Roll with it: Self-Massage Never Felt So Good

If you're frustrated because you can't afford bodywork on a regular basis and you can't seem to work out your own kinks, buy a foam roller.

For most of us working stiffs, regular massages are but a dream, with the occasional session being more a self-indulgent treat than part of a training regime.

But for working stiffs who also work out on the bike, stiff and tight muscles could use more than the occasional bodywork session. So we’re told to self-message, which, depending on where your trouble spot resides, can be difficult to reach and ineffective.

So if you’re frustrated because you can’t afford bodywork on a regular basis and you can’t seem to work out your own kinks, go out and get a foam roller. After a quick session on one of these puppies and you’ll feel like your own in-house masseuse has gone over your piriformis and iliotibial band muscles.

I could yammer on about myofascial release, but I won’t because you can read about it here. What I can tell you is that by working a foam roller into a regular stretching routine you can probably make that occasional, indulgent massage session more beneficial.

You can find a variety of foam rollers — densities, length, height — online or at a decent sporting goods store. It’s also likely your gym has a few lying around as well, but those can be a bit squashed from tons of use.

And while we haven’t had the chance to check out the GRID, the tricked-out roller in the photo above, the guy who developed it says it can be used for both self-release therapy and as part of a core workout.

Cassidy Phillips is a biomechanical specialist and creator of Trigger Point Performance Therapy Products and Education. His roller is called the GRID, which can be used in his core-strengthening system and self-massage program called SMRT-CORE.

“While most foam rollers are one-dimensional, I sought to invent a platform that would allow blood and oxygen to travel throughout the tissue as the muscles are compressed to deliver an optimal yet customizable massage,” Phillips says.

The GRID alone costs $39.99. The Trigger Point web site has a bunch of other items, including SMRT-CORE workout DVDs.

So there ya go — a high-tech foam roller that will cost you a lot less than regular trips to the massage therapist.