You’ve probably seen the flashy commercials. You may have listened to your personal trainer rave about them. You go into your favorite sporting goods store and see them laid out on the shelves, beckoning you… until you see the price tag. Now that’s a little different from the inexpensive foam rollers that you’re used to!
To many, the Trigger Point Performance GRID Plus and the Hyperice Vyper 2 are the Teslas of the foam roller world. They are high tech and packed with features. You won’t have to fumble with battery compartments or deal with wimpy vibrations here. However, high-end products come with a higher price tag. Are these rollers worth the hit to your wallet? Will they hold up under hard use? Will you even use them, or relegate them to your bin of workout equipment regrets? Read on to find out.
Foam Rollers … With Vibration?
If you’re considering a high end vibrating foam roller, you’re probably experienced with basic myofascial massage. It might be from digging into a knot in your back with a tennis ball, or maybe you like to stretch your tight hamstrings across an inexpensive roller. Basic, smooth foam cylinders do a decent job. Textured rollers are a relatively recent invention that digs into muscles more firmly, simulating the pressure of massaging fingers.
Some people hail vibration functions as the wave of the future. What does vibration bring to the table? Is it necessary for a thorough self-rolling session?
For vibrating roller fans, the answer is: Absolutely yes.
They believe that the vibrations ‘drum’ the roller against your sore and tight parts, getting the pressure into deeper tissues. Some of the benefits claimed by vibrating roller manufacturers and users are that:
- They reach deeply buried connective tissues that wouldn’t be touched by regular rolling.
- They relax your body so you can achieve a deeper stretch.
- The vibrations increase circulation, promoting faster healing for exercise-induced micro tears.
- It increases muscle activation.
- Vibrations can prime your nervous system for sports and hard workouts.
- These rollers transmit vibrations across wide swaths of sore muscles, soothing the body more efficiently.
However, not everyone is a fan of these rollers. Some common complaints here are:
- The vibrations make them feel nauseous.
- The vibrations make an already hard roller feel too intense.
- It takes too long to charge the device.
- The device loses its charge too quickly.
- The device worked great up until it broke, which was right after the warranty period expired.
For these reasons, if you’re a foam roller newbie, you may want to consider testing out some cheaper devices first. This will give you an idea of what materials are the right hardness for you. You can also figure out whether or not you want a highly textured surface. While you’re at it, see what diameter of roller you like working with. Even a few inches’ difference can change your whole experience.
Once you’re armed with this knowledge, you can make a better choice about which high end vibrating roller is a wise investment. Speaking of, let’s take a look at two such devices:
Trigger Point Performance GRID Plus
Trigger Point offers a number of massagers at a wide variety of price points. These range from inexpensive multi-layer foam balls to foot rollers, curved massage canes, percussion massage guns, and of course vibrating rollers. This particular vibrating roller, the GRID Plus, is at the more expensive end of what Trigger Point makes.
This highly textured device is made of high-density EVA foam. It is medium firmness as rollers go, and users have noted a degree of ‘give’ during use.
The Performance Grid Plus is 3.9 inches in diameter and 12 inches long. It weighs in at 2.5 lbs.
This device is designed with multiple areas of ridges (both horizontal and vertical), squared off nubs, and flat zones. That gives you access to a variety of textures. You can target various body parts with different kinds of pressure. If you’re feeling inflexible or especially sore, you can switch to the flat places for a gentler experience.
Charge and Vibration
It is rechargeable (an AC charger is included) and cordless. The first charge on the device will take about 4 hours. Later on, you can fully charge it in 3 hours. The built-in battery lasts up to 2 hours on the lowest vibration setting. Higher frequencies will eat the battery life up noticeably faster.
The roller uses four vibration settings. Some users say that the lowest of these four offers gentler vibration than the Hyperice Vyper 2.
Judging from buyer feedback, this roller is quite durable both in terms of the EVA foam exterior and the electronic core that creates the vibration.
In most large sporting goods stores, this vibrating roller will cost you about $100. On major online retailers, you can shave that down to about $80 to $90. The price varies a little depending on shipping fees.
Trigger Point offers a 1-year limited warranty on this roller.
The roller comes with an instructional manual. Hyperice also has a YouTube channel with videos detailing how to operate the device, different stretches to target various body parts or problems, etc.
Customers have described the size and weight as ‘travel-friendly.’ However, unlike with Hyperice, Trigger Point itself has no specific comments about traveling with this roller.
Hyperice Vyper 2
Hyperice offers a smaller selection of self-massage devices than Trigger Point. The company has focused on the higher end of the market. It puts out pricey and feature-rich creations like vibrating therapy balls, heating back massagers, and cooling compression devices. The Vyper 2 vibrating foam roller is in the mid-range of their catalog.
This roller is made of polypropylene (EPP) foam. Users report that it feels firmer than Trigger Point’s roller.
It is 6 inches in diameter and 12 inches long and weighs in at 3.5 pounds.
The roller’s surface features both smooth and lightly grooved zones, offering some variety in texture and rolling pressure. It does not have deep grooves or nubs.
Charge and Vibration
Vyper 2 has a cordless design. It has rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and can be used for over 2 hours on a charge. Users report that it takes about 30 minutes to charge.
In this roller, you can play around with three different vibration settings. Many users find that the highest setting feels more intense than on the Performance GRID Plus. This could be due to a combination of a stronger motor plus the harder foam. Harder materials do a better job of transmitting vibrations to the user.
Like with the GRID Plus, users haven’t seemed to have had significant issues with the device’s durability, from foam damage to problems with the motor.
A Vyper 2 can be yours for $200. This price is consistent in both large sporting stores and popular online retailers.
The roller features a limited 1-year warranty.
It comes with an instructional manual that explains how to charge and operate the device.
This roller is specifically designed to be travel-friendly. Hyperice itself claims that the Vyper 2 is TSA approved as a carry-on.
Worth It or Pass On It?
Hyperice has made some big claims about the Vyper 2. According to the company, this device is twice as effective as regular foam rolling for warm-ups and active recovery. They go on to state that it increases users’ range of motion by up to 40 percent, versus 18 percent for regular rolling.
This is a bold statement, but is it true? Many people swear by the old-fashioned style of plain foam rollers, which are quite affordable compared to these two models. Vibrating rollers are a relatively new trend, and the jury is still out on whether they’re as effective as some claim.
So what do you do? Well, you’re probably going to get the most benefit from a roller you like, one that you put through its paces regularly. If you’ve gotten far enough to look up investment-grade vibrating rollers, you already know that the vibration is a good fit for your body and workout style. The trick here is to see which of these two rollers have more of the features that you prefer. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Do you want to travel with a roller?
The Vyper 2 is specifically TSA approved. However, the GRID Plus is smaller and half a pound lighter and users have successfully traveled with it. In an era where airlines keep slashing your baggage weight allowance, that may make a difference to you.
Do you want strong or subtle vibrations?
The Vyper 2 doesn’t do ‘subtle.’ Sure, you could muffle some of the vibrations by wrapping it in a yoga mat … but then you aren’t getting the full benefit of the firm surface digging into your tight muscles and fascia. In that case, the GRID Plus’s relatively mild lowest setting may be a good option for you. However, if you want to crank the motor up to the max, the Vyper 2 is possibly the strongest vibrating roller on the market.
Do you regularly forget to charge your phone?
This may sound like an odd question but stick around for a minute. These vibrating rollers work off of a charge. If you forget to charge your massage device before a workout, you can just plug the GRID Plus in … and come back in 3 hours.
Meanwhile, the Vyper 2 can be charged and ready to go in just half an hour, the length of a quick workout. This can make the difference between stretching after you get active, and forgetting all about that roller until the next time you walk into your home gym.
Do you need intense pressure?
This is an interesting question because it depends on what kind of ‘intensity’ you’re looking for. The GRID Plus has a notably smaller diameter than the other model. This brings your body weight down onto a smaller surface area. Combine that with the heavily textured surface and you’re looking at a lot of pinpoint pressure
However, many users find that Vyper 2’s firmer EPP foam exterior may feel harder during use. It’s possible that this is why the Vyper 2 doesn’t have significant texture. Ridges and nubs might be too intense on top of its other features.
What’s your budget like?
The Vyper 2 is twice the price of the GRID Plus. If you really want a TSA approved, firmer foam, stronger motor vibrating roller, the Vyper 2 solid choice. However, the GRID Plus isn’t lagging far behind in terms of features and functionality. If maximum power isn’t your priority, you can save yourself a significant amount of money by choosing Trigger Point’s more affordable offering.