This week, we take a moment to review the mobility tool called the Foot Rocker.
Item: The Foot Rocker
Price: $10 – $20 USD
Manufacturer: North American Healthcare
I am a huge fan of Kelly Starrett’s website, mobilitywod.com. If his name, or that site is unfamiliar to you, it’s probably time you took a moment to get acquainted.
For me, Starrett, or K-Star as he is known, got me to focus on stretching parts of my body I would have never considered. One of the things I like about K-Starr is the quote he has at the top of his website, “Every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves”.
So it is with that statement in mind and over the coming months, I will be bringing you reviews on mobility equipment that may help your overall flexibility but also hopefully increase your overall athletic performance.
This week I take a moment to focus on the calves. For years I have had issues with tight calves. I can even remember having to come off the field during my high school rugby days because they were so tight. So to say this has been a recurring issue is an understatement.
In reality though, I think my issue, like many, is that I suffer from a condition known as “Lazy Man Syndrome.” It is a systemic issue not only within the CrossFit community but society at large. Despite being encouraged by numerous coaches, trainers and friends, to do proper stretching and to cool down after training, my condition still gets the better of me. My disability to care for my body has caused me to suffer from many uncomfortable days that could have been remedied with some simple maintenance.
Like I’m sure many of you have seen or done yourself, I was often the person who finished a WOD collapsed on the floor in the fetal position, (something we know Mikko Salo would never do), gasping for air, only to peel myself off the ground minutes later and jump straight into the car. There was no stretching or foam rolling and I often paid the price for my laziness for days later. In essence it was the perfect example of “Lazy Man Syndrome” in action.
However, since watching K-Starr’s videos I have been getting better at rectifying my condition. Yet I still find I need the help and encouragement of gadgets and gizmo’s to help alleviate my issue. So now my cupboard is full of mobility and massage tools, which I intend to review for this segment over the next few weeks.
In any event, it was a late night just a few months back, when like many consummate students, instead of actually doing my work I found myself on Amazon.com. It was then I stumbled upon the Foot Rocker. Something about the device caught my attention. From the manufacturer’s description the Foot Rocker is a “One-size-fits-all rocker designed to position your foot optimally, so that you can work and stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of your foot and lower leg by simply following the foot rocker’s three, 30-second stretches. This simple device was developed to provide an effective way to relieve the lower body pain associated with plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, ankle strain, arch pain, and other chronic conditions.”
Basically it is a simple device that you place your foot in, to stretch the calf muscle. Sure you could do this type of stretch against the wall but it was only $9.95 so I thought what the heck (I discovered later that it provides a greater range of motion than a simple stretch against a wall could offer).
Several days later the package arrived and I have to say I was a little skeptical at first. However, when I took it out of the box it felt pretty solid and the moment I put it on the floor my perception quickly changed. After standing on it for only a few seconds I felt an immediate stretch throughout the whole Achilles and into the calf. It was the uncomfortable, almost painful sensation you get when you’re really stretching a muscle that made me quickly realize this was a great tool. Although I’m the first to admit I often get excited about so many new tools and gadgets only to find them collecting dust just a few weeks later. So the real test was still to come.
Several weeks on, I’m glad to report not a day has passed that I have not found the time to use the Foot Rocker. The ease of being able to quickly stand on it and get a good stretch means I use it more often than I thought I would. I even take phone calls while standing on it and find I can easily rack up five or ten minutes on the device. What I really like is the fact it just works. Even after spending only a minute or two on each leg I find not only is my calf more flexible, my hamstring and lower back simply feel better. An added bonus and something I never thought of when I purchased it, is when standing on it I find I’m also working on balance. The manufacturer recommends holding something for support but I prefer to work on my mid-line stabilization while rocking back and forth on the device. I guess you could say it’s almost like a 2 for 1.
The only issue I have found with the Foot Rocker is the overall length of the device. At 5.75 inches long, it means if you have a foot larger than a size 11, you may find that your toes hang off the end. The manufacturer claims the Foot Rocker is one-size fits all but I’m not convinced. I’m a size 10US so fortunately my foot fits perfectly on the footrest with little room to spare. Although, if you are a size 13 or 14 you may find that despite the fact it still provides a stretch it may not be as effective. It’s not deal breaker but is something to consider if this applies to you.
Now to the question: does The Rx Review “Deny” or “Prescribe” the Foot Rocker?
As I stated several times, I suffer from “Lazy Man Syndrome.” So anything that encourages me to mobilize my body is a good thing. Considering the Foot Rocker is a simple, cheap and effective product, we here at The Rx Review think this would make a great addition to any box or home gym. Heck even if you’re only a weekend warrior that likes to run this is going to be an effective tool for you.
So for that reason our final verdict for the Foot Rocker: “Prescribed”.
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