A muscle roller stick, sometimes called a muscle roller or massage stick, can help alleviate knots and muscle fatigue after a workout. You can also use the hand-held tool prior to a workout to improve flexibility and mobility. There are lots of massage tools on the market, but the muscle roller stick stands out for its compact size, ease of use, and affordable price. There isn’t a huge variation between products available on the market today, but it’s important to keep some considerations in mind when shopping for the muscle roller stick that’s best suited for you.
Size and construction help distinguish one massage stick from the next. If portability is an issue, consider a smaller massage stick, such as one that’s 18 inches long. However, a shorter stick can make it harder to reach tough places such as your back. This is especially true if you’re taller. A longer stick may not be as easy to travel with but it can provide more surface area for a deeper massage. Many muscle roller sticks feature multiple plastic spindles lined up next to each other, although some have a smooth surface or massage balls. Some users, particularly men, find that sticks with plastic spindles or that have gaps between the spindles can pull on hair.
1. Original Body Stick By The Stick
While the original Body Stick remains the most popular choice for many consumers, a number of variations are available. The Body Stick caters to those with an average build up to 5’10” and who are flexible enough to comfortably use the tool on major muscle groups. If you’re taller than 5’10” or you need more flexibility, consider the Big Stick. The Power Stick is the second longest available Stick. It’s also for those 5’10” and over or who require more flexibility. Stiff Stick caters to athletes seeking a deep massage. This option is also ideal for those up to 5’10” and who are flexible enough to use it on all major muscle groups. The Hybrid Stick helps tackle hard places such as the behind the neck and knees. Flex Stick is a long, flexible stick intended for use by anyone over 5’10” or who needs more flexibility. This model is ideal for light massages.
Sprinter Stick is short and firm, making it a practical choice for leg use. This Stick can be used for light to deep massages. Marathon Stick is short and flexible. It’s ideal for using on the legs, particularly the calves, and caters to those seeking lighter massages. Travel Stick is a short 17 inches long and flexible.
- Comes in several variations
- Durable construction
- Ideal for runners and other athletes
- A few wish it was equally as effective on other body parts, not just the legs
- Some wish it was cheaper
- Longer versions can be tough to transport
2. Tiger Tail 22″ Rolling Muscle Massager
The Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager stands out for its sturdy center, which features one continuous piece rather than the separate plastic spindles found on The Stick rollers and others. Benefits of this setup include increased comfort, as there is no pinching between the gaps of multiple plastic pieces, and a surface that can be easier to clean. At 22 inches long the roller is portable enough to travel between the gym and home with ease. This massage stick is designed for deeper massages and can help to circulate blood and oxygen for pain relief and faster recovery.
If you’re looking for something a bit smaller, consider the 18-inch original Tiger Tail massager.
- Continuous surface is easy to clean
- Eliminates potentially painful pinching found on rollers with gaps
- Ideal for deep massages
- A handful complain that parts can periodically get caught on clothing during use
- Stiffer construction may make it tougher to use in areas such as upper arms and back
- A few mention it doesn’t include a guide or instructions
3. Elite Sportz Equipment Elite Mini Muscle Roller
This muscle roller stick is designed to increase blood flow while reducing knots and tension. In addition to self-myofascial release, it’s also ideal for reducing tightness and soreness after a workout. At 18 inches long, the roller is optimally shaped for use on the legs. Ergonomic handles make it easier to grip the roller during use. Instead of a printed guide, users are encouraged to check out the online videos on the manufacturer’s website for instructions.
Price: $10.00 (71 percent off MSRP)
- Ideal for self-myofascial release
- Optimally shaped with legs
- Ergonomic handles prevent hand soreness and fatigue
- Only comes in one size
- A handful of users note it can pull on hair
- Some find it painful on areas of the body with less cushioning
4. Physix Gear Sport Muscle Roller Stick Pro
This muscle roller is designed for quick relief from tightness and pain, and can be used before or after a workout. Seven individual spindles roll independently yet work together to relax muscles, relieve deep tissue tension and soreness, and more. The roller helps to smooth out knots and trigger points. An eBook is included with tips and suggestions to help you get started.
Price: $14.99 (42 percent off MSRP)
- Assists in smoothing out knots and trigger points
- Features independent spindles
- Includes a free eBook
- Some wish it was a bit more flexible
- Only comes in one size
- Material grips better on bare skin as opposed to clothing
5. Idson Muscle Roller Stick for Athletes
As its name suggests, this muscle roller caters to athletes. Features include ergonomic handles make with polypropylene and thermoplastic rubber along with nine independent rollers. The rollers are backed by a steel rod core for added durability and a deeper massage. At 18.5 inches long, the roller is easy to carry from one place to the next. It’s ideal for use on the shoulders, neck, calves, back, glutes, and hamstrings.
If you’re looking for a slightly larger version for deep tissue massage, consider the Idson Muscle Roller Massager Stick.
Price: $9.95 (38 percent off MSRP)
- Caters to athletes
- Durable steel rod core
- Easy to transport
- A handful mention that it’s a bit noisy
- Wheels can get stuck if not used on bare skin
- Some wish it was more flexible
Tired of feeling sore and achy after a workout? These top foam rollers are great for busting knots and helping you recover faster.Click here to read more
6. The Muscle Stick Original Massage Roller
The Muscle Stick Original Massage Roller comes in a wide range of colors and caters to everyone from beginners to elite athletes. Highlights include a solid stainless steel core and zero-flex construction for optimal pressure. You can use the stick before or after a workout to increase blood flow and reduce tension and knots. The handles are easy to grip and are designed to reduce fatigue on the hands.
For a more intense massage, consider The Muscle Stick “Advanced” Massage Roller.
Price: $11.74 (67 percent off MSRP)
- Available in a variety of colors
- Handles are designed to reduce fatigue
- Zero-flex construction for optimal pressure
- Not available in a larger size
- Rollers may pinch hair
- Some wish it was more flexible
7. Gaiam Pressure Point Massager
Instead of numerous plastic spindles paired together, this tool features three textured massagers designed to target pressure points. You can use this massager before or after a workout to increase circulation and reduce muscle soreness. It’s also ideal for relieving strains and other sports injuries. Comfort grip handles keep hands from getting sore and fatigued during use. A downloadable massage guide is included to help you get started. This tool is 16.5 inches long.
- Three textured massagers designed to target pressure points
- Ideal for use before or after a workout
- Comes with a downloadable massage guide
- A few wish the spikes were softer
- May be a bit too short for taller or less flexible users
- Some find it can leave bruises if too much force is used
8. TriggerPoint GRID STK Handheld Foam Roller
This stick massager features the same surface design as the TriggerPoint GRID foam rollers. Each handle is specifically designed to provide relief and pressure similar to a massage therapist’s thumb. Three-dimensional channels along the surface enhance blood and oxygen flow for increased mobility. The roller measures 21 inches long and under 2.5 inches around. You can also use it seated or standing.
If you’re looking for a deeper massage, consider the Extra Firm Density version.
Price: $32.97 (18 percent off MSRP)
- Features same design as TriggerPoint foam rollers
- Three-dimensional surface channels enhance mobility
- Handles pressure similar to a massage therapist’s thumb
- Only comes in one size
- Some wish the knobs were softer
- Can be tricky to use in hard-to-reach places such as the back
9. FWY Muscle Roller Massage Stick
At 23 inches long, this muscle roller stick is a solid choice if you’re looking for a greater surface area. With the extra length you can reach your back and other difficult places. The center is plastic with rubberized hand grips that rotate independently. It’s ideal for runners and athletes as well as for preventative therapy and relaxation. The stick is made with durable non-toxic materials. An ergonomic shape makes the tool useful for both shallow and deep tissue massages. Ergonomically designed rubber grips promote stability and ease of use.
Price: $21.90 (63 percent off MSRP)
- Rubber grips are easy on the hands
- Ergonomic shape works for shallow and deep tissue massages
- Longer length makes it easier to reach the back and other tough places
- A few mention it’s more effective when used against clothing rather than bare skin
- Some wish the spikes were softer
- Doesn’t come in a smaller size
10. Crossactiv Chameleon Changeable Massage Stick Muscle Roller with Quickstart Guide
You can adjust this muscle roller stick to find the ideal combination of massage balls and rollers. As a result you can target trigger point areas in a more customized manner. Larger massage roller balls promote a deeper tissue massage while the medium roller balls are designed for moderate pressure. Wider gaps between the roller balls means less hair pinching and pulling during use. The handles can be unscrewed when necessary to adjust the roller ball configuration. They also feature a rubberized grip and contoured shape for added comfort.
Price: $14.99 (40 percent off MSRP)
- All components can be adjusted
- Handles unscrew for quick adjustments
- Wider spaces between roller balls reduce hair pulling
- Only comes in one size
- Plastic materials may be a bit too hard for beginners
- A few wish it was more flexible