ROLL Recovery R8 Plus Review – Built by Athletes for Athletes
First, some background. I’m a strength coach, and I spend a lot of time lifting, hiking, snowboarding, climbing, and biking. To say I’m tough on my body might be an understatement.
As any smart coach will tell you, you don’t actually get stronger in the gym – you get stronger when your body recovers from training. Prioritizing recovery with adequate sleep, stress management, solid nutrition, stretching, and myofascial (muscle) release is key to your athletic performance.
Okay, on to the review. There’s no shortage of foam rollers and self-massage products on the market. What makes the ROLL Recovery R8 Plus stand out?
ROLL Recovery massage tools are built by athletes for athletes, and the R8 Plus is an upgrade to the brand’s original R8 roller. They took feedback from runners, cyclists, and other athletes to produce a truly unique recovery tool.
The R8 Plus feels sturdy and well-built. Its components feel ergonomic in your hands and are easy to use. The spring-loaded system has an adjustable dial to control the amount of pressure placed on your muscles, so you can literally dial in the feel until it’s “just right” for you, and you can be gentler on sensitive areas or more aggressive on bigger muscles.
I like that the new roller is a single piece, compared to the original model, which was composed of several individual roller skate-looking pieces. The new roller is also rubber coated, making it more comfortable on bare skin than the previous model.
Because of its hand-held design, you can use the R8 Plus seated, standing, or from the floor, which makes it much more versatile than standard foam rollers.
Finally, the roller itself is interchangeable. You can purchase additional inserts in “super plush” for a gentler massage and “super deep” for a more aggressive effect, even mixing and matching the different inserts to customize the massage. This would be super helpful if you regularly need to work on your calf muscles, since one half of the roller touches your shin, you could use the plush insert on your shin side and the standard or super deep insert on the calf muscle side.
I found the R8 Plus to be particularly awesome on my quads/adductors after long bike rides. Because of its design, you get a compressive effect on the front and back of the thigh, and can roll the device up and down your leg to flush out your muscles post-ride.
The R8 Plus also feels great on my chronically tight calves, though I found the standard inserts to be a little aggressive over the shin (the instructions clearly tell you to avoid bony areas, but I’m a glutton for punishment). Perhaps the “super plush” insert would feel better, but I was unable to test that insert for this review.
Regardless, you can simply rotate the roller 90* to massage the sides of your calves instead of directly targeting the posterior calf. The flushing effect feels great post-hike or post-run.
The other area I really enjoyed using the R8 Plus was on my forearms, which are always tight from lifting weights and climbing. The compression feels amazing on your flexors and extensors, and I can see myself using the R8 as part of my climbing recovery from now on.
I was able to test another ROLL Recovery product, the R3 Orthopedic Foot Roller. According to ROLL, the R3 is “designed to target specific areas of the foot to stretch the plantar fascia and intrinsic foot muscles to reduce soreness from tired feet. The unique, non-symmetrical shape of the R3 was designed to focus pressure on the inner, middle and outer parts of the foot.”
You can tell just by looking at the R3 that it’s not like other foot rollers on the market. It is indeed asymmetrical, and the roller comes with a helpful guide explaining how to use the different sections of the R3 to target different areas of your foot.
I found the R3 was also effective for my calves, quads (if you really want to suffer), forearms, and triceps. It’s a nice tool to target smaller muscles, and because of its compact size, it’s something I can see myself traveling with in lieu of the lacrosse ball that usually hangs out in my carry-on.
Overall, the ROLL Recovery massage tools are well-built, durable, and designed with an active, athletic population in mind. If you abuse your body as much as I do, I highly recommend checking out ROLL’s R8 Plus and other tools.
Images courtesy of ROLL Recovery
Katie is a writer, strength and nutrition coach, and avid fan of all things outdoors. She climbs, snowboards, hikes, mountain bikes, and spends time in the mountains whenever she can.
When Katie is not outside, she helps skiers/riders and climbers build strength in the gym to more confidently tackle their next adventure.
Some of her favorite things are lifting heavy things, drinking craft beer, and hanging out with her pup, Gunner.