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May 31, 2012

Foam roller comparisons

3 miles on the schedule today.  Because it was so nice out, I decided to do 5 miles today.

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Over the last couple years, given my never ending IT Band problem, I have become somewhat of an expert on foam rolling and the foam rollers.  Not that I have daily problems with my IT Band, but I do use the foam roller regularly to keep from having any pain major issues.  These are the three that I have used over the last couple years.

1) Traditional foam roller:
Traditional Roller
I used this one initially for the first couple months and learned how to roll with it.  They are inexpensive(I think I paid $20 with a video how to use it) and you can get it at your local running store or online and it worked great until.....it started to break down.  Once that happened, it was not effective any longer.  The biggest advantage to this is that it's cheap; however, the biggest disadvantage is that it breaks down too quickly.  When you consider it broke down within a couple months(if you are a regular user of it like me), then the cost is really higher than you think if you have to keep replacing them.

I decided I did not want to replace mine that often so I looked for something that would last longer.  I ended up purchasing this:

2) TP Therapy "The Grid"
The Grid
I used this primarily since I purchased it over a year ago.  The foam does not break down and while it's more expensive(runs about $40), you really can't go wrong with this.  It does take some getting used to since the foam is harder but once you are used to this, it feels great.  Initially, you will not be able to put your full weight on it but eventually you will.  I have used mine daily regardless if I run or not and I actually roll before I run AND after I run plus an additional time at night.  The two weeks following a marathon, I also do an extra rolling session right when I get home from work as well.  You could say I use it a lot!  It's in my routine.

The plastic inside the roller did break about a year into use but I contacted the company and they sent me a new one even though they did not have to replace it.  It made me a customer for life!

The third roller I have, I received in February of this year for doing a review of the product.  While I don't use it daily, I do use it regularly.

3) The RumbleRoller
RumbleRoller
As you can see, this thing is a beast.  See my complete review of it HERE.  This roller has larger knobs that stick out on the roller.  It also has foam that is harder and will not break down.  This is for the serious roller.  It really takes some getting used to.  They even have a harder version and I can't imagine because this digs into the muscle pretty good as it is.  I can now put all my weight on this but it probably took me a couple months of getting used to it before I could do that.  In addition, I don't have to do as many reps as on "The Grid"  I especially use this after marathons as it really massages the muscle and while it hurts, it's not painful and get the knots out.

I also own "The Stick".(about $28) I'm sure many of you have seen these.  You basically roll the stick on your legs where you need to ease the muscle.  It works great but I'm not a regular user of it but occasionally there are times when you cannot get the hurt out on a roller and this helps those particular spots.
The Stick
In addition to these, I've been rolling my foot with a new product I purchased at the Flying Pig marathon expo several weeks ago.  It's called the Rubz.
Rubz
This little ball is great to use when you are just sitting at your desk typing up your blog posts.  I use mine daily and it's done well for my feet.  The great part is that it was only $6 so it's worth trying out for such an inexpensive item.  I'm glad I purchased it.

All of these items are travel size and I have traveled with them on vacation or when I go to races out of town.  You can also get the Grid, RumbleRoller and the Stick in larger sizes as well.

So there you have it.  Massage options that I know have worked well for me.  If you are thinking of getting a foam roller(or looking for a better one) and think you will use it, I would suggest you go with option #2 and/or #3.  They have worked out very well for me.  In my case, I actually use them in combination and, while they take time to use before and after, they will always be a part of my running routine.  They help keep my legs healthy.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

5 comments:

  1. Perfect timing - Matt & I have been talking about how we should get a foam roller. This will be very helpful! Do all of these typically come with some kind of directions? If not, should we just look on You Tube? I've never used a foam roller and have no clue what to do with it yet. By the way, you should start earning commission - you've convinced me to try certain socks, a water bottle, and probably now a foam roller. Obviously I appreciate your reviews. :)

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  2. #1 came with a video; #2 & #3 came with photos showing how to use it for what muscle. You can look at youtube too. Ha. thanks for the complement on reviews - I've been pretty lucky to review some really great products.

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  3. I have a regular foam roller and I enjoy it. However, I tend to use it more when I am injured. I need to start using it regularly to prevent injury. Also, the grid looks awesome. That is what I am going to buy when my current roller goes out! Great post!

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  4. That ball looks interesting. I currently use a drier ball for my foot. Plus the stick for my calves and the foam roller.

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  5. I/we My husband and I can not live without our Trigger Point..The Grid is awesome. He just recently forgot his at a hotel in Minnesota and called the hotel and they couldn't FIND it!!!..Big Orange thing with grids all over it...Hmm...
    He drove to Brighton 2 days later!!! Love it..

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