Foam rolling is one of those things I know is beneficial (especially during marathon training) and often recommend to my strength and conditioning clients, but struggle to do myself. Yes it can hurt sometimes, but so can running intervals. And so can injuring yourself because you failed to work out those knots and kinks that caused your running form to break down over time.
That’s why when professional triathlete Dan McIntosh reached out to me to review his RAD Roller system, I jumped at the chance. I have one of those big foam rollers with the dense foam wrapped around PVC pipe, but hardly use it because a) it doesn’t really get into the spots I need it to get into, b) it’s not very portable, and c) I’m too lazy to prop myself up on it after a long run. After a full week of workouts, I want the foam rolling part to be easy, not challenging. And since you often need to use your upper body and core strength to foam roll properly, sometimes I avoid it just because I’m too tired to do it.
That’s one of the things I love about the RAD roller, RAD Helix and RAD Rod, the three products Dan sent me to try: They’re small yet crazy effective. The small size allows you to get into those tight areas you normally wouldn’t be able to with a regular-sized foam roller, and doesn’t force you to hold up your body weight the whole time. They’re also small enough to fit in your purse, making them perfect for travel.
This little rubber blue ball-thing is perfect for getting into those tight spots in your calf, feet, neck, hip flexors and glutes. So far my favourite use for the RAD Roller is to break down the fascia in my feet, as that was my problem area last year during the Victoria Marathon.
Check out the RAD Roller in action:
This is by far my most favourite roller ever. It’s super effective at working the fascia in my calves and hamstrings thanks to the helix design, and it’s amaaazzzzinnnnggg on my lower, mid, and upper back and neck. I use it every day after work to roll out my spine and shoulders. I find its small size much easier to maneuver on on the floor, and again, it gets into places the large foam rollers can’t.
This guy is perfect for rolling out your quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes and other areas by hand. It has a steel core with a soft out shell that allows you to maneuver around to each area, relieving pressure and tension. Since I don’t like rolling my quads on the floor (the whole having to prop myself up thing sucks), I love using the RAD Rod on my quads for this reason.
Verdict: Hands-down the best self-massage tools I’ve ever used. If I were to have to choose one I’d go with the RAD Helix, which retails for $49 — comparable to other high-quality foam rollers available on the market right now. If you’re serious about self-massage, you can get the whole RAD Roller kit, which includes the RAD Roller, Helix, Rod, Block and Rounds for only $140.
Have you tried the RAD Roller system before? Do you foam roll regularly? What kind of roller do you use? Which spots on your body give you the most trouble?