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Always wanting to hasten recovery, prevent future injuries, and just plain feel better, I’ve been working on techniques like massage and myofascial release. One product that really helps with that is a foam roller you can use at home.

I bought a Perform Better Elite Foam Roller, said to be the gold standard when it comes to foam rollers. Then I rolled around on top of it! Here is what I thought…

First impressions

First of all, I am happy with the quality of this molded foam roller. I have never owned one of the cheap white foam rollers to compare to, but from tossing this thing around and rolling on top of it, I think it’s worth the $25 price tag. (And once I did see it on sale for $17.95 at Amazon.com, so if you see that, it’s a steal!)

I’ve been using this roller for about a year now, and although I don’t use it every single day, I think I’ve put it through a good testing phase. It looks and feels just like it did on day one.

The size is perfect. I chose the 6″ diameter by 3′ long roller.

While it does take up a lot of space if you just want to roll your IT band or your calves, the length is great for doing your hamstrings, back, and shoulders. It also gives you a more stable base to work on. I bet I’d get annoyed trying to reposition one of those 1′ long rollers all the time!

What do I use this for?

The main point of using the foam roller is for myofascial release, where I roll each of my body parts over the roller, looking for any tight spots and knots in my fascia that need loosened up.

Typically, runners and cyclists will get a lot out of foam rolling their IT bands and just about any muscle around their hips. It’s possible to improve your hip mobility and therefore your running stride or pedal stroke through foam rolling.

The foam roller works great for all that, but I have also found it enjoyable for use every day to warm up for or cool down from a workout. Like if I am just going to do some yoga at home, I will foam roll to get my body feeling ready for the stretching and balancing required during yoga.

How do you use it?

Well, if you are new to foam rolling, you might draw a blank when it comes to using the roller. I had no problem rolling my calves and hamstrings, but I just didn’t know much else… until I watched the instructional CD-ROM that came free with the roller!

The CD-ROM is 14 minutes long and has a video demonstration of roughly 8-10 different ways to use the foam roller in the first eight minutes. (The last six minutes show you some other exercises that mostly use the “half” rollers.) Demonstrations include calves, hamstrings, upper and lower back, glutes, hip flexors, lats, and more. You don’t realize how versatile this thing is until you watch the video!

Surprisingly (for just being a free bonus video,) the video quality and instruction are actually really good. There is a female athlete using the foam roller and a coach there explaining how to perform each movement. The video has multiple angles of each movement so you can be absolutely sure how to position and move your body.

Once you master these basic moves, you will be able to expand your foam rolling, mainly by figuring out new angles at which to roll your body. After you get comfortable with the roller, the moves and positioning should pop into your head.

My foam rolling results?

I wish I had a miraculous story about foam rolling greatly increasing my performance, but I do not. I have some more realistic positive results though!

First, it certainly feels wonderful to roll my back, glutes, and IT bands, so I’m going to keep foam rolling a big part of my training. I think it helps me to train and recover better, if only slightly.

When I first started foam rolling, I was doing it during a period of strength training. The only real sore spots that caused pain during rolling were along my outer shins. That spot hurts! I haven’t gotten completely through that yet, but it seems to get slightly better each time I use the roller.

As I got into more cycling, running, and XC skiing, the tight spots started showing up! Now I seem to always find some tight and/or tender spots around my hips and IT band, and along my calves as before.

I also aggravated an old shoulder injury while doing pull ups one day, leading to an excessively sore lat. Well, foam rolling twice daily (maybe three minutes each time) had me back in action the next day! I was not expecting that at all!

Again, I don’t know if loosening up these tights spots is a miraculous achievement. But man, these results so far have me ready and willing to foam roll every day for the rest of my life!

Any complaints?

My number one complaint is static! This thing conducts so much static electricity! I usually use it on carpet, which could be part of the problem; something to keep in mind. I will have to try this on a linoleum floor or maybe even spray it with Static Guard before use.

But, you’d get this same problem with any foam roller or even a homemade PVC pipe roller.

One other thing is annoying, and it is how the hardest part at first is figuring out how to be able to keep the roller steady and not reposition it every 10-20 seconds.

But again, that’s just part of foam rolling in general, and you should become more stable over time.

My final verdict is…

This is a very tough foam roller and has worked great for me. It’s not great for traveling (like if you need something in the parking lot right before or after a bicycle race,) but it’s great for your home gym or living room.

If you want a foam roller (it would be a good idea for any athlete,) I highly suggest this one.

Official website: www.PerformBetter.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

*I ordered from Amazon since the shipping was $1 cheaper and I already had an Amazon.com account. But either place is good to order from. Definitely look at PerformBetter’s site since they have great info!

Product Review Details
Company: Perform Better
Product: Perform Better Elite Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2011-01-10
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: Yes; paid affiliate.

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1 Comment
  1. I love my elite foam roller and use it regularly as part of my pre-workout stretch! It made a huge difference in the way I do my workouts now.

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