Runners live for their dates with the foam roller after a run. It’s cheaper than visiting Sven the masseuse. But what about the days when you want your self-myofascial release session to dig deep into the abyss of your muscles? Or be able to wedge it into the TFL region and go, “Ohhhh….yeah…right there”?
The EvoFit ensō roller ($69) is a mobility tool that works like your foam roller to perform myofascial release--but with a few nice upgrades.
The ensō roller comes with a 13-inch aluminum tube and eight discs that range in size from 4.5 inches to five inches. The discs are adjustable and can be set in the grooves of the aluminum tube or removed altogether, depending on the body part, ache or pain that you want to target.
My challenge was to see if the ensō roller was a gimmick or really worth its $69 price tag. Here’s what I liked and didn’t like:
- Gets in deep: And I mean deep. Since I started training for the Twin Cities Marathon, my TFL has fought me every step of the way. The ensō roller has really helped work out the kinks. My preferred TFL setting is three large discs in middle and two small discs on the ends, “tennis ball” style, all pushed together. It didn’t cure my TFL pain in one session but with regular use, proper stretching, and strengthening my adductors, the pain gradually went away.
- Adjustable: Aside from the TFL, runners suffer from sore hamstrings, calves, quads and the loathsome IT band. Enso’s site has an informative video that recommends adjustments for specific muscle groups and ailments. You can also make up your own settings, too. Whatever feels good to you is a setting.
- Versatile: Use it as a hand-held massage tool or a muscle roller. There seems to be no body part that the enso roller can’t relieve.
- Price: $69 could be painful for those on a budget.
- Discs can move: I noticed that the rollers can sometimes jump out of their little grooves if I got too aggressive. This happens only when I’m working my TFL. The likely culprit is my scrawny hipbone.
- Not entirely user-friendly: You can read the manual or you can wing it. I winged it. Not that the user manual is daunting—it’s maybe five pages—but there are so many options with which to interchange the discs that your soreness could turn into a full-blown injury by the time you’ve figured out the best setting for your sore calves. (It's two small rollers with two big on the sides with an open groove in between, by the way). Thankfully Evofit’s website has loads of in-depth videos to demonstrate how to get the best results from the enso roller.
- Weight: If you travel and want to bring your ensō roller, be prepared for a heavier bag.
- Simple (once I figured it out)