When I was training for my first marathon (I’m currently training for my second), I was increasing my peak mileage from 40-45 miles a week up to 55 miles a week and my muscles were getting pretty sore from the extra mileage and speed work. I started a daily foam rolling routine with my The Grid foam roller and started going to see a massage thearapist about every other week, which I think really helped me recover more quickly and I was able to comfortably run the marathon in my goal time without feeling too much pain, so something must have worked.
During one of my last sesssions, my massage therapist recommended that I check out the Trigger Point massage kits, saying that she heard from a colleague that they were the next best thing to getting a massage from a real person. She suggested that it might be worth it to spend the money on a kit and that it might be more helpful than a foam roller since I was pushing my body so hard. I ultimately decided to get the Trigger Point Performance Ultimate 6 Kit with a guidebook. Amazon actually has the best deal I’ve seen for the kit, running around $120 for the kit when it’s around $140 elsewhere. The one bummer about getting this kit from Amazon is that it doesn’t come with the DVD, but you can get the kit with the how-to DVD for around $150, if that’s something you really want. The big thing about the Trigger Point performance self massage products is that they’re higher in the middle than they are on the sides, unlike a foam roller, so you can really concentrate the pressure on the spots where you need it the most. Considering how expensive massage therapy can be, I thought the package was a good investment.
Here’s what came with my kit:
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The guidebook that came with the set isn’t in the photo, but it has lots of nice descriptions of how to massage different parts of your body. The whole kit came in a mesh bag which is really handy if you’re going to be traveling and you want to bring it along.
The Quadballer, as you might guess, is primarily designed to massage your quads. You can use it on your hamstrings as well, but I find it to be too low to the groud to get a good hamstring massage and I actually use my regular foam roller for my hamstrings. It works great for getting out soreness in the quads and is superb at really working the IT band. If I don’t really stretch and massage my IT band I get a pain on the outside of my knee (my massage therapist thinks it’s due to an imbalance between my abductors and adductors), and the Quadballer is amazing at helping me really get at the IT band to massage it out. It’s not a pleasant sensation, but I feel so much better when I’m done.
The Footballer is primarily used to massage your calves and is generally used on top of the Baller Block to make sure that you’re keeping your focal leg at the right angle/height. My calves have been pretty sore lately, so I’ve been using this one a lot. Here’s a lousy photo of me trying to demonstrate how to use the Footballer: