In “Preventive Self-Massage for Healthy Tissues and Enhanced Mobility,” I discussed how to use a foam roller and massage stick as part of your regular body maintenance routine. Here, I review two foam rollers–the Trigger Point Grid foam roller and the GoFit Extreme Massage Roller–and two massage sticks–the Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager and the GoFit Extreme Massage Bar.
I have come to rely on these tools to keep my muscles healthy for the reasons described in my previous article. Although few athletes have access to a massage therapist on a daily basis, anyone can easily integrate self-massage (a.k.a. “poor man’s massage”) into their daily routines with these tools.
I started out as an adherent of the Trigger Point Grid roller. I found it to be a big improvement over the softness of the traditional “foam” rollers (to be accurate, the new generation rollers are not really made of “foam” anymore). The Trigger Point Grid is firm, durable, and built with targeted massage in mind. And it is easy to travel with, taking up little space in a suitcase when the hollow center is filled with clothes.
But then I tried the GoFit Extreme Massage Roller, and I found this to be an improvement on what Trigger Point pioneered. Why? Primarily because I like the super aggressive knobs–or egg crate nodules–on the GoFit roller, which work well for pinpointing precise spots. The GoFit roller is roughly the same size as the Trigger Point roller, and it also has a hollow center.
In addition, I have found the GoFit roller to be even more durable than the Trigger Point roller. I actually broke one of my old Trigger Point rollers. Somehow I put too much force on it at an odd angle, which cracked the plastic core. I considered it an anomaly–and to be fair, I had gotten quite a bit of use out of it before that point. But the GoFit roller does seem to be a bit thicker and sturdier.
The bottom line: Although you cannot go wrong with either of these two rollers, my top choice goes to the GoFit Extreme Massage Roller.
For massage sticks, I began with the Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager because my massage therapist sold one to me when they first came out. I had tried other massage sticks with beaded rolling surfaces and never really found those to my liking. The Tiger Tail is firm–a plus–but it also uses a dense foam material that makes for a comfortable rolling surface. I was a big adherent of the Tiger Tail massage stick for several years.
But then I tried the GoFit Extreme Massage Bar, which I picked up last year along with their roller. The GoFit stick has aggressive knobs like its roller, which allows for more targeted massage. Plus, the internal mechanism involves what must be some sort of ball bearing system. My biggest complaint with the Tiger Tail is that the effectiveness of the stick wears off as the internal lube dries out. The GoFit uses a more complex internal system that seems to eliminate this problem.
The bottom line: My top choice clearly goes to the GoFit Extreme Massage Bar.
Disclosure statement: Products tested for this review were purchased independently; the author did not receive any discounts or incentives from the brands.