TriggerPoint-GRID-Roller

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

 - An In Depth Review

In recent years, foam rolling has become a popular practice with athletes across many different sports, health and fitness professionals, and regular gym-goers.

Foam rolling is also held in high regard within the strength and conditioning industry. Coaches and athletes find that spending time on the foam roller is excellent for boosting the efficiency of training, preparing for competition, and for optimizing post-exercise recovery.

In this article, we are going to take a look at what many people consider to be the Industry leading product in terms of foam rollers, The TriggerPoint GRID Roller.

The founder of TriggerPoint, Cassidy Phillips, was a lifelong athlete, Hollywood stuntman and self-proclaimed adrenaline junky. Phillips was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2001, after suffering from severe, life-changing pain. Having been told he would never compete in endurance events again and to stop training immediately, he took it upon himself to seek out alternative treatments. Using the principles of Trigger Point Therapy, Phillips developed a unique range of tools that helped him return to normal function and compete at a high level once more.

One of the original tools, which has continued to be the flagship product for nigh on twenty years, is the GRID Roller.

  • Multi-density EVA foam exterior over a rigid, hollow core to withstand repeated use while maintaining its shape
  • The unique patterned design mimics a massage therapist's hands, allowing you to self-massage wherever you go
  • The GRID is ideal for beginner to advanced foam rollers and suitable for non-athletes and athletes alike
  • Lightweight, portable and compact

I warm up using a GRID roller, I cool down with a GRID roller, and I use a GRID roller when I feel I need to "loosen up" my range of motion at my hips, knees, and ankles when they get a bit stiff.

The Science of Foam Rolling

There have been several studies in Foam Rolling since its overwhelming acceptance by the sporting communities. The majority of the research appears to study the benefits of using a roller, as opposed to how and why they work.  In terms of “how and why” the literature suggests that,

“The underlying mechanisms, however, remain elusive”

Wiewelhove et al 2019 [1]

Within the health and fitness industry, it is widely regarded that a combination of self-myofascial release and trigger point release could be the mechanisms at play. It is suggested on the TriggerPoint website that.

“Fascia is connective tissue all throughout the body surrounding every muscle, organ, and nerve. When fascia becomes dehydrated—from either a lack of movement or repetitive overload—the fibers get closer and literally “stick” together forming a knot or adhesion.”

"Foam Rolling compresses and stretches the tissue, which pushes out old water and makes way for fresh, new water. This creates space between the fibers and breaks up knots in the muscle.”

In terms of the benefits of Foam Rolling, I think it is best summed up by the following two statements:

“In conclusion, an acute warm-up bout of foam rolling in addition to a dynamic warm-up improved performance testing results when compared to an acute dynamic warm-up without foam rolling. In terms of the testing battery, the inclusion of foam rolling improved power, agility, strength, and speed when compared to the absence of foam rolling.”

Peacock et al 2014 [2]

 And

“The results of this review suggest that the use of SMFR, particularly with a foam roller, significantly increases joint ROM with no concomitant detrimental effects on neuromuscular force production”

Kalichman et al 2017 [3]

As a coach and athlete, I use foam rolling for exactly the results the previous two research papers endorse. I warm up using a GRID roller, I cool down with a GRID roller, and I use a GRID roller when I feel I need to "loosen up" my range of motion at my hips, knees, and ankles when they get a bit stiff.

My foam rollers of choice are from the TriggerPoint GRID range. Let’s take a look at why you may, or may not choose these rollers over the other choices on the market.

TriggerPoint GRID 

Quality and Durability 

Size and Weight

Design

Warranty, Returns & Exchange

Price

Quality and Durability  4.5/5

The GRID looks as if it belongs in the most professional of fitness environments, whilst some of the basic rollers on the market look as if they belong in the shallow end of a swimming pool.

As with any product that is considered to be an industry leader, I have very high expectations of the GRID rollers.

While most foam rollers are simply cylinders of high-density foam, the GRID is made up of a rigid core with a multi-density EVA foam exterior. There is simply no comparison when you place the basic roller and the GRID side by side. The GRID looks as if it belongs in the most professional of fitness environments, whilst some of the basic rollers on the market look as if they belong in the shallow end of a swimming pool.

When you first pick up the GRID it becomes obvious that it is very well put together and built to last.

I genuinely have two GRID rollers in my gym that have to be five years old, having endured many hours of use and abuse. They are still going strong and apart from the odd dent here and there, do not look too dissimilar to the newer ones on the rack next to them.

The EVA foam is non-slip and has anti-bacterial properties, which is fantastic for hygiene conscious trainers.

I have given a score of 4.5/5 for Quality and Durability as, although I have never experienced a problem, I am aware that a few people have experienced the inner core cracking on very rare occasions.

Size and Weight 4.5/5

The original GRID roller, which, measures 33cm and weighs in at 0.68kg, is smaller than a lot of the full-length rollers on the market. The compact size is fantastic for the targeted rolling of individual areas of the body, however, it is not appropriate for rolling both legs at the same time or working the length of the back.

The GRID 2.0 is 66cm in length and weighs 1.4kg. The added length enables you to work the larger areas that the GRID will not. I love to use the 2.0 for “warming up” both sets of quads at the same and I feel very well supported when I’m rolling the muscles in my upper back on the longer roller.

The reason I have scored the TriggerPoint Grid Rollers 4.5/5, is simply because they are heavier than conventional foam rollers.

One thing I do like about the GRID design is the hollow core. When I am traveling I often take my GRID roller in my bag.  I pack my fragile items within the roller, packed out with a rolled-up t-shirt. This offers great protection and takes up less space in my bag than a conventional foam roller.

Design 5/5

Without a doubt the best and most versatile foam rollers on the market.

TriggerPoint realized very early on in the design of the GRID range of rollers that it is impossible to develop one single foam roller which does everything an athlete requires.

They have covered all bases with the range on offer. We have already discussed the GRID and GRID 2.0 and their obvious benefits.

Some people, particularly those who are new to foam rolling may find the GRID and GRID 2.0 a bit too firm and painful. TriggerPoint offers the CORE, which is a slightly more forgiving version and easier to start your foam rolling journey on.

For seasoned foam rollers, heavily muscled athletes, or people who are just looking to get even deeper into the muscle tissue, the GRID X has twice the "firmness" of the GRID and GRID 2.0. Trust me it gets deep!

There is even the GRID MINI which is perfect for rolling the calves, shins, and other smaller muscle groups.

At the top of the range, TriggerPoint offers the GRID VIBE PLUS. The slightly smaller VIBE PLUS is a cordless roller that features 4 vibration frequencies with varying intensities. The combination of foam rolling with vibration massage needs to be experienced to be understood. I love using the VIBE PLUS after a hard day's hillwalking, just to take the edge off of tired legs.

Warranty, Returns & Exchange 5/5

TriggerPoint offers a returns policy on all products purchased, within 30 days of the original purchase date.

They also offer a one year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.

I have never received such a comprehensive package when buying cheaper rollers.

Price 4/5

If you are choosing to buy a TriggerPoint GRID, you are choosing not only to buy into a brand with 20 years of experience but also to buy into the highest possible levels of quality and design. When you combine this with a comprehensive and industry-leading warranty, for me, they are worth every cent.

Trigger Point Roller Info

TriggerPoint rollers are not cheap.

I mean that in two ways.

They are not cheap to buy. They are also not a cheaply designed or built product.

When it comes to health and fitness products, you are sometimes paying high prices for a name or because the brand has several high profile sponsored athletes whose salaries need to be paid.

Sometimes you are paying higher prices because the product is significantly superior to the rest of the market. I believe this is the case for the TriggerPoint range.

  • GRID $49.99
  • GRID X $59.99
  • GRID 2.0 $89.99
  • GRID VIBE PLUS $99.99

Do Not Buy The TriggerPoint GRID Roller if…

trigger-point-training

1. You expect all of your foam-rolling needs to be met straight out of the box.

Simply paying the premium price for a TriggerPoint GRID is not going to ensure you know exactly how to safely and effectively use the foam roller. If you are an absolute novice to foam rolling and/or you’re not sure if foam rolling is for you, I would suggest you initially invest the cash into some time with an instructor who can teach you the basic techniques and ensure you will not harm yourself. The TriggerPoint GRID does not come with a comprehensive instructional guide and would be better suited to someone who has at least a basic knowledge of foam rolling techniques.

2. If the price is a defining factor.

If you simply cannot justify the cost of a TriggerPoint GRID at this time, or perhaps you need a cheaper alternative to take your first step into foam rolling, why not consider the following options.

I would highly recommend avoiding buying the absolute cheapest foam rollers on Amazon or eBay. These will lose their shape and become ineffective in a very short time.

Gym Direct Foam Roller $45.00

BloodyRippa  Medium Density Eva Foam Roller $31.95

OzStock range of rollers from $33.99

TriggerPoint GRID

Summary

I guess the best way for me to further emphasize my thoughts on the TriggerPoint GRID rollers is this.

I’ve been teaching foam rolling techniques since 2017. I used TriggerPoint GRID rollers with my individual clients. When I decided to teach a foam rolling class in 2018, I did not hesitate to purchase 12 GRID rollers for my members to use.

I have a rack of TriggerPoint GRID rollers at the gym and I even have a GRID 2.0 and a GRID VIBE PLUS next to the sofa in my living room.

Call me a TriggerPoint fanboy if you must… But I’m not swapping them for anything!


References

  • Wiewelhove T, Döweling A, Schneider C, Hottenrott L, Meyer T, Kellmann M, Pfeiffer M and FerrautiA(2019) A meta-analysis of the effects of foam rolling on performance and recovery. Front. Physiol.10:376. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00376
  • Peacock CA, Krein DD, Silver TA, Sanders GJ, VON Carlowitz KA. An Acute Bout of Self-Myofascial Release in the Form of Foam Rolling Improves Performance Testing. Int J Exerc Sci. 2014;7(3):202-211. Published 2014 Jul 1.
  • Kalichman, L., & Ben David, C. (2017). Effect of self-myofascial release on myofascial pain, muscle flexibility, and strength: A narrative review. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 21(2), 446–451. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.11.006

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