Updated: August 29th, 2012
Getting Limber with the FlexMassager — Impressions

Strenuous exercise and high-intensity running yields to many a sore muscle that no amount of stretching, icing, or medicating can alleviate. Not only frustrating, sore and cramped muscles can force athletes to miss workouts or underperform when it matters most. As a result of these demands, there are many excellent options available for getting deep-tissue relief while recovering from big workouts—ranging from massages, to foam rollers, and hand-held units that help work out difficult knots and muscle cramps. Many runners have also come to rely on these tools as a pre-workout method of getting limber, adding the tools to their warm-up repertoires. The FlexMassager is a small, hand-held device which offers a unique twist on the massage stick, combining portability, flexibility, and contoured pieces which seek to alleviate aches and pains through deep-tissue massage.

There is a growing market for massage tools geared toward endurance athletes, with many models adopting a rigid, stick-shaped handle composed of rotating wheels which run over aching muscles to break apart lactic acid buildup after strenuous exercise. These devices allow runners to roll out aches and pains by pivoting the device over muscle groups, easing soreness and hastening the recovery process. While these products provide enormous benefits, they can be difficult to pack for pre- and post-run use, and may not reach all muscle groups equally. The FlexMassager provides a unique rope design which allows for greater portability than a rigid massage stick. The rope also allows the individual massaging units to contour and shape around difficult muscle groups, targeting specific areas by wrapping around sore areas for greater access. The handles also serve a dual purpose, allowing runners to stretch calf muscles by placing the foot within one of the handles while pulling on the other end—an added bonus on top of other therapeutic benefits.

The FlexMassager's free-moving spheres allow for deep, targeted pressure on sore muscle groups.

Another key difference between the FlexMassager and massage sticks is the varied shapes of the massaging beads within the main rollers on the device; the standard design of other products contain uniform, circular rollers while the FlexMassager has two differently-shaped beads. This difference provides a beneficial experience in large and small muscle groups—a massage on the quadriceps feels remarkably different than a calf massage, which can help work muscles more deeply than a uniform design could achieve. This flexibility proves especially useful when massaging muscles surrounding the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia, helping to alleviate tenderness in supporting muscle groups.

Among the varied design differences between the FlexMassager and other massaging products is the inclusion of two large, spherical rollers on either side of the device. The free-moving balls allow for deep muscle penetration, allowing a user to pinpoint specific cramps or sore spots within greater muscle groups. These elements stood out as a great inclusion on the device during use for this review, allowing runners who sampled the product to pinpoint specific muscles with ease.

Overall, the FlexMassager proves itself as a great option for a portable, lightweight, no-nonsense massage device which is easy to pack and highly-effective. The rope design allows runners to work out leg cramps without taking up space, and the massaging balls help pinpoint tricky muscle aches. Since the device is portable, however, some runners may feel that the FlexMassager is too small to reach all muscle groups in a single pass. Additionally, the rope design creates less overall pressure than a rigid stick model. These complaints are minor, however, and do not adversely affect the enormously-positive benefits the FlexMassager provides. Retailing for $29.95, the product is highly-recommended for runners and athletes of all stripes, either as a go-to massaging unit or as a portable supplement to foam rollers.

By Brian O’Connor

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