Still Too Cheap for a Massage? Meet “The Stick”
If you’re like me, you’re still too cheap to get an athletic massage after a race or a tough workout. A good deep muscle massage will increase circulation and speed recovery. Unfortunately, a real massage from a massage therapist will easily set you back $60-$100 for 1 session, which is not something us normal folk can easily get access too. The solution? Self-massage using any number of devices out on the market. I spoke about the foam roller before, but today I’m going to bust out the other weapon in my arsenal, which I actually use more: The Stick.
The concept is pretty simple. The Stick is a semi-rigid stick with rollers on top. Simply hold the two ends with your hands and roll it on top of your muscles while applying pressure. The rollers allow you to slide the stick easily along your body. The amount of pressure is variable as you decide how hard and deep you want to press. The stick can also be used by another person to roll on top of your body for those harder to reach places. The rigidity and the length varies across all the different models of The Stick. I use the “Sprinter Stick” as it is very rigid, making it easier to get a deep massage. You can still get deep into muscles with less rigid sticks but it requires more “pressing down” effort from you. I have used the “Marathon Stick” before and it’s good, but like me you’ll probably want the more rigid one before long. A rigid stick can still do soft massages easily but a more flexible soft stick will have more difficulty doing deep massages.
So how do I use it? After most runs I’ll do 30 strokes on each of the following parts of my leg. If I find an area is especially tender, I’ll do even more passes to really work it.
1) Directly on top of my quadriceps
2) Over top of my IT bands – This area of my quad tends to be sore
4) Directly behind my calves
5) The inside part of my calves – Tends to be very sore!
** Of course you can massage any part of your body with the stick but this is what I usually do. **
Does it help? Definitely! I feel like I recover much faster than normal if I use the stick. Not only that, I find spots that are sore that I wouldn’t even have known were fatigued. Especially the insides of my calves! It’s kind of a no-brainer for me now, it’s so easy to get a good massage in, with really no effort.
How does it compare to the foam roller? I like the stick more because it is more convenient and requires less effort. The foam roller requires you to lift yourself up and use you body weight. While the foam roller might be able to put slightly more pressure for some parts of the body, the last thing I really want to do after a run is have to lift my body up. The stick is usually my go to tool.
The stick costs around $35 – $50 depending on the model. I bought mine from RunningFree.com but lots of different running stores carry them, although their model selection might vary.
So, if you’re looking for that deep massage but don’t have the cash or super nice friend to help you out, check out The Stick. You won’t regret it!