Whether your workout of choice is a gruelling gym session, a technical trail run, or an uphill slog on the gravel bike, we're sure at some point you’ve experienced the dreaded DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS, for those unfamiliar with the term, is that sore, aching feeling in your muscles often experienced a day or two after an intense exercise session. Caused by microscopic tears in the muscle, the symptoms of DOMS range from light muscle tenderness to severe debilitating pain. So if you've ever found yourself wishing that you had a personal massage therapist at your disposal to alleviate your muscle pain, then we can guarantee that you aren’t alone. That’s where Pulseroll steps in!
What is Pulseroll and how does it work?
Pulseroll was launched in 2016 with the aim of making percussive massage therapy accessible and affordable to all. Their clever range of vibrating recovery aids, which includes everything from massage guns to foam rollers, use a carefully calibrated combination of pressure and vibration to stretch out tissue and reduce muscle tightness.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that percussive / vibration therapy increases blood flow to your muscles, which plays an important role in helping alleviate DOMS, calming inflammation and improving flexibility. But just how effective is Pulseroll? Well, they have certainly developed a loyal following, boasting advocates from a wide variety of sporting institutions, including British gymnastics and the Premier league. With this in mind, we decided to put Pulseroll to the test ourselves, and see if our staff members would become converts to this new form of self-applied sports therapy.
Delivering a pocket-sized percussion massage, the Mini Massage Gun from Pulseroll is designed to relieve those everyday aches and pains. Capable of reaching any muscle group, it can be used on any part of the body, making it perfect for targeting specific problem areas and improving posture, as well as offering effective pain relief. Lighter and more portable that it's bigger brother, the Pulseroll Massage Gun, this mini miracle worker comes with 4 different attachment heads and weighs in at just 0.6kg, the perfect companion for your gym sessions.
Tester: Stuart McMillan, Head of Multichannel (Age 46)
Main sporting activities: Cycling, running, hill walking, climbing, skiing
Use Case: I’m trying to increase my 5k running pace as well as cycle 15 miles in to work a couple of times a week. I need to keep on top of my recovery.
Expectations going in: Recently I’ve increased my fitness activities, including taking up running. I do 2 or 3 days of cycling a couple of hours, plus a couple of runs of about an hour. Mostly due to my own neglect (not enough stretching), most of my leg muscles are too tight, so I am making a concerted effort to fix that! I’ve been trying the Pulseroll Mini Massage Gun for about 3 weeks to help my recovery. My hope was that the mini massage gun would work alongside stretching to give me greater mobility, as well as increase blood flow to reduce DOMS.
Experience with the product: Well, I think it is having a positive benefit with general muscle recovery, DOMS has been nowhere near as bad. I’m able to exercise more frequently without my legs getting “heavy”. It’s definitely helped my calf muscles, they used to be tight constantly, I also think that has had a knock-on effect on ankle flexibility and has fixed my minor plantar fasciitis.
When it comes to upper leg mobility/stretching, I think it’s too soon to tell. I 'think' I’m improving. I’ve got a bit of a touch of “runners knee”, which I’m attributing to pushing myself a bit hard, poor running form and poor hip flexibility. I think the Pulseroll mini massage gun has a place in trying to fix this, but I plan to combine it with some physio consultation in order to get the best out of it.
All-in-all, the product feels like a good investment and I’m glad I got to try one, I’m planning on buying one of my own. I’m looking forward to trying some of the different Pulseroll products, in particular the roller for my hamstrings and hip flexors.
Vibrating Peanut Roller
The Pulseroll Vibrating Peanut Roller features an innovative shape to fit comfortably around your muscles. Designed specifically so you can really target the desired area, it can be used on every part of the body but works particularly well on glutes, calves and the arch of the foot. Equipped with 4 vibrating speeds, this compact roller comes with a remote control for your convenience, meaning you can alter the intensity of vibration with the click of a button.
Main sporting activities: Surfing, snowboarding, skiing, running, bouldering
Use Case: I am a casual runner, usually fitting in two 5 – 12km runs each week. Recently, however, I started training for my first half marathon which I completed during the course of the Pulseroll test.
Expectations going in: I usually neglect recovery, often failing to even stretch after a run. With that in mind I was excited to see if the peanut roller would have an impact on my recovery time and if it could help reduce any soreness after longer runs, especially as someone who is completely new to the world of recovery aids.
Experience with the product: I started using the peanut roller immediately after my runs as part of my cool down regime and I have to say it really impressed me. I found that it really helped to reduce any delayed-onset muscle soreness in my calves/thighs, especially when I needed it most (right after the Edinburgh half marathon a couple of weeks ago). Although I was certainly sore in the days after the race, I think it would have been a lot worse if I hadn’t made use of the roller.
In terms of the battery life, I haven’t had to recharge the peanut roller once so far, which has really surprised me after several weeks of use. Another bonus I found is that it is really compact and lightweight, which is great if like me you don’t have much storage space at home and gives you the option of just throwing it in a bag to take with you to the gym.
As far as any downsides, I can only really think of one. I live in a first floor flat and I found myself worrying that my use of the roller would disturb my downstairs neighbours as the vibration was so intense it shook the floor. I should also mention that whilst the peanut roller is ideal for treating the legs (perfect for a runner), if you are a multisport enthusiast then you might want to consider which Pulseroll product is best suited to your needs. Overall, however, I am definitely a convert and look forward to trying out some other Pulseroll products.
Vibrating Massage Ball
Ideal for a more targeted massage, the Vibrating Massage Ball has been designed for trigger point therapy and to provide relief from plantar fasciitis. A physio ball with the added benefit of vibration technology, it has been designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and features four vibration levels, ranging from 2200rpm to 4000rpm, which can be controlled via a remote control. The Vibrating Massage Ball can be used on any part of the body but should be of particular interest if you are looking to target your glutes or the arches of the foot.
Main sporting activities: Running, cycling, bouldering, kayaking, backpacking
Use Case: I am currently training for the Speyside Classic, a 35 mile trail race along the Speyside Way. As my weekly mileage ramps up, it is crucial that I can recover quickly from workouts and long runs so I can be ready for the next session.
Experience with the product: The Pulseroll was great at improving my recovery time and eliminating the dreaded DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). I often get notably tight calves, but the after using the Vibrating Massage Ball I noticed these eased off much easier. Before using the Pulseroll I had used a foam roller but the Pulseroll is easier to use as you can use it seated, which is great after a long run.
The Overall Verdict
No matter your sport of choice or the ailment you usually present at the physio, Pulseroll have a product suited to your needs. Whilst you can't expect them to replace the occasional visit to the Physio, regular use definitely has the potential to help with muscle maintenance. All the Pulseroll products we reviewed certainly didn't lack in the oomph department and impressed with their ergonomic design, substantial battery life and high-end spec. Overall, Tiso Approved!