You see them everywhere, Stick Hand Rollers, in your local gym, in your physical therapist’s office, or even in your friend’s apartment. If you’re a runner or athlete, you most likely have a variety of them in your home as well. Massage sticks, foam rollers, lacrosse balls and other self-massage tools are commonly found.
Many of us use these tools religiously to roll our muscles and achy body parts and lament that it “hurts so good.”
What is all the Fuss about Self-Massage?
This practice of self-massage is called self-myofascial release. Myofascial is the connective tissue network that runs through your body. It wraps around your internal organs and muscles and holds it all in place. When this system is healthy, it distributes strain evenly so that you don’t end up excessively loading one part of the body and causing injury.
If you think of myofascial like a spider web, it all comes together. If one part of the web is broken or damaged, the web doesn’t fall. Instead, strain and tension have to be distributed across the strands of the web differently to account for the weakened section. In other words, other parts of the web pick up the slack of the reduced section.
The same thing happens in your body. When there is trauma or injury to an area, it can lead to weakness or adhesions in your myofascial. This may limit your range of motion and can even compress your muscles and nerves, leading to less hydration and blood flow to those areas. This can lead to pain and injury and can impact your performance.
How Muscle Roller Sticks Work
You should press the stick firmly against a body part, like the thigh, and add pressure. You then run the stick along the selected muscle. The stick roller is usually comprised of a bar with rollers that are about 1 inch thick attached. This design allows it to glide smoothly across your body while conforming to shape slightly. It stretches the muscles and ligaments. You can use it on any relaxed muscle.
Benefits of using a Massage Body Stick Roller
1. Flexibility – The stick rolls out and stretches your muscle fibers, your tendons, and even ligaments. If you stretch the muscles while they are still warm after a workout, they are less likely to get tight, stiffen or shorten.
2. Circulation – As you apply pressure and roll the stick forward, it will create a suction in your veins. Which will help draw in more blood that is fresh and full of oxygen and nutrients.
3. Pain Reduction – You can almost pinpoint knots and sore muscles with the stick. By rolling out these sore areas your pain is relieved.
4. Sleep Improvement – Massage has been known to improve the quality and quantity of sleep a person can achieve. Relaxation is crucial for REM sleep.
5. Energy Conservation – Most stretching to warm up the muscles is done by light exercise. This means that you have to use valuable energy stores before the race. If you use a body stick to warm up your muscles, then you will have more glucose readily available in the blood. That means you will be less likely to break down your muscles to provide energy.
6. Fewer Injuries – Using a Roller Stick before exercising will allow the muscles to get warmed up and prevent any damage to your body. Think about your muscles as if they were a rubber band. Leave the band in your warm car, and it will stretch and bend very easily. Then go out on a cold morning and try yanking on it and it is most likely going to be too tight and possibly snap.
7. Muscle Growth and Repair – Greater circulation provides more nutrients to the muscles. For muscles to grow or improve they need glycogen. Blood flow can be restricted post-exercise due to trigger points and tight muscles. Fresh blood provides necessary glycogen to the muscles. You could always try taking a nutrient-dense drink 20-30 minutes before massaging to provide the most amount of nutrients possible to your muscles.
8. Lactic Acid Removal – Using a Stick Roller to roll out your muscles after exercise encourages lactic acid removal. Choosing to roll-out post workout is highly recommended. The lactic acid in your body is then sent to your liver and turned into glucose.
9. Breaks Down Soft Tissue Adhesion – When you train a lot, compete or do intense sessions sometimes it leads to the development of adhesions. This is sometimes where muscle, fascia, and other tissues stick together. Massaging and rolling out these areas can help your body correct this issue.
10. Better Mood – Let’s face it, when your body feels good you feel even better. By relieving the stress, aches, and pains, and adding in better sleep and more oxygen means you will most likely experience a much better mood, which is better for you and everyone else.
It’s ideal for most athletes, those with desk jobs, and people with muscular injuries.
The stick roller is great because it is small, light, and portable. You can throw it in your car, gym bag, carry-on, or even keep it at your desk.
And you can use it practically anywhere. The Stick Rollers usual size is only 19 inches long and 2 inches thick.
You can roll yourself out or have someone do it for you, unlike the foam rollers.
You can use the Stick Roller while you’re standing, crouching, kneeling, sitting, or laying down.
It is small enough to do all of your body parts without it being awkward.
When you’re not using the Stick Roller, it is not a huge eyesore and doesn’t take up space.
The Stick Roller will last forever unlike Foam Rollers that tend to compress and break down after awhile. And they can start to collect dirt and sweat. You can easily wash off your stick roller if necessary.
If you want to check out the one that most commonly used, then you can find it on Amazon with our direct links.
Here are some things to look for when trying to discover tissue that requires attention
Pain – That goes as defined as an unpleasant sensation accompanied by the tendency to withdraw and a reactive regional tension.
Tensions – can sometimes express themselves as trigger points in your body.
Trigger points – are defined as an area of dysfunction refers sensation to another area of the body. This often happens in predictable patterns, but not always. Two doctors studied this Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons were the first to map these patterns with accuracy in their now familiar manual Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. Many trigger point therapies will try to shut down these signals with sustained pressure to the target areas, which can offer a fast relief from the pain. This practice can be valuable but is by no means the complete picture. It’s almost like cutting the wire to the faulty check engine light. The annoying sound you hear while driving is just about gone, but the engine problem is still happening.
The inability of skin, called the epidermis, slides over to the subcutaneous tissues. Not only can this cause a disruption of long-term processing of chemicals in the area, but restriction like this could contribute significantly to inefficient gross movement patterns and cause joints to move off of the axis and contractile tissues to work much harder to attain the ranges of motion crucial to sports. Many times this could lead to inflammatory responses in tissues that are over stressed, and if they are left unchecked they can result in excessive calcium and fat deposits.
Dense areas of tissue
These may prevent full expression of a range of motion and keep nearby tissues from sliding past one another. When dysfunctional these areas are often gristly, hard, and do not normally move well. But just because a zone has dense tissue does not mean it’s dysfunctional. Squat often? Guess what? Your IT bands will be thick and stiff from transmitting force from your hips into the ground. Are you an athlete who has bigger hips living next to your spine? Yeah, that’s normally from doing work, and it doesn’t mean you’re messed up.
Where You should Start
Body builders and everyday lifters lay down some serious scar tissue. This fact makes implementing advanced manual self-soft tissue techniques a crucial aspect of our performance and recovery pyramid. The most favorite techniques that are taught are to maintain and enhance long-term shoulder health and function are focused on the small tendons and muscles attached to the shoulder blade. With only using your hands and the ability to optimally positioning your body for force and leverage, your shoulders can be bullet-proofed by adding on as little as five minutes to the end of your training
Beyond Treating Trigger Points
Tissues not only need direct trigger point work, but they also need to be released from one another. This version can create a more authentic movement type of pattern that is uninhibited by compensation. Each contractile tissue in the body has a primary action of movement, while many play a role in assisting other muscles with secondary actions.
If your muscle’s primary and secondary actions aren’t being actively trained but are still pulled into the motion being executed, inefficiency and lack of performance in these movements are the least of your problems. A messy pattern that we have all tried to retrain with our clients is the deep squat. When the lateral chain of the lower body is tight and bound to the surrounding tissues, hefty compensations occur, such as knees caving in. These “sticky” muscles cause you to sometimes work against yourself and create some dysfunctions, which can lead to a host of issues in the short and long term.
Learning to identify specific musculature, while also differentiating overlying and underlying structures takes time and practice. These might be skills that can’t be developed overnight. You need continuous training to be as efficient as possible. With the necessity of a high frequency of treatment, your skills will become enhanced every single day, and in many cases, it’ll ultimately be better than going to a practitioner.
No matter how good the practitioner, or how magical they will tell you their hands are, they can’t feel what you feel. Your sensory experience is priceless in getting the most out of your soft tissue treatments, and more specificity means more streamlined gains. You think your foam roller is capable of that? Try a Stick Roller instead. They are commonly used as a trigger point therapy.
Take Back Your Tissues
Exploration of your tissues is the primary goal of having a successful self-soft tissue treatment. Knowing your body, and knowing details about your particular anatomy and the tissue structure may enhance your efforts to improve your soft tissue health. Concentrate on your efforts in finding tissues that feel somewhat leathery, along with undoubtedly achy tissues in need of some intense attention. Due to the self-limiting nature of soft tissue work, the more, the better! Save your time and increase your return on investment with manual self-treatments. No excuses. Get after it.
Lucky for us as self-sufficient athletes, we don’t have to broaden our soft tissue skill set to meet the ever-growing demand of various clients. We have our bodies to take care of, and that alone will take time and effort to explore fully. Find some of the little modifications to these foundational concepts that enhance your treatments. This is merely a starting point for you to navigate your way through the shoulder and beyond. Start with these keys to standard self-soft tissue treatments:
Spend some time and palpate your tissues to differentiate structures from one another. It won’t hurt to break out some anatomy literature and study where you want to focus your attention.
Your goal is to generate a “hurts good” feeling in the tissues being treated. If you’ve ever been treated by a professional, you’ll recognize the real sense. Everyone’s a bit different but shoot for a subjective pain scale rating of at least a 6-8/10.
If you feel any sharp or radiating pain, different from what the trigger points in soft tissue feel like, discontinue your pressure. You’re most likely on a nerve or vascular vessel. Move off that point and continue your treatment next to such nerve. Many of your nerves can become sticky, just as soft tissues do. Treat the tissue, not the nerve.
The more tension you create, the less force you’ll need to exert. Think of twist, not push, with your hand placements.
A roller stick is a compact, lightweight self-massage tool small enough to fit in a gym bag length ranging from 15-inches to 25-inches. With ergonomic handles on both ends and biotherapeutic spindles across the middle, a roller stick provides an easy way to compress and stretch muscles, facilitating a soft tissue treatment called myofascial release.
The result of myofascial release is manifold – it improves your blood circulation, enhances the muscles’ stretch reflex, treats your trigger points, and loosens you when you’re tight or have knotted muscles. All these work hand in hand in giving instant pain relief, speeding up muscle recovery time, and increasing range of motion or movement.
This extensive functionality is why the roller stick is one of the most recommended tools for optimizing performance.
The Overall Track Record for Roller Sticks
Roller sticks are powerful self-massage tools that are widely used by many professional athletes for over a decade. In fact, USA Track and Field has endorsed the first and most famous roller stick – just known as The Stick – for years. Loren Seagrave, one of the most renowned speed coaches in the world, have recommended them to his athletes to positive results.
One Size Does Not Fit Everyone
One crucial thing to remember is that one size doesn’t fit all. In order to help you find out which stick is the most suitable to address your muscle needs, we have searched for the best roller sticks and review them here.
Recommended Techniques For Using a Roller Stick
Muscle Rollers are the best at providing you with instant pain relief. Using a Stick Roller on a daily basis can provide you constant muscle maintenance and prevent future injuries. Below are the five most recommended techniques when treating targeted areas.
Turn your head 10-degrees to the right and slide the muscle roller stick on the left side of the neck. Do the same movements in the opposite direction. Drop your chin and push the roller stick across the back of the neck as well. Roller Stick on Neck
To roll your right shoulder, stand up straight, grab the left end of your roller stick from your back with your left hand and the right end with your right hand. Use your left hand for an anchor as you roll your right shoulder by using your right hand. To roll your left shoulder, you should do the same procedure but in reverse Roller stick
3. Upper Back
To roll your left side of your upper back, grab the left end of the stick with your left hand and point your left elbow forward. Grab the right end of the stick from behind with your right hand to serve as an anchor for you. Using your left hand, slide the stick back and forth between your spine and your shoulder blade. To roll the right upper back, perform the same procedure but in reverse. Best Roller Stick Back
Raise your left leg by stepping on a raised platform. Grab both sides of the stick with each hand and then roll the left hip. Using the same stance, start by working on your front leg as well. Do the same movements in reverse to work on the right leg.
5. Lower Back
Place your roller stick across your lower back and grab both ends with each one of your hands. Roll your stick up and down using short strokes. Do this type of procedure between the belt line and the buttocks.
For deeper massage, gently bend backward at the waist and anchor the left end with the left elbow. Grab the right end with your palm up for leverage and slide the stick up and down via short strokes. Do the same procedure but in reverse to work on the opposite side. Back Roller Stick
Both roller sticks and foam rollers have their types of advantages and disadvantages. The right tool for you will depend on the kind of workout that you do on a regular basis. Owning both, however, can give you the best of both worlds, and the only way you can get the most out of their respective advantages is by learning many of the tried-and-tested techniques used by long-term users.
If you have ever used the infamous foam roller, then you know how effective they can be. However, the massage stick is much better and easier to target specific muscle groups such as your neck, your inner thigh muscles, your shin muscles, your arms or muscles underneath the foot that can be difficult to do with the foam roller.
Benefits of using the Massage Stick Roller
Improve Overall Performance
the most important reason to use the massage stick roller is to improve the overall performance of your muscles during exercise. Whether you are lifting weights or doing cardio, it helps to release lactic acid and stimulate blood flow when used following exercise so that you will perform better during your next workout.
Reduce Possible Injury and Increase Your Flexibility
when using a Stick Roller before an injury, it can significantly reduce your injuries as it stretches out your muscle fibers, tendons, and ligaments.
Myofascial and Pain Release
When using a Stick Roller after a workout while your muscles are still warm will prevent the muscles from becoming tight and sore. If you are not presently using a massage stick, it’s excellent to roll out your trigger points to remove any painful muscle knots. It also feels great as a tender spot starts to loosen up, and you can feel the circulation of your blood improve!
Portable and Lightweight
The massage stick is extremely convenient to take with you on the go as an alternative to the foam roller when you go traveling or even when you go to the gym.
Improve Mood and Sleep
If the above benefits weren’t enough, the massage stick also improves your mood and sleep. Its simple, when your muscles are healthy and relaxed, you feel more healthy and comfortable which impacts your mood and gives your better sleep.
The condition in which our connective tissue depends on two factors is how old we are and what we have done in our lives to keep our tissue healthy, hydrated and flexible.
The health of your connective tissue is a serious concern especially for older people, as movement restrictions can make it hard for them to perform simple activities of daily living. While personal trainers often develop flexibility programs and modify exercises to help senior clients succeed, there is another valuable technique to improve seniors’ range of motion.
That technique is self-myofascial release which works with the clients of any ages and might need to be somewhat modified for older adults to satisfy the physical changes of aging. For example, a typical SMR technique for the hamstrings involves resting the backs of the thighs on a foam roller and using the upper body to pull the legs across the roller. This works fine for clients with strong upper bodies, real core strength, sufficient wrist flexibility and good shoulder stability, but it is not a viable option for many older adults.
Warms muscle without expending your vital energy stores
Performs both general and segments of necessary stretching procedures
Removes any trigger point barriers to peak athletic performance
Enhances strength, flexibility, and endurance
Accelerates muscle recovery and relieves pain
The Q-10 Effect
Warm muscles perform better than relaxed muscles, Traditionally over the years, athletes would have to do light exercise to raise their muscle temperature and enhance their enzyme activity. This came about at the expense of energy stores that could make the difference between being in first place or second place. Intracell Technology allows an athlete to warm-up without expending energy reserves.
Speed, Strength, and Endurance
Emphasis on flexibility training by most athletes is almost non-existent. However, flexibility is very crucial for developments in your speed, strength, and endurance. The most common approach to flexibility is less than optimal since those muscles rarely stiffen. Typically, isolated segments of muscle become chronically shortened. Intracell Technology allows an athlete to perform general stretching as well as segmental stretching procedures with a high degree of precision.
During your exercise, lactic acid can build to critical levels where optimal performance might be sacrificed, Intracell Technology expedites the discharge of your lactic acid from your muscles, and it encourages the conversion into glucose by the liver. Intracell Technology appears to be very promising in the arena of enhanced sports performance. Look for more research along these lines in the future.
There are so many myths about what lactic acid actually is. Perhaps the greatest of all is the notion that there is lactic acid in the human body. There is not. The body produces lactate, which is lactic acid minus one proton.
The difference between lactic acid and lactate is, for all practical purposes, semantic. But other popular beliefs about lactic acid are about as wrong as wrong can be. Most triathletes believe that lactate is found to be an end product of anaerobic muscle metabolism that causes som local muscle fatigue by increasing the acidity of the tissues to the point where they will no longer function effectively. In fact, we now know that lactate is considered to be an intermediate link between anaerobic and aerobic muscle metabolism that serves as both a direct and indirect fuel for muscle contraction and delays fatigue in a couple of different ways.
Our new understanding of the nature and function of lactate is rather appealing to every athlete who is curious about how the human body works. But does it make any difference? Do the new ideas in a science of lactate suggest a different approach to training than the old science did? Many would indicate that it does call for a subtle changing of the standard approach to your endurance training, but no major overhaul. However, let’s take a closer look at how some traditional beliefs about lactate were exposed as myths and replaced by an almost different explanation.
The perfect description of lactate in exercise dates back to about the early 1920s when researchers showed that the exposure of frog legs to levels of lactic acid interfered with the ability of the muscles to contract in response to electrical stimulation. Later some research had determined that lactate was actually produced through the anaerobic glycolysis or the breakdown of glucose or glycogen molecules for energy without the help of oxygen. This is what concluded that fatigue occurred at intense exercises because the cardiovascular system could no longer supply the muscles with enough oxygen to keep pace with strong energy demands, resulting in higher reliance on anaerobic glycolysis, meaning lactate buildup.
How exactly did lactate buildup cause the muscles to fatigue? Biochemists believed that lactate was originally created in the body by the removal of a proton from the lactic acid. When protons start to accumulate in living tissues, the tissues become more acidic. And when muscles become too acidic, they lose their ability to contract.
This overall explanation began to unravel in 1977 when South African biochemist Wieland Gevers showed that the reaction that produces lactate consumes a pair of free protons. This meaning that it may impede muscular acidosis rather than promoting it. More recently, scientists have found that while protons do actually accumulate in the muscles during a high-intensity exercise, increasing muscle acidity, these protons are normally produced through a type of reaction that is completely separate from that which produces lactate.
The Hand roller stick is the original, and still, the best handheld massage tool on the market by far. It is of ease to use coupled with instant results has made The Stick a highly sought after product worldwide. Since 1988 the award winning Stick has been used by Professional sports teams, Olympians and recreational athletes. The Stick is used in hundreds of hospitals and by many healthcare professionals to help their patients with any muscle issues. Virtually anyone can incorporate self-massage with The Stick for some trigger point therapy, muscle wellness and muscle recovery in their everyday routine.
There is no need to spend a lot of money on an extravagant massage chair when you have your muscle roller stick. These sticks have become a go-to for so many athletes due to their outstanding benefits such as increasing your blood circulation, improving your flexibility, and loosening your tight muscles before or even after a workout.
The Stick provides a myofascial release and trigger point therapy by segmentally elongating muscle bundles. Inactivation of trigger points requires about 30 seconds per each lesion. Because of its unique design qualities, The Stick can simultaneously release multiple injuries in minimal time with virtually no physical effort.
Doing a full body pre-workout warmup or post-workout cool down it requires at least 8 minutes. Although there are several models, each instrument can be used on any and all of your main muscle groups. See the top 10 Muscle Roller Sticks Reviewed.
Tips for Use
Typical warm-up with the Roller Stick is usually about 20 progressively deeper passes over each muscle group about 30 seconds per area.
Pain is often experienced when the spindles locate a bump or tender knot in the muscle known as trigger points.
Muscles containing trigger points are often considered to be weak, stiff and sore. They’re frequently tight, quickly tire and often hurt.
Chronic trigger points need at least 20 additional passes over the affected area and may require attention to the area several times daily.
Keep your muscles relaxed during the rollout
Use on skin or through very light clothing
The Stick is made to be waterproof and designed to bow without the fear of breaking.
It is not necessary to forcefully hurt the muscle just to help the muscle.
Use the Stick Roller before, during and after periods of activity.
For pin-point rollout, slide hands onto spindles.
The amount of pressure is always determined by the recipient.
The Stick rolls knots out of muscle, providing myofascial release & trigger point therapy.
This therapeutic procedure inactive trigger points [muscle knots/kinks], warms tissue, increases circulation and encourages nutrient-rich blood flow.
The Stick relieves your pain, increases your range of motion promotes your flexibility and accelerates your recovery.
Use the Stick Roller anytime for the many benefits of myofascial release and trigger point therapy as desired.
It’s not uncommon to experience muscle cramps after a workout since the muscles, tendons, and joints are usually exposed to potentially more strain than they are used to. Moreover, there is no need to worry as a simple device can help to relieve the pain in about 10 minutes, which is known as a muscle roller. The roller is made of hard-celled plastic and is commonly found to be cylindrical in shape. The mechanism of the Stick Roller is quite simple because all you need to do is place the roller between the floor and the body’s soft tissue, before starting the rolling motion. You can also use your body weight to position it and focus on a particular area till the relief sets in.
Rules to Remember
Before you start exercising with a Stick Roller, you have to keep these points in mind so as to ensure you get the maximum benefits from it:
• Rolling too quickly isn’t advised since it has adverse effects – the movements have to be focused and steady.
• Try to combine some movements like up-and-down, side-to-side and other directional changes so that you can work on the muscles from all angles.
• Keep your tissues hydrated and more flexible by drinking plenty of water before rolling out with the Stick Roller.
• Muscle rollers primary use is designed for providing pain relief quickly, but if you use it on a daily basis, it assists in injury prevention and muscle maintenance as well.
Results of using Muscle Rollers
• Your blood circulation improves immensely. The roller allows smooth flowing of blood through the skin, fascia, muscles, and also the tendons and ligaments. Due to better flow, your body gets more nutrients and flushes out toxins and wastes at a cellular level. Inter-cellular communication and cellular function are significantly improved.
• It elongates the small muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Muscles such as your hip flexors and your ligaments to resist stretching to an extent as they are prone to shortening. Applying a therapeutic pressure on these muscles with the help of trigger point therapy methods and regular massages are tough. A muscle roller can put the necessary pressure on these areas and can expand shortened tissues. Deep pressure massages help to improve physical imbalances that can often lead to injuries. The fascia accumulation in the muscles is being loosened, which prevents these zones from triggering injuries.
• The optimal spinal range of motion is encouraged thanks to the Stick Roller. All you need to do is slowly roll the spine of your body against the roller, and stop when you feel any restrictions. This can help the joints and tissues surrounding the area to stretch properly.
• A flexible body is one of the most important factors when it comes to fitness. When you start to establish a daily routine using muscle rollers, the flexibility of muscles increases. For instance, lengthening of hip flexors can sometimes prevent any tautness after sitting and relieve any lower back pain as well.
• Tension Release: Last but most certainly not the least, rollers can help release tension that may build up in your connective tissues, thus helping you de-stress. Sitting at a desk for a long time at work can cause tightness in some areas, so use the roller to massage them away.
Top Exercises for Pain Relief
Target these areas to experience a quick relief from any muscle pains:
• Lats – Position your body on the right side while keeping your right leg flat, the left foot flat on the floor and the knee bent at 90 degrees. Make sure the center of the roller is placed under the right arm pit at a perpendicular angle to your body. Stretch your right arm straight try to for as far as you can, while resting the left hand on the roller. Maintain this position, roll from the armpit about four inches down towards the waist, and work your way up. Continue for 30 to 60 seconds, and then transition to the opposite side.
• Calves – Stretch your legs out in front of you, place the Stick Roller perpendicular to the body, and rest the lower right calf at its center. Put your hands on the floor, use your triceps to lift your butt off of the floor, and place the left foot on top of the right calf. Start from the lower right calf and move up to the flesh portion. Go back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds, and then switch to the other leg.
• Shoulders and Pectorals– Position your body face down and keep your left forearm on the floor. One end of the foam roller should be under the right shoulder, while extending the arm straight as far as you can, to the height of the shoulder. You need to form a “T” shape with the roller. Roll from the shoulders to the right pec and go up. Repeat for at least 30 to 60 seconds before switching sides.
These exercises need not be done for pain relief only – they can be performed for overall health and fitness too. Make sure you consult a trainer for more tips on muscle roller exercise