Firmness: soft, standard, firm
Availability: online, retail
How Obtained: sample from company
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested:daily for 3+ weeks
Rollga Roller Is Positively a Better Mousetrap
If you have never tried foam rolling and wonder what the benefits are, in a nutshell it helps to stretch fascia and regenerates damaged tissue by increasing circulation of oxygen-rich blood, thus speeds muscle repair and increases mobility.
As cyclists, our muscles tighten up from hours of sitting in the saddle, sitting at our desk chairs, etc. By getting the muscles to release, you then have more flexibility, which translates to more power and comfort on and off the bike.
I was introduced to the standard foam roller many years ago by a personal trainer. When she first had me roll after a training session, I thought she was insane. Rolling my IT band, quads and piriformis for the first time, the pain was off the charts. But I quickly learned that, like a deep-tissue massage, it “hurts so good,” and with consistent use it helped me recover quicker and actually became less painful during each subsequent rolling session.
Recently, I was introduced to Rollga. These 18-inch rollers are uniquely designed with contours to avoid bone structure, thus providing protection to your spin, hip, shins and shoulders when rolling. I’ve been using this foam roller daily since receiving it and have to say it’s a good hurt.
The contours allow for cross-directional pressure, and you can really target trigger points that are hard or impossible to reach with an ordinary smooth foam roller. The contours also allow you to hit areas like your traps coming in behind your shoulder blades at a 45-degree angle. Previously, I was using a lacrosse ball to hit these trigger points, until I tried the Rollga. The unique design also helps to eliminate bruising or getting into awkward positions to roll certain areas.
The contours are numbered 1-4, and both the user guide and videos often refer to them numerically for positioning. The contours allow you to control the way you roll and the angle from which you are getting pressure to enable muscle shearing, recovery and restoring the fascia tissue. When I first unpacked the roller, I found the reference numbers a little confusing, but it quickly became obvious where to position the roller for each body part.
Get Started Rolling with Apps and Social Media
Rollga has done a great job in helping newbies get started, and longtime rollers discover new techniques. In addition to the instructions that come packaged with the roller, they use several types of social media to provide content, including:
- Company website
- Rollga App
- Private Rollga user Facebook page
- YouTube videos
To access the private Rollga user group FB page, you must answer 3 simple questions. It’s their way to keep bots and trolls out. As I scrolled through the feed, there were videos posted from their 12:20pm and 5:20pm live demos. Also, the page features customer input and suggestions. It’s a great place to post questions on specific muscle issues or rolling techniques.
The free Rollga app provides a variety of videos on getting started and specific use cases. The app also provides links to their private FB user group and YouTube videos.
Different Levels of Firmness
Everyone’s tolerance for discomfort is different. That’s why Rollga offers 3 different levels of firmness: soft, standard and firm. Most customers choose the standard density, and that’s what was sent to me for testing. To be honest, I am not sure I could handle the firm model.
The soft roller is 35% softer than the standard model, and the firm is 25% harder than the standard. Rollga offers a 30-day replacement guarantee if you select the wrongdensity. There’s even a flow chart on their website to help you initially select the right density.
Vertical Spine Stretch
Being a cyclist and someone who works at a computer all day, I’m constantly in a forward closed position. To open up my chest and back, I like to do specific stretches, especially on the foam roller. The Rollga roller is only 18 inches long and works great for the majority of rolling techniques most users will do.
However, if you want to turn the roller vertically and lay head to rear for a thoracic spine stretch, the roller isn’t long enough. Searching the company site and videos, I found that Rollga suggests using two of their rollers end to end. Honestly, even though they aren’t that expensive, I would not buy two of the same rollers and will just use my smooth standard roller for this stretch.
Relief from Tennis or Golf Elbow
Recently, when nearly finished with this review, I saw a video on the Rollga user Facebook page about a trucker who got relief by using Rollga’s Activator 3-in-1 Helo Massage Ball. I’ve been suffering with golfer’s elbow brought on by swimming, single track riding and working on a computer all day. Over the last two years I’ve had physical therapy and two cortisone shots, with the pain being reduced but never completely gone.
I watched the video and thought, what the heck, for $9.99 what do I have to lose? I ordered it off Amazon Prime and got it in two days. I followed the video both on Facebook and on the Rollga website (view here). Within 10 minutes the muscles, tendons and who knows what else was going on in my arm released and I’ve been pain-free since. I still use it daily to keep the muscles and tendons from retracting again. This is amazing relief for an issue I thought might be chronic.
While I don’t guarantee your specific issues will be resolved like mine were, if you’ve tried everything else, this might be of help. I usually travel with a lacrosse ball for trigger point release, but the Helo is made of dense foam, is light weight and the size of a lacrosse ball, so I will definitely travel with it from now on.
Rollga foam rollers are positively a better mouse trap. The unique contour design helped me to target areas I wasn’t able to reach with a standard foam roller, or that I was using a lacrosse ball to reach. Using this roller daily for three weeks, I definitely felt trigger points release and my muscles recover faster. It hurts so good!
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio.