Believed to help relieve muscle tightness, soreness, inflammation, improve circulation and increase range of motion and flexibility, foam rolling or self-myofascial release (SMR) technique, is a popular way to warm up and cool down before and after exercise.
But a foam roller is a foam roller, right?
Well not always it seems… Meet the Therabody Wave Roller, a battery-powered massaging foam roller. It combines SMR and percussive therapy (or simply put vibration) that promises to take your rolling up a notch so your recovery is better and apparently, it’s a bit less painful to use than a traditional roller. This piqued my interest, because, full disclosure, foam rolling is the least favourite part of my workout routine and I often give up halfway through, simply because it hurts.
About the Wave
The Wave has five intensity levels and has a three-hour battery life and there is always the option to use it without the vibration. The surface of the Wave also seems to be a bit squishier and softer than a traditional roller and has grooved cut-outs to provide contrasting texture.
You can control the Wave with buttons on the device, but, and here’s where it gets smart, you can connect it to the Therabody app via Bluetooth where you can choose from a variety of warm-up or recovery settings and be guided through them.
But, do you really need it to vibrate? According to the brand, when the benefits of foam rolling is combined with percussive therapy, that also helps with muscle recovery, range of motion and specifically sore muscles, the benefits are amplified and you get two devices in one.
Full disclosure, I have never really enjoyed foam rolling and yes, I know about all the benefits and I still find excuses not to do it, because ouch. In contrast, the main reason I liked this one was because it felt really great. I also liked that this roller was a little less hard and found it did feel a bit more comfortable and the vibrations did work wonders on my sore muscles. It did also motivate me to roll after my workouts where in the past I would have happily skipped it.
Did it work?
Was this more effective than your standard run of the mill $15 foam roller? I can’t with 100% certainty say that it. What I do know is, I am now rolling after every workout. I even tried a pre-workout session in the way of a pre-set warmup via the app that is very user-friendly and easy to use. I also liked that I could find pre-set sessions geared to my workout so it showed me what muscles to focus on, how to roll them and also for how long. It added variety to my sessions that I didn’t previously have.
Will I keep using it?
Probably. I like that it was less painful to use and I did enjoy the vibration. Also, I do think it made a difference in helping ease muscle soreness. But truthfully, it is an expensive device and unless you are big into foam rolling or you really don’t like how painful the traditional roller can be, then this might be a good solution for you.