The R8 deep tissue massage roller from Roll Recovery is yet another in a long line of recovery products. This one is eye catching, two columns of roller blade wheels spring loaded and ready to fight. Thus we are not dealing with your typical foam roller or variation. People are drawn to this device, in a local running store nearly every customer picks it up and gives it a whirl, at a track meet kids invent muscle pain just to try it out. To some it is a toy, to others it is effective.
So what does the product entail? First off, it is great for trips. Put fifty kids on a bus after a meet and they need something for the legs at times. Using a foam roller in the aisle doesn’t always cut it and the stick requires torque. The R8 only needs enough muscle to spread the spring loaded wheels and insert your leg. Then you are off. No more sprawling on the floor, no more beating yourself with a blunt pole. You are able to put an adequate amount of pressure to work out knots and muscle adhesions, and to do so without inflicting an extreme amount of pain.
So does it work? On the quads, IT-Band, and hamstrings, I would be inclined to say yes. On the foot and lower leg/calf complex no. Your upper leg is a ball of muscle, so regardless of the angle of approach, you can dig in. The lower leg, with the shin, leaves the central calf out of play. To hit all the angles, the shin gets a rolling as well. Not a negative, per se, but not ideal either. Further, ranging from $100-$120 the price is quite prohibitive. I have this item to meet the needs of many athletes, but individuals might not and most likely cannot afford to purchase it.
Verdict: if you can afford it, a useful recovery item, but not a panacea catchall either.