Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Stick vs. Foam Roller

This is one of those entries that have been a long time in the making, as I had to give both of these products much, much use before giving my full opinion of them. I am fortunate in that both of these items have been made available to me via my company gym.

First up is The Stick. It is about 1.5 feet long in the version that I've been using and kind of reminds me of a plastic rolling pin with the center part sectioned off like beads so that they can roll independently.

I like that I can roll out my muscles while lying down sitting, or perhaps even standing. It is just like rolling out dough. A moderate press is all you need to feel an effect. Go too hard and you'll just be hurting yourself. Sometimes, there is a chance that your skin can get a little pinched in between the sections. I also doesn't work too well right up against bone (i.e., the shin), but otherwise, my quads and hamstrings and calves love it after a good run!

Next up is the foam roller.

It is a styrofoam-type material and comes in different "densities" (imagine a light/porous styrofoam ball vs. a tightly-packed styrofoam box). This baby comes in various lengths, but I typically use a 3 ft one.

There are a variety of foam roller techniques to get a good roll-down, since you have to be on the floor, so this is a disadvantage. You need to be careful how much of your body weight you place while rolling out various parts of your leg, lest you over-press your muscles! And yes, you'll likely be on all-fours or something awkward like that as you try to shift your weight correctly.

However, I think using your body weight as you have to with the foam roller creates a much deeper massage than The Stick, and sometimes, you really do need that level of pressure.


All in all, I think both of these devices have a purpose and place in general muscle-relaxation for runners. If I had to purchase one myself, I would get The Stick beccause it is smaller, more compact, and easier to use. But I would definitely miss the foam roller if I no longer have access to one...


  1. I like the foam roller better. I use The Stick to get Teddy's toy out from under the bed! @_@

  2. Thanks for the information. I have not used either, and don't know when, but now I have more insight into them both. I can see how the foam roller might do a better job. Take care

  3. I have the foam roller, but use my rolling pin as a "stick".

    Actually, I've been lazy about using either one.

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