I’m definitely not the most conscientious person when it comes to taking care of my body post-run. I try to get in a bit of leg stretching, and have done a bit of muscle rolling when I remember (or feel particularly sore). I’ve been a bit more motivated to do this lately since I received the Muscle Kneader from Foam Motion Fitness – it is the multi-tool of the self-massage/foam roller world!
The idea behind this product is that it is not only a foam roller, and not only a “stick” type roller, and not only a trigger point tool… its all 3! The Muscle Kneader consists of a PVC type rigid tube with a foam roller mounted on it between 2 soft handles. The foam roller part can be removed and used on its own on the floor surface with your body weight to roll out muscles. It can also be used on the plastic tube to foam roll by hand while sitting or standing. The rigid plastic tube can be used when you need a harder surface to really punish help your muscles recover! Finally the ends of the handle grips can be used to pinpoint specific trigger point areas and work out knots in the muscle. The design of the Muscle Kneader also makes it useful to assist with lots of active stretching and even strength building exercises.
The Muscle Kneader came with a great fold-out card that illustrates and describes a number of stretches and exercises that can be done using the roller. Beyond this you can always find tons of suggestions for foam rolling techniques online and especially on youtube. The package also included a CD with a short video describing how the Muscle Kneader came to be, and how it can be used. I would suggest doing a bit of reading on how to effectively and safely build self massage and foam rolling into your recovery program based on your specific activities and areas of pain.
I found that the Muscle Kneader’s strength was definitely in its use as a foam roller. What I really liked about it was that it allowed me to get the benefits of foam rolling, without having to be rolling around on the floor. I could roll my leg muscles while sitting on the couch or standing up. When I wanted to use more of a normal foam rolling technique on the floor, the Muscle Kneader worked great for that as well. The soft but firm foam didn’t collapse under body weight and was just big enough to cover the leg muscles I typically roll. It was very easy to remove and install the roller on the plastic tube and the handles secured it in place even after multiple removals. I would suggest being careful when reinstalling the roller to the tube so that you don’t push the glued on felt liner out of the tube, but with normal care the Muscle Kneader seemed to be very durable and well manufactured.
If you’re looking for a great foam roller, that gives you some other massage/stretching/workout options as well, I would definitely suggest the Muscle Kneader. Check it out at foammotionfitness.com