Foam Rollers are the bane of most athletes existence, however PulseRoll is trying to change that experience with the foam roller. Could you ever love a foam roller?
Pulseroll Review – A Vibrating Foam Roller
I hate my foam roller. It’s painful, unpleasant, unweildly and generally results in me pulling some very unattractive faces. I was at a cycle show recently and saw a sizeable stand with lots of people lying on the floor, and generally creating a bit of a commotion, so I went over to take a look.
The stand was unsurprisingly for PulseRoll, the sign kind of gave it away. Now I’ve been a big fan of using the vibration plate in the local gym after a work out for a while. Plus I have found when I’ve ended up with tight muscles across my shoulder the vibration plate is able to help release things, so I was certainly intrigued to see how the Pulseroll performed, and whether I could get a similar benefit from a vibrating roller at home.
Pulseroll is the brain child of Paul McCabe, who has been working to bring very and training product to market. The Pulseroll is the cumulation of four years of development, which seems a lot when you are thinking7 about a vibrating foam roller. Whilst a roller isn’t exactly cutting edge technology, the vibration units and batteries inside need to be able to survive years from abuse from everyone from a lithe gymnast to a hulking rugby player. Given that in testing Paul has actually driven over the largest PulseRoll in a car without impacting the internals, I’m pretty certain that this thing would survive a sumo- wrestler!
Pulseroll Review – Product Design
So as with all of these things, what’s in the box? We’ve the PulseRoll itself, power pack and adapters for US, Europe and the UK, information leaflet on using the rollers
Plus a handy little storage bag… which I’ve never used. I always find things like this from companies interesting. The Pulseroll has lived in the floor in the lounge since it arrived – not by the Zwift Bike, but we’ll come to that later.
Also if red isn’t your colour, the larger Pulseroll – the pulse roll original if you will, is also available on black.
One top of the Pulseroll is a central button which activates the four vibration settings, lower frequencies are better for the larger/heavier muscles groups, and high frequency for the smaller muscles
Around the outside of the button are four LEDS which light up sequentially across vibration levels 1-4. Underneath the power button is the charge power port
Pulseroll Review – A Vibrating Foam Roller – Specification
- Weight: 1kg
- Battery – 2200 mAh – up to three hours of vibration (Lithium Ion)
- Er there isn’t really much more of a spec here!!
Pulseroll Review – Manual
There isnt really much of a manual needed for the Pulseroll, however Pulseroll do have an article and series of videos about getting the most out of their roller here
Pulseroll Review – Using the roller
Honestly when you open the Pulseroll and have a look at it for the first time, it does look rather ordinary, and from my perspective, as I’m a precious little flower, surprisingly firm!
Now in my opinion, the Pulseroll is not a magic wonder device. In terms of straightforward foam rolling, it think it would be difficult to quantify how much, if at all for a benefit you get from normal “muscle flossing’
HOWEVER I don’t really feel that is where the PulseRoll strength is. The reason I’ve been using the Pulseroll for a couple of months now is that is significantly reduces the effort you need, and increases the duration that you’ll be using the roller. The reason is that you can use the Pulseroll passively. Ie. Do your regular roll, going over your quads, calves and glutes
…Then magic comes in! As we normally tense a little during foam rolling, simply due to discomfort, there is a school of thought that the rolling isn’t as effective as has been claimed in the past. A PERFECT example of this is rolling or “flossing” the ITB, instead concentration should be paid to TFL and glute medius, both of which are a little hard to get to relax. By using the vibration function of the Pulseroll you can sit in front of the TV, and have the vibration aid in the muscle relaxing, whilst you do what ever you want – New Horizon Zero Dawn in my case!
Pulseroll Review – PulseRoll Peanut
Pulseroll also has another device in their armoury – the Pulseroll peanut. Now the main Pulseroll is very reasonable to use, but I’ve always felt that it doesn’t really GET deep into my TFL to address my ITB. This is where the Peanut REALLY excels
Given the smaller size, the Pulseroll peanut is able to get into tighter spaces, to give a difference use case. Running my hip directly between the two halves gives a much greater sense of ‘hitting the spot’ with regard to TFL.
The Pulseroll Peanut has the same charger as the larger unit, reducing the need to carry extra bits, and the same 3 hour battery life.
One thing that the little Pulseroll has that the larger brother doesn’t have, is the father prestigious Reddit Design Award, given the size, shape and portability of the smaller unit
Pulseroll Review – What is the Science?
There has been a lot of work done into vibration and muscle performance. Unfortunately for a product such as the Pulseroll none this research has been using focused muscle vibration, instead looking at vibration plates and whole body vibration.
However the evidence does support the use of vibration to benefit muscle pain, perceived pain (a form of measurement which I feel has the same level of scientific rigour as taste tests, but still!) and muscle relaxation
Stochastic resonance whole body vibration increases perceived muscle relaxation but not cardiovascular activation: A randomized controlled trial
Stochastic resonance whole body vibration reduces musculoskeletal pain: A randomized controlled trial
If we take focused muscle vibration as produced by the Pulseroll as similar in muscle effect to vibration plate use, then we can can extrapolate from the research a few conclusions.
– A minimum of 4-8 weeks vibration is is required to see benefit –
– Approximately 10 minutes a day is adequate to provide benefit – with PulseRoll, given that only a single muscle group can be stimulated at a time, you are going to be looking at 10mins per group. So perhaps select a Netflix vibration tv series?
– there is no STATICAL evidence to conclude vibration is better than light exercise for reducing muscle soreness. So can be used as an additional recovery option – especially like me in front of the tv 😂
– one factor which has NOT been supported is the removal of waste products. I have not come across and study which has managed to demonstrate improved removal of lactic acid from muscles. Whilst the concept that vibration can help ‘flush’ a muscle doesn’t really seem to be credible to me, this isn’t an area that has been studied, and would clearly be an area ripe for investigation
Pulseroll Review – Conclusion
So does the Pulseroll offer the same benefits as a sports massage. Probably not. Is it a good adjuct to your warm down routine? Definately
I do think that both products have a home in my post activity cool down regieme. The bigger unit basically works as a more effective foam roller, but it is the Peanut, that I have personally seen the biggest benefit from.
As already discussed the science is equivocal, and is also focused on