Enso Roller; MSRP $89
At this point in my triathlete life, the amount of muscle-releasing tools I’ve accumulated is astounding. There’s an overflowing basket of tortuous-looking devices in our living room, and I’m 75-percent positive that any non-athletes who come over have some serious apprehensions about what my husband and I use those “strange” devices for when no one’s around.
And while they have changed our lives—there’s really nothing kinky about it. Between the amount of time spent between us in the gym and out on the trails—there aren’t any muscles left that aren’t sore, tight or unbalanced at any given moment. So we’ve got an arsenal of sticks, foam tubes, and taped-up lacrosse balls on hand, and most evenings you can find us sprawled on the floor watching DVR’d episodes of The Daily Show while we do our best to work out the kinks.
When the Enso roller arrived at my house, I was amazed at how light the box was. For a contraption that is supposed to be able to replace every single muscle-release tool I owned, it sure wasn’t bulky. The Enso roller is made up of eight, 4″ to 4.5″ rubber “discs” that slide over a center pipe. Think of it as a mix between a foam roller, a Running Stick, and those Mega Bloks your kids play with. You can arrange the discs in dozens of configurations to create a completely customizable massage. Everything from the muscles along your spine to even the tiniest of areas on the bottom of your feet can be treated by simply swapping out a few discs. By removing all but the center disc and holding on to the pipe on either end, you can target any muscle much like you would with a Running Stick. I found the rubber discs to offer a nice, firm massage. Not as deep as a lacrosse ball, but with enough rigidity to draw out even my worst calf knots.
My favorite part about the Enso is that you can also adjust the gaps between the discs if you have certain areas that are just too tender to really dig into. For me, it’s my left upper-IT band. By creating a gap in between two of the discs in the “hip-release” formation, I could first massage out the surrounding muscles without putting unnecessary pressure on a sensitive area. Often, after releasing the surrounding muscles, the most tender area relaxes. I was actually able to really get into my IT band with the Enso by simply rolling out the outer muscles first.
With so many configurations for one device that measures a little more than a foot in length, the Enso is a perfect travel option (although they do sell a “travel” version that is half the length). I’m not replacing my entire armor of muscle-release tools for the Enso, but let’s just say my living room basket is a lot less cluttered these days.