Mobility is one of those things that doesn’t really seem important until it causes an injury.
I myself am guilty of putting mobility low on my list of priorities. I don’t get as much time to train as i’d like. Each week I’ve got to meticulously plan my time in order to make my sessions fit and spare time is a constant battle between family time, work commitments and gym time. Now its not that my gym doesn’t have the appropriate equipment, (it really does) its just that all things considered, if its a straight choice between an extra set or two deadlifting or foam rolling my ass, guess which activity is going to win.
Mobility (for me at least) is something thats only really become a popular subject in the last few years. Gyms seldom had foam rollers for use and if you carried an lacroix ball in your gym bag it was simply because you play lacroix rather than roll around in it to sort out your back issues.
The thing about mobility work is that it only really seems to become an important issue when you get older. In your teens you’re only worried about aesthetics, a low body fat percentage and getting as huge as possible. (the punchline line being that those are two conflicting goals) you spend your 20s focusing on performance and staying consistent in the gym now that you have a job and other responsibilities to worry about, and then come your 30s.
You spend your 30s (or as many as I’ve had at least) trying to not get injured because its beginning to dawn on you lately that you are in fact not superman and injuries are far more common and take a hell of a lot more time to heal then in the old days.
The back baller:
So what could a person do to help prevent injury? Enter the back baller. Its a fairly small device. Think two small green rollers on a plastic mount with rubber feet on the bottom. Its smaller and easier to store than some foam rollers and it has the bonus of being able to use two rollers simultaneously. The small rubber feet stop it moving around the floor.
Its the brain child of Irish inventor Noel Marshall and has the backing of the Hartman international sports clinic along with some testimonials from some great irish athletes from olympians to GAA players.
The benefits of foam rolling are well documented and include greater flexibility , injury prevention and better recovery.
Having used this roller I do genuinely feel it’s helped in particular with the DOMS effect (delayed onset muscle soreness) post workout that I tend to pick up in my legs and lower back.
And the benefit of the back baller is the fact it stays put thanks to the frame, instead of slowly transporting me around the house. With traditional rollers I tend to start in the living room and end up somewhere in the kitchen.
I also like the fact there’s 2 rollers so when you lie flat on it your body weight is dispersed across two rollers rather than all focused on one spot. It’s a brilliantly simple idea and I’m not entirely sure why nobody has thought of it before now.
It is a larger sized unit than I thought from the photographs online but it’s pretty easy to store given the fact you can remove the rollers from the actual frame. Overall I really liked this, it’s only slightly more expensive than a traditional roller but I think it’s worth the extra if you’re looking to pick up a roller for your home or gym.
I’ll leave a link to their website here for anyone interested in more information: