Foam rolling – we all either love it or hate it! It’s one of those things that we know will help our tired runner’s limbs but, like stretching, it can often be overlooked. Amy Robson gets to grips with a new foam roller with a vibrating twist: Pulseroll Vibrating Foam Roller.
The benefits of rolling
Most of us are told that foam rolling should be part of our running routine, but does foam rolling actually have any benefits? The current consensus is yes, though sports science is still figuring out the particulars. What we do know about foam rolling is that it is an effective practice both pre- and post-exercise.
Pre-exercise foam rolling increases a user’s range of motion, which can allow them to perform exercise more effectively (and with less risk of injury from not warming up effectively). This is nice, especially if doing a strength-training session (or other forms of crosstraining), but most of us aren’t concerned about this. Runners are all about recovery so that we can get out on the road again and, for this, foam rollers really come in to their own.
Foam rollers have been shown in studies to decrease the impact of delayed muscle onset soreness (DOMS) alongside any physical performance drops linked to it. An increase of joint range of motion post-run helps prevent joint damage or muscle tightness from letting those running niggles creep in and muscle excitation (that twitching tightness) is significantly reduced by foam rolling too.
In fact, the reduction of muscle tightness is so potent after foam rolling that it can reduce muscle fatigue for up to three days after a run, in which time the muscles will be able to more effectively repair and recover.
All of this is gained from 20 minutes of foam rolling immediately post-exercise and a 20-minute routine daily afterwards (even on days when you don’t run).
What’s so good about Pulseroll?
I can easily think of at least five reasons why foam rolling is often avoided – it’s boring, it’s awkward, it’s time consuming, it’s not inclusive to all bodies, and (most importantly) it’s painful. I have personally never felt torture quite like putting a foam roller on my legs post-ultra and it’s not a feeling I relish.
However, the Pulseroll seems almost custom-made to tackle all of these issues, and it does so through adding one simple feature to foam rolling: vibration.
The Pulseroll Vibrating Foam Roller is a rechargeable vibrating foam roller that comes with a swanky little transport bag and its charger cable. A single charge lasts three hours, which is more than enough to keep you going for a few days.
I took mine camping with me over the weekend at the White Star Running Dorset Invader event and it lasted the entire weekend. I wasn’t the only one using it either. Many a keen runner decided to experiment with the Pulseroll and see what it could really do. None of them were disappointed by its performance, and some even vowed to purchase one there and then, purely because of the innovative inclusion of vibration.
The Pulseroll has four different vibrating features – starting off gently and ramping up to a setting so potent that, when placed on the ground, it bounces and jogs around the floor, eager for use.
The battery is a lithium-ion one and the settings deliver the following potency:
|Level One||1300 RPM||21 Hz|
|Level Two||2000 RPM||33 Hz|
|Level Three||1300 to 2700 RPM (Pulsating)||21 to 33 Hz|
|Level Four||3700 RPM||61 Hz|
Extensive research has gone in to the development of the roller’s engine and this roller is built to last.
Does vibration make a difference?
Some people might wonder if vibration really makes a difference to foam rolling and my answer would be, ‘Absolutely yes’.
Aside from the fact that vibration has been shown to help aid in muscle recovery, increase oxygen to the muscles, and reduce pain perception, the vibrations also work to tackle those foam rolling deterrents that we spoke of earlier.
It’s pretty hard to be bored when using the Pulseroll. The vibrations alone are a novelty (especially when rolling with friends), and the way that they travel through the body keeps the mind a bit more alert during use.
Whereas sweeping and jiggling around a muscle can be awkward on a conventional foam roller, the vibrations of the Pulseroll means that it’s much easier to target muscle groups without having to flounder too much. In many instances simply applying it to a muscle group can still convey benefits without having to work too hard to receive them.
Time-wise I’d still recommend using the Pulseroll for 20 minutes, but the feedback from the ultra and marathon runners that I shared this product with was that the Pulseroll seems to convey the same benefits of a conventional roller but in half the time. They simply didn’t feel the need to apply it for as long, which is a bonus if trying to fit rolling in wherever possible. 10 minutes is easier to find in the day than 20 minutes.
Some bodies also struggle with the typical prolonged sweeps that a foam roller demands and the weight baring that is expects from the user. Holding a plank for five minutes on one part of the body is not fun. But the Pulseroll administers its benefits from much less position-intensive postures – as the vibrations help do the work for you – making this roller much more user friendly for a wide variety of bodies.
But, perhaps the best benefit – this foam roller doesn’t feel anywhere near as torturous as conventional vibrators. On the contrary, it feels like an absolute dream to use. The vibrations both identify and yet distract the mind from any pains or aches that need to be worked on, and the sensation feels more akin to a particularly forgiving sports massage as opposed to those deep tissue ones that you dread. And, yet, those deep tissues are still being tended to and the results are legs that feel so light that you feel you could fly after use.
I personally have never felt my legs feel as replenished and limber then after using the Pulseroll and cannot emphasise enough how much of an asset it feels like after a long run.
Sure, this roller is expensive, but I can already tell it’s going to save me substantial money in terms of sports massages, recovery socks/tape/straps, and the other items we often panic buy when injured. In short, it pays for itself in terms of runner longevity and looking after our body.
Foam rolling is a drag, but the Pulseroll is a sheer delight. This is a product all its own and, having tested it among myself and my running cohorts, I now firmly believe that vibrating self-myofascial release has a solid place in the future of run recovery. So why wait? Get yourself a Pulseroll now, or try to get your hands on one to test. You’ll be buzzing after using it.
The Pulseroll Vibrating Foam Roller Plus in red, as reviewed here is available here: https://pulseroll.com/ref/RunDeep/, where you can also browse the rest of the Pulseroll range.
**This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase via the links on this page, Run Deep may receive a small commission**