My Favorite New Toy – R8 Massage Roller

Everyone has a wish list. More specifically, all athletes have a wish list of desirable new athletic gear (aka adult toys). Whether it’s flashy new skis, a comfortable waterproof (and breathable, of course) jacket, a lighter pair of racing snowshoes, or, in my case, a self-massage tool that really works, we all have gear we want.

R8 Massage Roller

R8 Massage Roller

How many of you can afford to get massages on a weekly or daily basis? Well, this self-massager is NOT for you (unless you’re looking to cut costs). However, for the majority of us who cannot afford massages regularly, the R8 message roller made by Roll Recovery is the ticket.

The R8 is the latest self-massager on the market, developMassaging glutesed right in one of the hubs of American athletics – Boulder, Colorado. Of course, the R8 was conceived and developed by an athlete looking for a better massage product. Jeremy Nelson, with his wife Ariana’s help in “product testing”, designed a superior product. Since its development, the R8 has received rave reviews by athletes and retailers alike.

The R8 is constructed of stiff but malleable plastic – in other words, you can put a lot of pressure on your sore muscles without warping or breaking the device. I hear that some athletes like soothing massages to relax, but not me. The harder, the better – I want to feel the scar tissue breaking up. And since I can’t afford too many massages from a real masseuse, my husband is the lucky one inducing my pain. My husband may be strong but his finger endurance is weak, so I’m lucky if I get 10 minutes out of him.

Massaging Quads & Hamstrings

Massaging Quads & Hamstrings

But ever since I’ve gotten my R8, I massage on my own schedule (not only when I can coerce my husband into it after all the kids are out of our hair). Unlike my husband’s fingers, the R8’s endurance is quite enough and you can target very specific muscles because of the individual wheels, allowing you to tailor your message exactly to your muscle soreness.

As far as muscle groups go, the R8 works best on the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Surprisingly, the R8 is also very effective in massaging the forearms and upper arm muscles. I have to say that I never thought I would be able to massage my own arm muscles. Since I’ve been working on my Nordic skiing this winter, my arm muscles are praising the R8.

Massaging upper arms

Massaging upper arms

I also had a few of my runner friends try out the R8. My male friends were impressed by the device and the muscle groups it could target. However, my female friends struggled a bit opening it up big enough to get it onto their legs. They also thought the pressure was a bit too much for some of their muscles, and they also thought it would be a great upgrade to add a knob of sorts to adjust the strength of the springs. Maybe female distance runners are delicate (I didn’t say “weak”, did I?), but since this is the first model of the R8 I’m not being too critical about the design. I think Roll Recovery has a great first model.

Bottom Line: The R8 is more than a step up from other self-massage tools on the market – it’s several steps up. The R8 allows you to target individual muscles as specifically and as hard as wanted, while still permitting you to cover larger muscle areas uniformly. The only downside is the strength of the springs within the device – meaning, the only way to reduce the static pressure is to pull the R8 outward as you massage. But overall, I love the R8 and think its popularity will soar in the athletic world.

For more information and to purchase the R8 roll massager, go to

About the author

Molly Cochran

Molly is a self-proclaimed adventure addict who participates in a number of sports - ultra running, mountain biking, orienteering, kayaking, snowshoeing, triathlon, nordic skiing, and adventure racing.

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