How would you like a daily living room massage to support your running adventures?
Well unless you live with someone that has jedi master massage skills, this is likely not happenin’. For everyone else, Trigger Point Performance Therapy has a synergistic team of self-massage products that are described to be able to provide similar dream-like support.
With over 12 weeks of massage support with the Trigger Point Ultimate 6 Kit (with book and DVD), I want share my impressions of the team.
But first, who is Trigger Point Performance Therapy?
Trigger Point is a company based in the TALON region, with headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Company founder and passionate fitness enthusiast, Cassidy Phillips, created the foundation for the company while deep in his own search to relieve his own fibromyalgia discomfort. Cassidy found positive results with trigger point therapy but found it challenging to work on himself.
After finding a material that was firm, yet had a bit of give once pressure was applied, the Trigger Point products were born.
The Massage Team
The Ultimate 6 Kit contains the three main massage tools, a supporting foam block, 17-page spiral bound runners massage guide book, and a how-to/follow-along DVD. A handy little mesh bag can carry it all.
Let’s meet the team!
TP Massage Ball
Don’t let it’s small size fool ya, the Massage Ball is a hugely useful mobility tool. Its tennis ball size can provide focused massage work all over that body. It is also the tool that will likely produce the most intense feedback and strangest facial expressions as it works to loosen up those tight areas.
Some common uses for runners:
- Piriformis – That pain in the butt area.
- Psoas – Outer areas of the stomach between the belly button and hip bone.
The Footballer is designed to work out the kinks in the soleus (lower calf) area of the lower leg which helps restore the natural range of motion of the foot and ankle. The six inch roller is designed to work with the foam Baller Block which provides the angle and clearance to really focus in on this region of the leg.
The Footballer could also be used to massage/stretch the bottom of the feet while standing.
Unless you have teeny tiny calves/legs, you will not be able to massage the upper calf with the Footballer.
The Quadballer is an 11 inch roller that can put a wide range of massage pressure throughout your quad region.
This tool requires the most body coordination, similar to the movement required if using a foam roller.
If wishing to massage the hamstrings you need to get a bit creative such as placing the Quadballer on a coffee table and sitting on it as your lower leg dangles off the edge. I read this in a comment on the Trigger Point blog and it worked moderately well for me. I still prefer kneading the relaxed (unloaded) muscles using my hands.
The Ultimate 6 for Runners Guidebook
This handy little 17 page guidebook provides how-to instructions to massage what Trigger Point define as the six important areas of the runner’s body. The guide focuses on the soleus, quadriceps, IT band, psoas, piriformis, and pectorals. Detailed, easy-to-follow instructions and pics are included to clearly highlight the what and the how for the six areas.
Ultimate 6 DVD
The DVD contains a 15 minute video version of The Utimate 6 for Runners Guidebook and a 30 minute follow-along class.
My Trigger Point U6 Experience
The above fairly accurately describes my experience so far. If you need a bit more translation, keep reading! 🙂
The Trigger Point U6 products increase the breadth and depth of the foam roller massage experience. These massage tools simply allow a deeper, more focused massage experience and may just turn a tough, callused man into a sensitive, whimpering child…if just for a little while.
A tool is only useful if you know how to use it.
Fortunately, the Ultimate 6 for Runners Guidebook delivers. It is a great general maintenance instructional guide made from high quality heavy weighted paper. It was quite useful to have next to me when performing the exercises the first couple of times. After that, it is less useful since I pretty much have a routine rollin’.
The Footballer and the foam Baller Block were easy to use. Some areas around my soleus region are t-e-n-d-e-r. My feet/ankles always feel more springy when walking around the house after using the massage tool.
The Quadballer provided a nice deep massage throughout my quad region. I often find tender spots that I will spend a bit of extra time visiting. Over time, I noticed those hot spots reduced or went away.
You could perform both the Footballer and Quadballer massage movements with a foam roller but the massage is not nearly as deep. Everyone has various preferences/tolerances for this. If I had completely trashed my legs I would prefer the gentler foam roller but under normal happy-leg conditions, I prefer the depth focused massage work of the TP products.
The TP Massage Ball is the most versatile tool of the kit and my favorite. Besides doing a solid job massaging the periformis/gluteus region, soleus, and chest area, I have used it on various areas around the knee and all over the hips/waist/bumper area. Everywhere and anywhere I want to hit a very localized area – BAM!, the Massage Ball brings it!
The use of this little guy along with a few Mobility WODs had an immediate impact in improved functioning of my left leg/knee which I had messed up earlier in 2010. What did I notice?
- Eliminated creaky left hip joint – When I would rotate my left leg in a circular, hurdles-like motion, my hip joint would feel twingy/sticky…or arthritic. I thought I may have to live with this for the rest of my life. No longer! This was huge for me.
- Improved external rotation of left leg – While sitting on the ground, legs straight. Both legs now have the same external range of motion. My left leg used to stop earlier than the right leg. The left leg still feels tighter than the right at full rotation so I still have some work to do. I have also received similar results with a skilled massage therapist.
- Improved left leg alignment when running – I have been observing my running form a lot and had noticed my left femur would track inwards some with each stride…which I feel led to my tender knee. The very first trail run after the Massage Ball / Mobility WOD work, I noticed my left leg was moving in a more vertical range of motion, similar to my right leg. And guess what? My left knee was happy (no discomfort).
After the massage dust has settled, a full glass of water enjoyed, my body feels less tight and restricted. To me, that is a good thing.
Close to bomb proof – I thought it is also worth mentioning that the products seem very high quality and designed to last…unless you take a razor blade to the fabric.
I have watched The Ultimate 6 DVD but it is not something that I have continued to use. The two video segments (how-to and follow along routine) are well produced but the rockstar Guidebook clearly explains it all for me. I could have done without the DVD.
The Trigger Point Ultimate 6 Kit provides a conveniently accessible and portable set of massage tools that includes instructional guidance to support us – the runner. The ability to toss it in your suitcase when traveling or use it whenever the desire for a bit of general massage goodness strikes, makes it a very useful product. I have been using these tools every morning. I dig ’em!
The DVD will benefit those that desire a follow along video routine. If you are already a foam roller user, the Footballer and Quadballer can deliver a similar but progressively deeper massage experience. That may or may not interest you.
Although a tool will never be able to replace the abilities of a skilled massage therapist, the Trigger Point Ultimate 6 kit does empower a runner with the ability to perform general sport-specific massage maintenance. And for that, I think it does a jedi master-like job.
You can purchase the Trigger Point Ultimate 6 Kit (with Book and DVD) at Trigger Point.
You can also purchase Trigger Point Ultimate 6 Kit (with Book only) at Running Warehouse (Shoes, Packs, Clothes, Lights, and more…plus 2-day free shipping!).
Who else has used the Trigger Point products? What are your thoughts on them?
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
[The kit was provided by Trigger Point. The review is completely my own. This article contains links that may support Endurance Buzz.]
Posted on 17 Jan 2011
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