As a runner, I have a love/hate relationship with foam rolling and other types of myofascial release techniques. Massaging sessions are essential for keeping muscles loose and injury-free, but kneading out stubborn knots can be painful. So I'm part happy, part sad that I discovered the RumbleRoller Beastie Bar ($60).
The bar features two firm, bumpy massage balls that rotate as you roll. The bar is similar to other stick-like massagers, but adding the two balls to the massager makes it easier to use without feeling like you're getting a workout just from your recovery session. The firm bumps direct pressure where I need it most without too much exertion, and I love how I can use it either on its detachable stand (for massaging areas like my calves or IT band) or as a handheld roller bar for shins, quads, and other areas. It also grips comfortably when I use it to target knots on my shoulders and back — I never feel like I'm constantly twisting in uncomfortable positions.
The Beastie Bar is one part of a larger system of massaging tools meant to target every part of the body; my other favorite is the original Beastie Ball ($30). While it also comes in a firmer density like the Bar, the white ball is the softer version, so it feels less intense (and painful). Like the bar, it comes with a detachable base, but I like to roll it with the soles of my feet to massage them after a long run as well as around my calves and shins, especially when they are sore. Both the bar and the ball, along with a regular foam rolling routine, have helped me recover fast and prevent aches and pains during my marathon training.