SNEWS® team members have rolled out muscles and soft tissue on big rollers, small rollers, hard rollers, soft rollers, foam rollers, and cushioned rollers. Yeah, we’ve used a lot of rollers over the years because of course everybody wants to make the old standby white foam product better.
And The Grid roller from Trigger Point Therapy may have just done that -- with some caveats.
One of our testers has never been a huge roller fan although she knows all the benefits. It just plain hurts too much on places like the side of her legs (ITB) or other places with little fat deposit. She likes rolling areas like hamstrings or gluteals though. Another beefier tester doesn’t find it as painful but is not always comfortable getting himself into the right position to roll out an area due to its diameter.
The Grid has an interesting “grid” of foam cushioning on the roller that is softer in some spots and a little harder in others based on “seaming” of the foam zones – they call it “distrodensity zones.” But, no, there won’t be a test after this, so don’t worry about that part. According to the company, when you target a particular area of density on the hollow-core roller, the massaging effect is like various uses of a hand or finger by a human – we’re not sure about that since often you just roll on the entire thing.
Either way it is just more comfortable for our skinny tester than other rollers because of the additional cushion, yet not so soft that you don’t get the benefit. Our beefier tester found it worked well when he had a painful back spasm that was a bit sensitive but when he was just trying to roll a healthier muscle it actually felt a little too soft to really dig in well. A physical therapist we know who uses it finds The Grid much more comfortable and adaptable for herself and clients than traditional foam rollers.
You can also use the roller for various core and abdominal exercises and it’s light enough and compact enough (13 inches long by 5 inches in diameter) to travel reasonably well – you can stuff it with clothes or even, as one user told us, a wine bottle! However, the diameter was what our beefier (and less flexible) tester found difficult at times to deal with -- it just required more maneuvering and muscle to get yourself into the right position compared to some we have used that are as small as 4 inches in diameter.
Overall, this is a super alternative to the harder, traditional foam roller of yore for many, especially those who find the harder foam too painful. It's also more durable than traditional foam.
DVDs at three levels are available, which we did not review. There are also great demos and photos online. As with all rollers, it takes a certain amount of strength and savvy to hold yourself in some positions and body knowledge to do it right, so one or more DVDs could be a good addition to the roller itself.
Our testers arm-wrestled a bit on the rating some some might consider it the pinnacle (5) while others may find it only fair. In the end we chose a compromise but it remains a personal preference in the end.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested retail: $39.99 (with one DVD, $49.99; with three DVDs, $80; DVDs $19.99 each or three for $40)
For more information: www.tptherapy.com