Recovery is a something of a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book these days, with plenty of devices out there targeting post-workout relief. Still, there's something to be said about the staple treatments, such as heat and vibration. These soothing, effective disciplines can be great at relaxing away those errant aches and pains, without any painful myofascial release or dripping ice water.
Hyperice, makers of some of our favorite recovery products, recently fanned the flames of heat and vibration therapy with the release of the brand's all-new Venom 2 and Venom Go products. With the smaller Venom Go targeting on-the-go treatments and the larger Venom 2 lineup boasting back, knee and shoulder silhouettes, these products introduce HyperHeat technology that delivers plenty of soothing warmth in a matter of seconds. Combined with multiple vibration frequencies and convenient Bluetooth connectivity, these new devices have definitely turned up the heat when it comes to recovery — putting your grandmother's heating pad to shame.
To see how these silhouettes could fire up our recovery, I tested the Venom 2 Back, Venom 2 Shoulder and Venom Go, noting how well these heat-centric products performed in relieving my aches and pains. Between my normal strength training regimen, training for an upcoming race and hitting my stride in fall slowpitch softball, these picks had plenty of opportunity to bring the heat. Here's what I found.
What's Good About Hyperice's Venom 2 Lineup?
The updated, comfortable silhouettes mold easily to the body for soothing heat therapy.
Heat therapy is only useful if the point of contact is directly on the targeted muscle area. Thanks to the neoprene wrap in the Venom 2 Back and Venom 2 Shoulder, I was easily able to pinpoint the heat unit to cover the larger swatch. Plus, the flexible build and included straps allowed me to firmly secure the devices that didn't budge during a session. While the Shoulder model did begin to slide down my clavicle during the first few uses, I chalk this up to user error — a quick readjustment of the tightening strap eliminated this qualm in later sessions.
When it came time to test the Venom Go, I was initially nervous of the pad's tackiness, especially over multiple sessions. According to the brand, the pads are reusable for up to 20 treatments, and after multiple treatments to my calves, pecs and biceps, I definitely stand with those claims. Plus, the pads are also flexible enough to wrap around a targeted area without stiffening or losing contact with the skin, provided I didn't move around too much. The coverage was exceptional and really lent itself to the product's more inclusive aesthetic — there were days I'd opt for the Venom Go over the larger Venom 2 silhouettes for the sheer ease of use and slimmer build.
Bluetooth connectivity allows for simple toggling through the Hyperice app.
Naturally, when you place a heat therapy device on your targeted muscle area, toggling the control pod can be a bit of a strain — especially when it comes to the more nimble Venom Go. Thankfully, however, the upgraded Hyperice lineup boasts Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for easy-to-use controls through the companion Hyperice app. I was able to fine-tune the appropriate heat and vibration settings without stretching toward the center of my back or toggling through the on-unit system, which made recovery sessions convenient and less of a headache.
Utilizing the Hyperice app also allowed me to add or subtract minutes from the session for a seamless cycle without worry. Whether I was looking for a quick activation before training or desiring more sustained treatment, I was able to choose how long I'd like my session to last with just a few clicks.
What's Less Than Ideal About the Hyperice Venom 2 Lineup?
At this time, there are no guided recovery sessions listed on the companion app.
While I enjoyed the ease and convenience of controlling the Venom 2 and Venom Go through the companion app, I did feel the digital platform was lacking in comparison to other Hyperice offerings. At this time, there aren't any guided recovery sessions built into the app, which would allow for changes to temperature and vibration frequency for more targeted recovery. Instead, I had to rely on my own personal regimen and toggle the settings at certain times to bring a similar sense of variation to my fired-up recovery routines.
This is definitely a minor issue when it comes to the broader scope of the Venom 2 lineup, but when you compare it to other Hyperice products, like the recently-released Normatec 3 recovery boots, that expert-driven routine is all the more desired.
Storage can be a bit of a struggle, regardless of which silhouette you choose.
One of the main factors that kept the Venom 2 products stored on an open shelf at home and not in my gym bag was the fact that these devices can take up quite a bit of space. When rolled up, the Venom 2 Back and Venom 2 Shoulder aren't the most convenient to throw in a tote or stuff in a drawer, which can be a minor annoyance when you're not using the devices. The neoprene does fold easily, but the end result is a bit bulky, and the last thing I'd want is to potentially damage the pod unit if crammed into a compact storage space.
As far as the Venom Go, well, goes, the device is much more portable thanks to its shrunken profile, but even then, I was hesitant to toss it in the same bag compartment as my weightlifting belt, straps and gym shoes. The pod and pads do not come with a carrying case, which can lead to some jostling around and the potential for the tack covers to come loose. Hyperice does offer a carrying tote to house the Venom Go, but this separate purchase requires an extra transaction, and thus, another trip to the brand's site.
Hyperice Venom 2 and Venom Go: The Verdict
Despite the storage faults, I think Hyperice has burned past the competition when it comes to heat therapy. The Venom 2 and Venom Go provide excellent relief in a matter of seconds, and I cannot deny the convenience baked into the Hyperice app. Hopefully the brand will create some guided sessions once more athletes warm up to these devices, but for now, there's still plenty of soothing potential in every Venom silhouette.