What’s In My Bag: The Grid Foam Roller

You wake up at Seatac, SFO, LAX.  You wake up at O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI.  Pacific, Mountain, Central. Lose an hour, gain an hour.  This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.  You wake up at Air Harbor International.  If you wake up at a different time, in a difference place, could you wake up as a different person?

Probably not if you’re moving like shit.

The irony of traveling is that the further you move, the less well you move.  Spending our time crammed into the seats of trains, planes, and automobiles isn’t the preferred position of your body, but it’s a reality of modern life.  We have greater geographic mobility than we ever have before, but the sitting associated with travel might make it harder to move when we get there!

During a two week stretch from the end of February into March, I traveled more than I ever have before.  First skiing in New Jersey, then down the Jersey Shore to present at a conference.  A day in NYC then off to Newport, Rhode Island for my second presentation.  Back in NYC, then a weekend in Indianapolis to attend PRI’s Postural Respiration course.  Several days to recover, and a last presentation at LIU Post followed by a trip to Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

It’s minimalist travel compared to the red-eye regulars, but something helped me along the way.  It was this guy:



Using a foam roller is pretty in right now, and for good reason; they can help us feel better.  According to the team at Strength And Conditioning Research, there are several practical applications, which include:

For pre-workout

Athletes could try foam rolling pre-workout to improve joint range-of-motion (ROM) without the risk of reducing neuromuscular performance in either high-force-low-velocity or high-velocity-low-force muscular actions, as can occur with static stretching.

For short-term recovery

Athletes could try foam rolling post-workout or post-competition to reduce the deterioration in countermovement jump performance in order to improve their ability to perform again more quickly.

For long-term recovery

Athletes could try foam rolling post-workout or post-competition to reduce muscle soreness in order to improve their ability to train again more frequently.

For health

Foam rolling may acutely reduce arterial stiffness, improve arterial function and improve vascular endothelial function. These findings may indicate that foam rolling is beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Bottom line?  This can help you feel better. After years of foam rolling on a traditional solid black roller, I realized that it’s probably the last thing you want to have to pack when traveling.  When I thought to present a Grid to my girlfriend’s sister for Christmas, I didn’t hesitate to pick up one of my own.  The big difference for in the Grid, according to Trigger Point Performance, is this:

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.34.45 AM

The TP Grid Foam Roller is laid out with three distinct sections that can recreate the sensations of the hands of the loved ones that you miss.  Doesn’t that sound like some creepy shit?!

The low and flat section is like a palm, the tubular section is like the fingers, while the high and firm section recreates the fingertips. Like all foam rollers, the Grid is no replacement for human hands, and in reality the differences along the surface are negligible.  That being said, it is pretty nice to find a specific area that may help you work on tense or tender areas.  It’s quite cute, but it’s not the real reason why I like the Grid.

The Grid is 5″ x 13″, close in size to most foam rollers, but the biggest advantage is something that the other rollers don’t have: It’s hollow.


A roller being hollow doesn’t sound like a big deal, right?  That is, until you realize that you’re saving a ton of space!  The volume of that empty space in the middle, which you could calculate (V=π x r^2 x h) or you could use that extra space to pack all of your undergarments like me!  Sandwiched between jeans and dress shoes and stuffed with socks, this sucker takes up minimal room and lets us maximize our packing while still taking care of what we need!


The only foreseeable downside I can see to this is that you take it into the gym full loaded up with socks and boxers, and S.P.E.W. them across the gym while rolling.  There are worse things that can happen, and I’m sure that some would gladly take the freedom of a sock.*  I’ll be honest, I also imagined some programs having a large grooved cylinder going through screening at the airports, but not an issue was to be seen!

The Grid serves its purpose as a foam roller quite well, although I’ll note that it feels a noticeably firmer than a standard black roller, and doesn’t appear to have the same potential to deteriorate, as there’s a hard plastic pipe inside.  The differences in texture may work well for those who want the extra opportunity, but it’s not a replacement for human hands.  If you’re a traveler, however, we’ve found the roller for you.  When filled with clothes this roller takes up barely any space, and can help you take care of yourself during those trips of relaxation or adventure.

Check one out, compare them to your normal roller, and if you’re snagging one for your own use, get them HERE.

EDIT: Perhaps you’re thinking, Oh, fascinating, let me grab one! My suggestion would be do not buy black.  Why?  It’s rather simple:  In most gyms, all of the foam rollers are black.  They look sleek, and importantly for them, and appear to hold up better.  A non black roller (pink, orange, green, camouflage) doesn’t blend in, is more obviously yours, and is less likely to disappear from you.

For me, using a bright pink foam roller in a pretty meatheady gym when I’m not at MFF essentially ensures that it will never be stolen from me.  Plus, it’s hard to not smile when your foam roller is festive.

*If you get that reference, you’re awesome.  Come say hello HERE.


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