Wish you could afford a tissue-revitalizing daily massage to go with your daily training sessions? With a new generation of high-grade foam rollers and tech’ed-out massage sticks, you can.

By T.J. Murphy

Thanks to the Kelly Starrett, New York Times best-selling author of books like Ready to Run, the word mobility has become a critical part of the lexicon of athletes discussing the quality and speed of muscular recovery within a demanding training schedule. Rather than limiting the idea to simply stretching out a muscle after a workout with hopes of eliciting restoration, Starrett has added subtopics to the discussion, including tissue health, maintaining good sliding surface function between layers of tissues, and the overall range of motion and functional health of the joints. For triathletes who spend massive amounts of time in the pool, in the posture-corrosive aero position or logging heavy running miles, performing routine maintenance will not only help prevent injury, it will also improve training quality with a subsequent improvement in performance.

The following tools will be welcome additions to any home mobility lab.

Photo: Donald Miralle. From left to right: MobilityWod Battlestar, Trigger Point Grid STK, SKLZ Accuroller and Addaday Type C.

Photo: Donald Miralle. From left to right: MobilityWod Battlestar, Trigger Point Grid STK, SKLZ Accuroller and Addaday Type C.

Trigger Point Grid STK Therapy Hand-Held Foam Roller

$35–$40; tptherapy.com
Trigger Point Therapy tools have led the surge in the category, thanks in part to their availability at just about any running or triathlon store. With a penchant for high-quality construction and materials, Trigger Point designers have created products that have marginalized old-school foam rollers to some forgotten corner of the local gym. Their new Grid STK foam roller, available in two densities, offers a new level of portability and versatility to the category. Marketed as the “World’s first hand-held foam roller,” the STK can be easily stashed in your car, office or gym bag.

SKLZ Accuroller

$40; sklz.com
SKLZ also offers a lot of retail access for customers in that you can usually find their gear in large sporting goods stores. Part of their mobility tool line is the Accuroller, a high-grade massage stick that offers the unique opportunity to reconfigure the massage balls to customize the roller’s action and massage depth to your individual liking. Includes nylon straps to use with various stretching assists.

Addaday Roller “Type C”

$40; addaday.com
The killer part of the Addaday rollers is the design of the massage balls or “gears,” as Addaday describes them. The idea is to replicate the deeptissue manipulation that a massage therapist can use to dig across mashed-up muscle tissue. Your local running store may carry the Addaday, and if they do, it’s worth testing against the more common smooth-style massage sticks. You’ll likely notice a huge difference as the gears grind through your calves or quads.

MobilityWOD Battlestar Roller Kit

$148.50 (prices vary for size of kit); roguefitness.com
Created by Kelly Starrett, the Battlestar has been engineered with the idea of creating vast amounts of tissue “shear,” as Starrett calls it, even with the large, deeply-layered muscle groups of the hamstrings and hips. Depending on whether you want more all-over shear or more focused work, you can change out the type of roller that fits into the cradle. A variety of kit combinations are available, with the $148.50 kit including the cradle, a large roller and a smaller roller.

august-2015-coverThis first appeared in the August 2015 issue of LAVA. Get your issue here.

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