Foam Rolling has practically exploded in popularity over the past few years.
Its growth trajectory has mimicked that of CrossFit and for good reason. CrossFitters love to roll around on things.
Now, although the effects of foam rolling versus simply moving your body can be debated all day, today I'd like to review some products from a company who is really the industry leader when it comes to producing things you can roll on.
This company is Trigger Point Therapy and they've brought us everything from the Grid Roller (I own two), to the Quadballer (man, I love that name.)
The particular ‘Kit' that I'm reviewing is the Performance Collection which is essentially a Trigger Point Therapy Greatest Hits Collection.
The Performance Collection includes all sorts of goodies such as:
- Foam Block w/ cutout for Footballer
- 2 TP Massage Balls
- TP2 Ball Sleeve
These various mobilization tools are pretty much staples in the CrossFit community, and each one has their place.
The quadballer is in my opinion the ULTIMATE foam roller.
Essentially what Trigger Point has done is taken a firm piece of foam, wrapped it in a durable sock and added an inline wheel on either end.
Pretty basic stuff.
The magic comes when you start to actually roll around on it. The size is absolutely perfect for the extremities (they should make a giant one for your back) and really allows you to dig into the muscle.
My problem with the majority of foam rollers is they are simply too soft. Forget actually trying to mobilize tissue, you might as well use them as a pillow.
On the flip side, using something like a pvc pipe is far too firm. The Quadballer's firmness in my opinion strikes the perfect balance between hard enough to do work, soft enough to keep you from crying.
Out of all the products Trigger Point makes, this is far and away the best.
The Trigger Point Footballer is the Quadballer before it took a Super Mario Magic Mushroom.
It's the exact same thing except for smaller wheels and a shorter distance between them.
This little guy is perfect for the things like rolling out your arms, calves, and most of all your feet.
I use this before literally every training session. Kind of a secret for you, if you want to increase the range of motion in your ankles, roll out the bottoms of your feet. Do this before your next squatting session, you'll thank me later.
The Footballer also comes with a foam block that has a cutout perfect for the footballer. I suppose the foam block would be great for propping your leg up or doing yoga, but alas, I do neither.
Trigger Point Massage Balls
Outside of the traditional foam roller, the device trainees like to roll around on more than any other is the lacrosse ball.
I admit, I have done quite a bit of rolling on this type of ball in my past, the only problem with the lacrosse ball is you really can't put too much pressure while using it. The reason is because you'll end up bruising yourself if you do.
The Trigger Point Massage Balls take what I would assume is the same foam used in the Quadballer and Footballer and wrap it up into a ball. These little demons are far and away superior to a lacrosse ball, except for the price.
These things cost $19.99 if you were to buy them outside of a kit where as you could get about 7 lacrosse balls for that price. If you want the absolute best, then go with the Trigger Point Massage Balls, otherwise save your money and stick with the lacrosse balls.
Trigger point also ships a ball sleeve with the Performance kit so you can create a makeshift peanut popularized by the guru of mobility, Kelly Starrett.
This sleeve does exactly what it should and nothing it shouldn't. I like products that work like that.
*Bonus* Trigger Point MB1 Massage Balls Review
Along with the Performance Collection, Trigger Point also sent along an MB1 Massage Ball.
The MB1 runs a little cheaper than the original massage balls, but in my opinion fall short of the originals. One thing I LOVE about the original massage balls is their density. You can really dig into your tissues and they have some heft to them.
The MB1 Massage Balls are a light foam that does a similar job to the original Massage Balls, but not as effectively. The balls do grip your skin or shirt well and I do prefer them to a lacrosse ball, but they are not as good as the originals.
So, if I was choosing between the MB1's and the Originals, I would go with the OG's, but I would certainly take an MB1 over a lacrosse ball any day of the week.
The products made by Trigger Point are honestly the creme dela creme of the mobility market. Every part of the Performance Collection is made of high quality that will last you many years of muscle mobilizing humping rolling.
These tools are all great as long as you actually use them. Traditional foam rolling is fine, and I don't necessarily see these as a replacement for the foam roller, but rather an addition. View them as such.
Use these tools for more targeted penetration and you will begin to recover quicker and quicker.
Stay Strong, Live Long,