 150ml bottles at just £3.99 and is available instore at Decathlon and online at


Body Shop Sensual Massage Oil - Don’t let the Sensual bit put you off (or maybe it hasn’t) because despite being described as ‘ideal for couples’ and being inspired by traditional Polynesian massage rituals this is a solid candidate for post-exercise recovery. Being Body Shop the list of ingredients looks somewhat arcane and takes some deciphering – ‘helianthus annuus seed oil is sunflower oil by any other name – and it certainly packs a lot in. The mix is well judged for either a simple hands-on massage or a deeper trigger point massage with (non-sensual) massage tools and the smell, which at first feels a little overpowering and difficult to place, actually grew on us after a few sessions.


A 150ml bottle of Body Shop Sensual Massage Oil retails at £10 and is available either in-store or at


Featured Recovery Reviews

Nuflex Cooling Gel

Nuflex Cooling GelOver the year’s Cyclo have tried and tested no end of gels, creams and lotions for fixing those post-ride aches and pains and the latest to cross our desk (and legs and back) is the Nuflex Cooling Gel.


Intended for use immediately after (minor) injury the Nuflex Cooling Gel employs a combination of peppermint oils, which both stimulates the skin and acts as a natural, mild local aesthetic, and lemon oil good for stimulating blood flow (and therefore speeding recovery) and for general skin cleansing. The smell – part of the holistic experience of using such gels – is strong, but not overpowering and the sense of cooling, predominantly achieved through alcohol evaporation, is a gradual onset with quite disappointing results for longevity. There’s a general ‘tingle’ that lingers for quite some time after application but this certainly doesn’t go to the lengths that a traditional icepack might achieve; although in fairness the Nuflex Cooling Gel is a more portable, road-side solution than ice…


Repeat application – manufacturers rather vaguely suggest ‘several times a day’ – is certainly the way to go with a gel like this, but that does mean the 100ml tube won’t exactly last a race season. It feels more effective (certainly in terms of cooling) when gently applied rather than when more vigorous massage is used; a shame because a more robust application is more likely to help most minor muscle injuries.


The mild anti-inflammatory properties from the combined lemon and mint oils did help sooth a generally aching back post-ride and the fact that Nuflex Cooling Gel is non-greasy and rubs in completely is certainly a bonus. Not the most potent cooling gel we have tried (Biofreeze – review here – still leads) but Nuflex is a contender.


Nuflex Cooling Gel retails at £11.95 – again Biofreeze betters it on price – and is available from, amongst other places


Featured Recovery Reviews

Sore No More Warm Therapy

Sore No More Warm TherapyHunched over the bars for hours on end, legs pumping, hands gripped tight, a cold wind whipping around the neck… It’s little wonder that cyclists often end the day in need of more than a little TLC. Heat rubs and creams are always an excellent starting point for easing various aches and pains associated with both training and racing and Sore No More Warm Therapy looks to offer something a little different from the norm.


Taking it’s starting point from the various plant extracts used for centuries by the native tribes of northern Mexico the Sore No More Warm Therapy ingredient list reads something like an arcane recipe list. Capsaicin (derived from a plant in the chilli family), rose water and extracts of grapefruit seed, green tea, orange peel and queen of the prairie (a member of the rose family) are all found within, as are two ‘active’ ingredients: 3% camphor and 3% menthol.


The cream is non-greasy, rubs in quickly and completely and delivers a solid, but subtle, glowing warmth within seconds. Unlike many heat rubs Sore No More also wafts off a delicate and pleasant armour which is cut through by the scent of orange. Looks like we may have found a cream that smells as good as it works…


The science suggests that capsaicin binds to a protein (TRPV1) that resides on the membranes of pain and heat-sensing neurons and when Cyclo used it on a selection of minor ailments (we suffer, so you don’t have to) ranging from aching calves to a ‘frozen’ shoulder we found the long-lasting buzz of warmth worked incredibly well.


We have been particularly impressed by Sore No More Warm Therapy and its 100% natural credentials and are pretty sure you will be too.


Sore No More Warm Therapy retails at £9.95 for 4oz with further details and online purchase from



Featured Recovery Reviews

The Orb

The OrbHours in the saddle can certainly punish the body and when it comes post-event recovery most of us can’t rely on (or afford) pro sports massages on a regular basis. When the option for some light self-massage arises the roam roller – the very definition of the pain/pleasure principle – seems to be the general weapon of choice; now though The Orb from Pro-Tec Athletics, whilst not a straight alternative, brings some added benefits of its own…


The 5inch ball, made of high-density EVA foam can be used in a variety of ways – all of which fundamentally involve using the body’s weight to roll and massage – to release tension in the muscles. Whilst a roller allows only single-direction relief, The Orb gives a multidirectional-workout, which feels rather more targeted and, because of the reduced surface area, deeper too.


Arguably there are disadvantages over a roller – hence we think of it as an addition not a replacement – in that more of a balancing act is involved particularly, we found, when working on the quads or tackling The Orb side-on for an ITB workout. But The Orb does come into its own in dealing with calves, glutes and hamstrings where the added intensity feels particularly well judged and using it between the shoulder blades (against a wall) was a sublime relief.


Okay, so arguably you could achieve much of this with a tennis ball at a fraction of The Orb’s £18 asking price but the size, weight and non-slip dimpled texture do all feel perfectly balanced. It’s also far more portable than most foam rollers (although Pro-Tec do produce a nifty 4inch x 12inch travel roller too) so tucking The Orb in the kit bag for some immediate post-sportive relief is an option we would heartily recommend.


Take a look at our review of the Pro-Tec Y Roller here and of The Stick here



Recovery Reviews

Pro-Tec Y Roller

Y Roller ReviewAmerican company Pro-Tec Athletics started out in 1991 with a single product – the Knee Pro-Tec Patella Tendon Strap – before expanding its product offering to include further specialised supports for running injuries; in 2012 they introduced the Y Roller, an elastomer (elastic polymer) constructed massage roller that featured a unique dual-ridge design. At Cyclo we’ve had plenty of cause to use massage rollers over the years – not least to ease tight IT bands and calf muscles; we put the Y Roller through its paces to see how it measured up.


On initial impressions, the Y Roller looked to be well made, sturdy and firm; the manufacturers claim that the elastomer used is the highest density and most durable foam possible, able to withstand constant, heavy and repeated usage without breaking down.


The unusual design has two parallel ridges each of which splits into two tram-line-like ridges on one side of the roller and remerge into a single ridge on the opposite; Pro-Tec say that the dual/single ridge option offers, ‘a targeted aggressive massage’ or the ability to ‘…roll in between ridges for a less aggressive, moderate massage.’ What this meant in practical terms was that we could roll our IT band between the dual ridges – which was firm and applied a good amount of pressure – and then slowly rolled the IT band up onto the single ridge to apply a more focused, deeper and better targeted tissue massage.


Initially we confess to having been a little unsure of exactly how to roll effectively over the dual/single ridge design, but the Y Roller comes with an easy to understand guide (and there are some helpful online videos), which shows how to use the roller for different areas of the body. It took a few back-and-forth rolls to get the hang of things, but once mastered never forgotten (appropriately like riding a bike…) The Y Roller works well across other muscle groups; calf, hamstrings, glutes, upper- and lower-back all benefitted, as did the arch of the foot (excellent after extended peddle sessions) and because of the Y Roller’s size it easily took care of quadriceps – something lesser rollers can struggle with.


The Y Roller has a diameter of 15cm and is 40cm long, which makes it a little larger than its rival the Trigger Point GRID (12cm/33cm), but comes in at around the same price £38.99. Now we’re used to the initially tricky ridge rolling technique the Y Roller could well become our massage tool of choice.


Available from, with further information at and a number of instructional videos online, such as the one below.