By Soji James, CPT, CSCS
Photo credit: Amazon
It packs many of the Trigger Point’s best features into a portable massage tool. Being handheld, you can control the intensity. The AccuGrip handles help you break up hard knots in tough-to-reach spots. It can target both large and small muscular areas.
There’s a slight learning curve in understanding how to use the stick correctly. I was used to either foam rolling or using massage guns, but once I got the hang of it, I loved it.
You can never have enough recovery tools. If you stay diligent with self-care practices, your body will stay healthy and fit. The Grid Stick is light, portable, and allows you to level up your recovery wherever you are.
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Chances are you don’t have a masseuse on speed dial that you call to your house after every workout. If you are looking to feel and move at your best, self-myofascial release is a good choice. Often referred to as foam rolling, it should be a non-negotiable component of your wellness routine. In this TriggerPoint Grid Stick review, I’ll explore how this device can help you with self-myofascial release.
When searching for ways to improve athletic performance and take your overall health to the next level, don’t ignore the low hanging fruit. These are the small or easy changes that require little effort but yield big results. Myofascial self-massage falls into this category. It provides you with a huge return on investment when it comes to the amount of time that you have to put in to feel the results. You might cringe with delight or scream in terror while doing it. Nevertheless, study after study has shown that “rolling out” has a ton of benefits. It can warm muscle tissue, promote short term increases in range of motion, improve performance during your workout, and enhance recovery after you’ve squeezed out your last rep.
Just what exactly is occurring in your body when you are going through this transformative self-massage? The truth is, we are still figuring out the exact machinations. But, we know that the “hurt so good feeling” that it provides is a game-changer.
The leading theories focus on the fascia, the web-like tissue that coats our muscles, nerves, and organs. This pervasive system essentially connects all other systems in the body together. It exists on multiple layers throughout each of our muscles and plays an integral role in helping to facilitate movement. When “adhesions” or “trigger points” form due to trauma, inflammation or inactivity, the tissue may bind to each other. This can cause a loss of elasticity and leave us with painful, taut bands of tissue. It restricts your movement capability tremendously. This leaves you feeling less like Simone Biles and more like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.
When activities tighten or shorten your muscles, it can cause a decrease in performance and increase your chance of injury. It’s also much harder to focus on your current workout when you are still suffering from your last one. This is where the self-myofascial release comes in. You may have heard in the past that the applied pressure from foam rolling helps to break apart “knots.” Now, more experts agree that the change is neuromuscular. These experts believe that when you roll out, you stimulate nerve receptors embedded in the muscles. This stimulation is more significant than any structural changes that are occurring. These receptors may communicate with the brain and the nervous system. Consequently, you may feel less pain while your muscles give the signal that it’s time to “go.” The truth to this “releasing effect” may lie somewhere in the middle of these opposing views.
No matter which framework you align with you probably will agree that this form of massage will make you feel like a brand new human. You could choose to go for myofascial release therapy if you can afford to hire a professional masseuse. But now you can practice this affordable version of self-care on your own. You probably see hard foam cylinders lining the corners of your gym. These aren’t the only tools that you can utilize in the fight to level up your mobility.
Sometimes rollers don’t provide the exact targeted relief or intensity that you are looking for. For example, LAX Star massage balls help you to target smaller and particular spots. They are dense, so you can manipulate tissue on a deeper level in some resilient areas such as your glutes and your upper back. But they are also small and aren’t built to cover large areas of tissue.
There are vibrating foam rollers and percussion massage guns like the Hypervolt percussion massager. This product applies pulses of concentrated pressure deep into your muscles for an enhanced experience. While effective, these two modalities can be much more expensive than traditional tools, with some coming in at around $600.
What if you want a myofascial release massage implement that is more affordable, yet effective and portable? Try massage sticks. In this densely populated niche, I love the Trigger Point Grid Stick.
This massage stick is light, and you can effortlessly toss it in a bag. This makes it easy to bring with you to the gym, a race or to sneak in some extra rolling at work. Your boss and coworkers might react in bewilderment if you pull out a foam roller and drop down to the floor under your work desk. Instead, you can discreetly rub out a knot with the Trigger Point Grid Stick. Thus, you’ll sidestep all of the weird office nicknames.
You can also use the Grid Stick to apply frictional force across the selected tissue at varying angles with minimal effort. By contrast, this task would require much more effort if you were to use a traditional roller. I’m a huge fan of the design. It gives you the ability to use almost every inch of it to get some relief. Acting as a pseudo thumb, the accuGrip handles allow you to target hard-to-reach places like your back and shoulders. Since you are using your upper body to control it, it’s much easier for you to regulate its intensity level. You may have struggled to navigate a traditional roller in the past because of strength or balance. Instead, use this handheld device to make things a little bit easier. Personally, I enjoy the ridges and prefer them over smoother massage sticks. With it, I can be a little more aggressive with self-myofascial release. It comes in two densities: regular and extra firm. Coming in at only $30, I would call the Triggerpoint GRID STK a cost-effective investment that will pay off big time in the mobility department and help you recover faster.