Massage Roller Sticks – Your New Weapon Against Pain
Working out is awesome but it can come at a cost! Who hasn’t suffered with muscle stiffness or irritation after a grueling gym session or run? If you are tired of aching muscles, it’s time to invest in a massage roller stick. You’ll soon wonder why you’ve waited so long.
What are massage roller sticks?
As the name implies, massage roller sticks are tube-shaped tools that can be moved over the skin. They consist of ergonomically designed beads, spikes, or wheels that massage the muscles. Most have ergonomic handles, but some are simply tubes of foam or rubber.
According to personal trainer Jeff Kuhland, self-massage is also called Self Myofascial Release (SMR).
These tools are cheap, portable, and effective. You can use them all over your body. Many are designed so you can reach around to massage your back. Some are rigid, which helps you apply pressure to a large area. If you want to work on small muscles or trigger points, a stick with a degree of flexibility may be better.
Who can benefit from massage roller sticks?
Swimmers, athletes, cyclists, runners, dancers, climbers, and anyone else who likes a vigorous workout will benefit from a massage stick. Most sticks are small enough to fit into a gym bag or suitcase.
How to use a massage roller stick
You don’t need any special training to use a massage roller or stick. If your stick has handles, simply take hold of them and start moving it over your body. To maximize your flexibility and reduce risk of injury, use the stick before, during, and immediately after your workout. Professor Debra A. Stroiney says that using a stick helps post-workout recovery.
You need to use enough pressure to reach your muscles, but not so much that you hurt yourself. Pay attention to your body. Some discomfort is OK, but self-massage should be pleasurable rather than painful. Take your time. Spend 30-45 seconds massaging each major muscle group.
In this video, you can watch a massage roller stick in action:
Some massage stick manufacturers include exercise guides and instructional videos with their products.
The different types of massage roller sticks on offer
Massage roller sticks vary in texture, material, and style. The most common type uses beads to massage muscles. The beads usually operate independently of one another. This allows the user to concentrate pressure where they need it most.
The Elite Sportz Equipment Elite Muscle Stick is a typical example. It is compact enough to fit in a gym bag. You can use it sitting or standing up, so it’s a good choice if you don’t have a floor mat nearby. You can use it to apply light pressure, heavy pressure, or anything in between. As it is made of plastic, it is easy to clean, lightweight, and waterproof.
However, if you need a product that can withstand frequent heavy use, it may not be substantial enough. Some people prefer the feel of foam over plastic, as the latter is hard and unyielding. Ultimately, your decision should be based on your personal needs and preferences.
Another highly-rated classic-style roller is the Fitness Room Premium Muscle Roller Massage Stick. Its nine beads ensure deep, even pressure on trigger points. There are small spaces between the beads which may pull on leg hair.
The benefit of using roller stick
Using a roller stick for deep tissue massage
It’s worth investing in a more expensive, sturdy piece if you work out regularly and need to smooth out muscle knots. The IDSON Muscle Roller Stick is a good option. It is made of nine individual rollers with a steel core, making it a heavy-duty piece of equipment.
Be careful if you have long leg hair, because it may become trapped in the rollers. You could use the roller over leggings rather than your bare skin. Each roller contains several ridges, which some people find uncomfortable.
For a massage stick that offers pinpoint stimulation, consider the Gaiam Restore Pressure Point Muscle Roller Stick. It consists of three spiky massage balls that can be rolled over any part of the body. Rubber spikes can hone in on trigger points quickly without putting the surrounding tissue under unnecessary pressure.
The Gaiam’s spiky nodules are designed so that you can exert a lot of pressure with relatively little effort. However, because the design makes it easy to go deep, you may inadvertently bruise yourself. Some users have also reported that it irritates their skin.
How using a massage stick can reduce cellulite
Cellulite is the uneven, bumpy distribution of fat just beneath the skin. Traditional massage techniques can help break down this tissue, giving a smoother appearance. You can use a roller to achieve the same effect at home. Simply massage your thighs and buttocks every day for a few minutes, applying deep pressure.
The Muscle Stick Elite Hard Massage Roller helps reduce cellulite by promoting healthy circulation. It’s easy to clean and comes with a lightweight steel core which should ensure years of use.
This product works best on the legs and thighs rather than the back or any other place that’s hard to reach. Sometimes the rollers clack against one another during use, which some users find off-putting.
Using a foam roller for back and shoulder massage
You can use massage sticks to work on your neck, shoulders, and back, but most people find lying on a large roller to be easier. Wedge the roller beneath your lower back and the floor. Shift your body up and down until you feel relief. You might find that some areas are especially tender; these are trigger points.
Nordic Lifting Foam Roller
Be sure to choose a sturdy roller that will take your weight. The Nordic Lifting Foam Roller is a chunky piece of foam with spikes and ridges. It has been designed to simulate both the palm and thumb pressure you would get from a regular massage.
It’s big and strong enough to lay on, making it perfect for floor-based stretching exercises. Although it is made of foam it is not especially yielding to the touch. Those with sensitive muscles may find it exerts too much pressure.
The Abco Tech Foam Roller is designed primarily for use on the shoulders and upper back. You simply lie on the floor with the roller wedged beneath you and roll back and forth to alleviate pain and tension. The manufacturers are so confident in its build quality that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
The 321 Strong Foam Massage Roller is the same size and shape but comes with three “zones.” These zones are designed to simulate finger, palm, and thumb pressure. This can make it hard to align the correct part of the roller with your back when lying on the floor. Nonetheless, its durability and deep penetration make it a good choice.
Using a massage stick for a lighter massage
If you need or prefer a lighter massage, choose the Supremus Sports Muscle Roller Massage Stick. It has relatively shallow grooves, so isn’t the best choice if you need to apply heavy pressure. The stick is light and easy to use, but may break with vigorous, frequent use.
Using a massage stick for chronic pain
If you have sciatica, back pain, or any other long-term pain, a massage roller stick can improve your quality of life. For example, if you have sciatica, a roller can help loosen your leg muscles and reduce pressure on your nerves.
People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have also reported success with massage sticks. RA causes persistent joint inflammation and can be extremely painful. Using a massage stick daily on affected joints offers several benefits. It reduces pain, enhances mobility, and induces relaxation.
Experimenting with other self-massaging equipment
If you want to try both spikes and massaging beads, pick up the BrusFit Muscle Roller Stick and Massager Ball. The ball offers a more targeted trigger point massage than the stick, making it a useful two-part set. The roller beads are flat, making it better for light as opposed to deep tissue massage.
A simple tennis ball can also do wonders for pain and muscle tension. If your feet are aching, roll them firmly over a ball for a few minutes for quick relief. For tense shoulders or an aching upper back, wedge the ball between yourself and the wall. Move your body up and down to work out kinks and knots.
Why not go shopping for a stick today?
Massage sticks are inexpensive, so why not buy a couple of products and see which works best for you? Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to texture and pressure. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are seeing a massage therapist or medical professional, ask them for advice on getting the most from your equipment.