Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Trigger Point "The Grid" foam roller First Impressions

I'm a big fan of foam rollers for myofascial release and have been using them for a good while now. I have looked at how useful they can be for ITB syndrome in another blog for Global Therapies which you can find here.

Having used various things as foam rollers in the past, from Lemonade Bottles to Beer Bottles, squidgy rollers, hard rollers and a mixture inbetween, which feel like hard rollers, but end up being very soft and quite ineffectual, my eye was caught by the Trigger Point "grid".
In most advertisements it is presented as a luridly coloured hollow tube with various nobbles and lines, making it seem part technical gym equipment, and part small childs toy.
At £40+ a throw, unless you have a fair amount of wedge to chuck about, its quite an investment, especially if you aren't entirely sure what you are getting for your money.

My Grid arrived today, in somewhat of a smaller box than I was expecting. The rollers I have been used to using are generally about 45 to 60cm long. This box certainly wasn't that long, maybe 35, 40cm at a push. Interesting. Have I been sent the wrong thing?
Scissors out, and a quick work was made of the sellotape, nope, looks like I have been sent the right thing, its just a little shorter than I was expecting. No harm there, just a mis-conception on my part.
And, its quite a circumspect Black, with an inner of lurid green. Not that colour really enters into whether the apparatus works well or not, its simply a bit less "kids toy" and a bit more "gym tool". (with a hint of fun on the inside)...

As you can see from the photos, its quite a bit shorter than the other rollers I have, measuring in at approx 35cm, it is the same width as the harder Black roller, and can quite easily fit a 2 litre lemonade bottle inside it.
The outer foam is about as squidgy as the white (less dense) roller that I have already, but with the hard plastic core being as solid and as unyielding as a drainpipe- hence creating the trademark "soft with a hard feel" feeling from Trigger point. I noticed this with their TP ball, and still have no idea how they do it, but with the Grid, its a little more self evident.

I wasted no time in jumping on the roller to see what it felt like. It didn't take much time to get used to the diminished size of the roller, seeing as its the same size as the lemonade bottles I used to use. The longer rollers just seem like a bit of a luxury anyway.
Immediate impressions, its not as hard (or as cold) as a fully pressurised Lemonade bottle, nor does it feel quite as hard (though it does have some solidity) as the Black polystyrene foam roller. It certainly isn't quite as soft and forgiving as the closed cell white roller.
Squidginess of the Grid
Squidginess of my White roller
Squidgyness of my Black roller
So after a very cursory roll out on it, in comparison to the other rollers I own, it does seem to have its own little niche. What I am intrigued to know, and intend to work out over the coming weeks and months is whether it does everything that the different rollers do- in other words, can I use it like the soft roller for when I'm feeling particularly beaten up and just need some gentle treatment, but still use it for more significant myofascial sessions which come close to a Soft Tissue Therapy session? Or does it occupy its own place within a wider tool range, or is it simply an expensive version of something that I already own?

If nothing else, the box it came in makes quite a nice cat nest for a medium sized cat.


  1. Jess looks pleased with your purchase :-)

  2. Hi,
    I'm trying to decide on whether or not get the grid 2.0 or make my own roller out of PVC pipe which should be very hard since the regular black one is too soft for my back.
    Do you think it is worth the money ? any real difference from the black foam roller?

  3. Jack, to be honest, its not really worth the money, unless you want something that looks snazzy.
    If you go the PVC pipe direction, it might be an idea to wrap it in closed cell foam, like a camping mat. That'll do it.

    The Polystyrene black foam roller that we have at home is crazy stiff though, and only cost about £15. I'd say thats fully worth going for over and above both the PVC pipe and the Grid.