You know me. I’m a sucker for all things mobility, including tools to help improve it. Hell, I even wrote an entire blog article called “Top 5 Mobility Tools Everyone Should Own.” This list consists of simple, effective, and cheap items that can help you with range of motion and mobility.
The other thing about me is, I hate “gimmicks.” I hate being scammed, or when someone is trying to sell some garbage item that makes lofty claims without delivering results. Which is why my go-to mobility tools are pretty much stuff you can get at your local hardware store or Target. So when I first saw someone using a vibrating foam roller at the gym, I rolled my eyes as I continued to dig into my body using nothing but a kettle bell and 4″ PVC pipe.
I recently connected with the owner and founder of Kingsfield Fitness, David Parrottino. David started his online health and wellness business and is committed to helping people live pain a free life. I really enjoyed his message about being holistic in the approach to fitness as a whole.
As it turns out, David and I share the same passion for mobility. Kingsfield Fitness’ featured product is a 4-speed, vibrating foam roller. I promised to test it out and give it an honest review. Boy was I surprised! This thing is a game changer when it comes to muscle tissue quality, mobility, and recovery.
Purchasing, Shipping, and Packaging
Most vibrating foam rollers are WAY over priced, as they rely on big names backing the product. These rollers usually run upwards of $200. Ouch! Kingsfield’s vibrating foam roller is reasonably priced at $100 on their website.
Ordering was a breeze. Shipping took a couple of days, as promised. When it arrived at my doorstep, it was beautifully packaged with their signature Kingsfield crown logo on the box. A nice touch. Inside the box was easy to follow instructions, best practices on how to care for the roller, and how to make the lithium battery last as long as possible. I followed the instructions and charged the foam roller for 3+ hours before use.
Using the Foam Roller
Putting this bad boy to use was just like any other foam roller, but better. The foam is dense enough to relax the muscles, but not so dense that it causes pain. The roller has 4 speeds. I am still pinpointing which speed work best for different muscle groups based on the soreness I am feeling, but I tend to gravitate towards a 2 or 3. I like to start off with a 1, just to feel it out a little and warm up whatever muscle I am about to roll. Then crank it up based on what feels right.
This thing is badass! With regular foam rollers, I need to put more effort into making sure I am digging into the right spot. With the vibrating feature, it basically does the subtle movements for you. For those who are familiar with foam rolling, you know that just a millimeter in either direction can make a huge difference in how effective your rolling session can be. This takes concentration, precision, and sometimes physical effort if you are supporting your bodyweight.
With the vibrating feature, the subtle vibration hits all of those spots surrounding the target area and really helps relax the muscles. This is why I prefer the lower settings, because the vibration is a little less and I can control exactly where I place my muscles on the roller. With the 4th speed, it feels like it can get a little wild on me, making it less effective.
I have used it on my lats, chest, shoulders, hips, glutes, IT band, and quads. With traditional foam rollers, I have always struggled with my calves and hamstrings. I have no problem hitting these two areas with the vibrating foam roller. This is for two reasons.
First, my calves are notoriously tight and it is often painful to foam roll them. It also takes some focus in order to hit certain spots on my calves. I find that I will get bored easily while I foam roll my calves and end up just starting a conversation with someone around me or taking out my phone and screwing around on Instagram.
With the vibrating feature, it’s easier to stay engaged with what I am doing on my calves. Plus, it doesn’t hurt as much because the vibration desensitizes the pressure which makes it much more bearable. I’ve noticed my calves are significantly more loose lately. My dorsi flexion is also greater in just two weeks of using it. Standby for some squat PR’s!
Second, foam rolling hamstrings require you to support your body with your arms. This can be tiring, and admittedly, I get lazy with this. With the vibrating feature, I can simply turn it on and sit on it. The vibration naturally moves my hamstrings on top of the foam roller and I can feel my muscles loosening up. I have noticed an immediate improvement in my ability to reach down and touch my toes!
The battery life is well over 3 hours, sometimes closer to 4 hours. It also comes pre-set with an automatic shut off feature after 10 minutes of use. At first, I wasn’t too sure about this feature. After using it for a while I have grown to love it for two reasons.
First, I have a tendency to overdo it on my foam rolling sessions. I spend WAY too long on that dang thing, usually getting caught up in the moment of how great it feels. We should only be spending a couple of minutes on the foam roller for each body part at a time. So this feature keeps me in tune with how long I have been on the dang thing. This is something that I need and I know many people have fallen victim too!
Second, if you are traveling with this roller and it is in your gym bag or luggage on an airplane/bus. If you accidentally turn it on, it will automatically shut off after 10 minutes. This can be a life saver in case that happens. Awesome feature!
Legit Science Behind the Vibrating Feature
Over the years there have been multiple studies backing the benefits of vibration therapy and human performance. Nearly every study that I came across showed a significant increase in blood flow and range of motion in athletes who used a vibrating foam roller over a traditional foam roller. Research on the effects of the vibrating foam roller have been muddled when it comes recovery. Some studies conclude that it helps, some say that it makes no difference.
After extensively researching this topic, here is a summary of what I have found:
Using a traditional foam roller can help target trigger points in the body, which are small areas of tightly contracted tissue in the fascia. The use of a foam roller helps restore the length in the muscle, but only to a certain degree. The vibrating feature adds a neurological component to foam rolling, by stimulating the brain as it lengthens and softens your muscles. In order to achieve a better mind-body connection you need a source of vibration.
Studies have shown that adding the vibration to foam rolling improves range of motion by up to 40%, compared to 18% with a traditional foam roller.
Considerations for Use
I like to use a blend of research and common sense when it comes to deciding what works and what doesn’t. When I use the vibrating foam roller, I can feel my muscles relax as I roll them out. “Muscle Guarding” is when we protect our muscles from pain when they are massaged or stretched. Doing so lessens the effect that the foam rolling or massage has on loosening up the muscles. I don’t “muscle guard” as much when the foam roller is vibrating. This allows me to fully relax my body as I dig in to tender spots.
When I foam roll with a traditional foam roller, I tend to overdo it. I want to dig in as hard as possible and I can get a little carried away. With the vibration feature, it’s a more smooth and natural way to massage the area. The 10 minute automatic shut off also helps keep the me in check as far as the duration of each foam rolling session. This allows me to foam roll every day and I have already noticed my body feels more loose because I am doing it more often, with less intensity.
This is an amazing product and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to increase range of motion, improve recovery time, and increase blood flow to your body. I use this before and after my workouts. I also use it once more right before bed.
Pre-workout, I use it for 5-10 minutes to get blood flow to the areas that need it and prime my system for exercise. Post-workout, I use it to massage out any areas that stiffened up during exercise. Before bed, I use it to loosen up my muscles so that I can increase range of motion before my static stretching routine. This helps relax my body and mind to get a good nights sleep.
I have a hook up code for you as well. What are you waiting for? Go to kingsfieldfitness.com and use “ironcrew” at check out for 10% off your 4-speed Kingsfield Fitness Vibrating Foam Roller!
If you like fresh single origin coffee, remember to use “ironcrew” discount code at check out for 10% off Rubel Roasting Coffee. Go to rubelroasting.com/coffee to order!
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