Roll With It…
Earlier in the year I blogged about one of the most hated, but loved Pilates props that I use with my clients… The Magic Circle. Well let me introduce to you one of the most Loved to Love props that many of my clients enjoy… The Foam Roller.
Over the past ten years I’d balanced and rolled on a variety of foam rollers. White styrofoam type of rollers that turn dirty and dingy and misshapen after a just a few months of studio use. Too many different people smooshing it. I always thought foam rollers were a great tool and wanted to invest in a good one that would endure regular use. Eventually I found a decent quality and standard roller from a company called OTTP. I still have the roller after a few years. It’s solid and does the job, but I have to admit that this particular roller edges towards being a prop that many of my clients cringe at when they know they’re about to roll out and massage on it. It’s simply a “hard” roller with not much give. Great for some exercises, but it can also be excruciating for certain self massage techniques. Oh how I so don’t want it to get the “I hate that prop” reputation! Thus began my search for some quality and all encompassing foam rollers.
My search began with with Merrithew Health & FitnessTM (MH&F) MH&F builds high-caliber, multi-disciplinary fitness programming, education and equipment.S.
I am currently in the midst of testing four different foam rollers from MH&F that offer unique benefit and function. In no particular order, let me introduce to you…
This particular roller may include Pilates on a Roll DVD if you order it as a package. I recommend doing so, especially if you are new to the foam roller. The dvd offers beginner advice on how to prepare for balancing on your roller as well as some challenging exercises for those who have more experience. The teachers are clear and calm and the exercises are suitable for most levels.
The Foam Roller Deluxe stands out from your ordinary foam roller, in that it has little textured bumps all along the surface. This provides some gentle traction and a no slip surface. It also gives off a slight sense of massage. I find this roller to be more gentle than some other firm roller out on the market. That’s a good thing in my opinion and just about all of my clients agree. It’s still firm and holds its form, but the material is a bit softer and friendlier to the spine than that of other brands like the OTTP that I mentioned earlier. The Foam Roller Deluxe comes in Purple as well as Black. The standard length is 36″. There are other rollers offered on their Foam Roller page with shorter lengths, but if your intention is to balance on the roller from tail bone to head, be sure to select the 36″ one.
The Half Foam Roller Deluxe is just like the full on only…. it’s sliced in half. Why would you want one that’s in half? Stability. It’s excellent if you are major wobbler or if you’re working through some rehab and you need that steady surface beneath you, but want more challenge than just relying on the flat floor. This is also 36″.
Well well well… This Soft Density Foam Roller from from MH&F stands out from all others. I’ve heard fascinating Ooooos and Ahhhhs from my clients. Luxuriating sighs of relief filled the surroundings as they tested this sucker out for massage style roll out exercises. The majority of my clients prefer this softer roller for massage relief. Though many people still prefer the denser harder surfaces to tackle those troublesome trigger points.
When it came to balancing on this Soft Density Foam Roller from MH&F, I heard equally fascinated responses. From my clients feedback as well as my own personal experience, this softer roller provides some nice perks. First of all, it’s softer; so that’s a little friendlier on the boney spine. With it being softer, there is also an added challenge of having to stabilize yourself more to keep from wobbling all over the place.
Each of these foam rollers are designed to help you engage and strengthen deeper core muscles to develop spinal stability. They also offer massage assistance. Though for added massage assistance, MH&F also has a massage specific roller that is worth checking out.
This is a handy roller if you are looking for something to penetrate those tight muscles and trigger points more deeply. It takes up less space. It has a hollow center and bumps and ridges throughout that act as finger like or more precise ways to navigate into those tough spots. I will warn you, for those of you who have tender thighs, this is a hard one. I thought it gave me plenty of relief. It’s certainly a harder surface than the other foam rollers, so if you are looking for a deeper massage feel, then this Massage Point Foam Roller is a well worthy addition to your wellness tools. If you dislike deeper pressure, this might not be the best tool for you. I would recommend starting off with the softer or Deluxe Foam Roller and develop a regular practice with rolling out on them. Eventually you may be able to work your way up and the tightness of your muscles will either have softened or your pain threshold will have raised. A bonus exercise guide is included with this purchase.
To continue rolling with it…. for the detailed desire of massage, try out the Total Body Massage Stick.
This is an even handier massage tool that can be easy to take with you anywhere. I have another massage tool similar to this and find this one to be just as enjoyable. There is a good grip and glide to each individual roller which are about one inch thick. The handles stay still, but all the little separate rollers roll only where you apply pressure. I find it useful for my ITB and calf muscles and I don’t have to get on the floor to apply my weight to it. I was even able to get into some troublesome upper traps and neck areas for some gentle massaging.
So for your Roll With It tool box, if your goals are to strengthen and work on stability; any of these 36″ rollers are a good choice. MH&F products are of good quality. Check out their DVD’s for added education on how to use these rollers. My favorite is the Soft Density Foam Roller, but I think the Deluxe Roller is equally important one. My recommendation is to have one of each Foam Roller and you can change it up depending on what your goals are. Plus, the more you have around, the more friends you can show what all the lovely Ooooos and Ahhhhs are about.
For more info on Merrithew Health & Fitness, check out their site here.
— STOTT PILATES (@STOTT_PILATES) August 3, 2014
Enjoy Rolling With It!
The versatile Foam Roller – traditionally a therapeutic tool – adds a new dimension to your Mat workout. Through a combination of seated, standing and lying exercises, this routine rolls strength, flexibility, balance and coordination training into one energizing workout. Let Master Instructor Trainers Moira Merrithew and PJ O’Clair guide you through this workout towards optimal mind-body fitness using the Foam Roller for variety, challenge and support. – See more at: http://www.merrithew.com/shop/ProductDetail/DV81100_Dvd–Pilates-On-a-Roll#sthash.9Hro0lHK.dpuf