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The Swiss Army Knife of DIY Bodywork

A new product promises an upgrade on the old physical therapy standby.

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The Rollga is more than your typical foam roller.

Though most triathletes have likely leaned on the ubiquitous foam roller at some point in their ach-y tri-lives, a new product promises an upgrade on the old physical therapy standby.

Foam rollers are simple and awesome. The ever-present tool allows athletes to self-massage tight spots, stretch better and lay on the ground watching TV while still giving a satisfying impression of productivity. There have been different iterations of foam rollers (hard ones, soft ones, bumpy ones—even vibrating ones), but an idea spawned over cups of coffee at Starbucks seems to have hit the ideal intersection of simplicity and usefulness. Using rounded ridges and valleys resembling a lathed table leg, the Rollga provides a safe space for your spine while doing back rollouts, symmetric spots for rolling two legs at once (the sloped sides fit muscles’ contours far better than the Rollga’s flat cousins), and raised sections—about the radius of a tennis or lacrosse ball—to dig in deep.

We loved the versatility: We’ve tried hard balls for deep plantar fascia massage; we’ve tried super hard foam rollers that punish big muscles like hamstrings and glutes; we’ve tried the whole two-lacrosse-balls-in-a-sock thing for scapular and upper back work. The Rollga ticks all of those boxes and works unheralded spots like shins for running and forearm muscles that get surprisingly tense from swimming and riding.

With a regular foam roller, we usually had to roll up and down; rotate slightly, then up and down; rotate slightly again, and so on, just to hit every side of a muscle. Due to the Rollga’s deep valleys that cover more surface area at once, it massaged more thoroughly in the same amount of time. Getting a deep massage into achy shins (two at once!) was far less time consuming and far more effective.

While slightly more pricey than a regular foam roller, the Rollga still has the added value of replacing more than a few other physical therapy tools; if we could only have one self-massage product, this would be it.

$39.97; Rollga.com