Can you have too many recovery tools?
Of course not. That's like saying you can have too many barbells, it's just not possible (although my wife disagrees.)
There are a few important features regarding mobility tools, but to me, the MOST important feature is that the tool actually digs in enough to be worthwhile.
There's a lot of mobility tools that are nothing more than tissue masturbation, making you feel good, but not really getting anything accomplished.
The mobility tool I am putting through the paces today is the Roll Recovery R8.
Let's get it on! (voice of MXC Show Host)
Looks and Construction
The Roll Recovery R8 is made to take some punishment.
Seriously, I put some real torque on this to get deep into the muscles in my calves and it showed no signs of failure.
It also looks very clean. Some of the mobility tools available look pretty amateur. They may perform well, but you make sure to hide them in a drawer when people come over.
The Roll Recovery R8, however, is quite different. The clean looking white and gray plastic combined with the clear hockey wheels look like a tool somebody who takes their recovery serious would own it. Or even in a medical facility.
I like it.
The construction matches the looks as well.
When I first took the R8 out of the box I was somewhat skeptical. It was heavy enough to have felt like a premium product, but it's made of (for the most part) plastic.
My experience with plastic products is not good. First off, the majority of the time my dog starts chewing on them before I get to even use them. Secondly, I'm pretty hard on my gear, and when it comes to mutilating my tissues to increase my mobility and recovery I tend to not hold back.
However, after using the R8 for some time, I can honestly say that this is an impressive toy.
Everything from the plastic to the springs, to the wheels, are solid and although I had worries in the beginning regarding their durability, I no longer do. I do think an aluminum structure would have worked better, but then again it would have been quite a bit more expensive.
The R8 Roll Recovery performs very similarly to the Armaid I recently reviewed with high marks.
To use the device, you simply pull it apart and insert a limb. The R8 features springs that allow the wheels to stay pressured against your body.
There are also two handles that allow you to hold the device and apply more pressure for more knotted up areas.
Personally, I like to use the R8 in my warm-up. I take it out and rub it up and down my calves, then my things and finally move it up to my forearms and bi's and tri's.
It's a unique device because it hits both sides of the body at once. Much like foam rolling, the R8 reduces inflammation and reduces soreness, but unlike a foam roller, you can dig in more and hit opposing sides of your muscles.
One disadvantage for the R8 hitting opposing muscles is the fact that when you use it on your calves, it doesn't feel too great on the shins.
If your shins are full of muscle (mine aren't) this may not be an issue for you, but I have chicken legs from the knee down and it's difficult to apply enough pressure to feel it on my calves without hurting my shins.
One reason I like the R8 so much is its portability.
I've seen many people lug around their foam roller, but they're just so big and bulky it's hard to do so without looking like a goofball.
The R8 is small enough that it should fit in just about any gym bag, but still large enough that some serious recovery work can get done.
Is it the best recovery device I've used?
No, but it's definitely something I would suggest for people to take a look at who are interested in recovering faster and having a device they can take on the go.
In reality, the best recovery tool is the one you actually use. And, in my opinion, this is one that you WILL use.