This post is a copied post from Leah of Chasing Atlanta. Leah is a massage therapist and an avid runner in Clarkston, MI, USA. She is also a huge advocate of The Stick.
As you may have figured by the amount of times I mention it, I’m a big proponent of the self-massage tool known as the Stick. It’s one of my can’t live without running essentials, and I also recommend it to my massage clients all the time. I’ve had the opportunity to work the Stick booth at a few race expos and I thought I’d share a little Stick 101 before getting to the details of my giveaway of, yes, you guessed it, a Stick!
The picture above shows my own Stick family, of which each piece has it’s own role. The gray-handled Sprinter Stick is my go-to Stick for day-to-day maintenance. This is the one I use most often before and after my runs and it’s also the one that I travel with, whether to a local or out of town race or just to the track. The Sprinter Stick is the top seller at expos and is of medium flexibility. The stiffer the Stick the deeper the massage.
Speaking of stiffness, the longer black-handled Stick above is the Stiff Stick, the big daddy, the stiffest of Sticks. This is the one I use when I need some really deep work. It’s the second most popular model at expos and great for those with denser muscle mass and/or those who prefer deeper tissue massage.
The Travel Stick (red handles above) is sort of the red-headed stepchild of my Stick family in that it often gets neglected. This was my first Stick and I bought it before I knew there were other models. The Travel Stick is more flexible and generally doesn’t have enough oomph for me. It isn’t all that much smaller than the Sprinter so it’s size isn’t really an advantage. I tend to use this one only when my muscles are super, super tender. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of specialty running stores and online retailers only carry the Travel Stick and the ill-named, yellow-handled Marathon Stick (not pictured, the softest Stick of the lot). These are the two Sticks we sell the least of at expos. In fact, I’ve never sold one of either.
The smaller black-handled Stick in the picture is my Little Stick. I love this Stick and think of it as the over-achiever of the family. It’s lack of length makes it less than ideal for bigger muscle groups such as hamstrings and quadriceps, but since it’s so short it isn’t very flexible. Consequently, you can do some really thorough work on smaller areas such as calves and IT bands. This Stick is great for on-the-go work. Last week when my calf was in such bad shape I tossed it into my purse and took it to work with me. I also like to stash my Little Stick in my gear check bag so I’ll have it right up to a race and immediately afterwards.
There are longer Sticks available for those who want to do a lot of upper body work and need the extra reach. Of the longer Sticks, the Body
Stick is more flexible and the Power
Stick is stiffer. The Foot Wheel
is a great tool for plantar fasciitis and other foot issues and the Trigger Wheel
helps with those pesky shoulder knots and tight neck muscles. You can find out more about these and all the Stick products here
Before I get to the giveaway I wanted to address one other issue, since it’s the most common question I get at expos: “What makes this better than a foam roller?” The Stick isn’t necessarily better than a foam roller, but they do work in different ways. I have a foam roller also and I love it, but I feel the Stick has some distinct advantages, aside from the obvious portability and contortion issues. A foam roller is great for quads and IT bands, but I find the Stick is better at getting at trickier muscles such as the hip flexors, adductors and tibialis anterior. Also, since you’re using your own body weight with a foam roller the pressure is never really going to change. With the Stick you can use as much or as little pressure as you want.
Okay, giveaway time!
I have up for grabs a Little Stick! Here’s how to enter:
For a bonus entry:
Entry deadline is Wednesday, September 29th. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Thursday, September 30th.