This fall and winter as I've traveled from the Red River Gorge for steep, pumpy routes, to Chattanooga for delicately thuggy sloper squeezing, and finally to Hueco Tanks for powerful steep roofs and incut edges, I've heard the same question over and over while I'm foam rolling in the evening.
"Whoa! Why didn't I think of that?"
My foam roller doesn't look like all the others. It's the same model as many I see, an easy-to-travel-with 13" Trigger Point GRID, but because I needed to maximize my space while traveling, I knew I needed to somehow use it's hollow interior for storage. My lacrosse balls were prime candidates looking for a permanent storage spot, or else they'd be rolling all over the car. Now how to cap it?
I carried my foam roller into the local hardware store looking for a PVC end cap, and was quickly informed that the PVC used for the roller isn't a normal size, so they wouldn't have a cap to fit it. I persisted, SURE that they would have something I could use to cap the ends. Luckily the gentleman helping me didn't just shoo us away, but tried to understand my dilemma. He suggested that an adjustable test plug would do the trick, and $15 later I was walking out of the store feeling like I had just won the efficient traveler of the year award.
Now I can carry all of my mobility and recovery tools wherever without having to chase bouncing lacrosse balls across the room, and I'm not constantly searching for where that ball went when I need to work out a kink in my traps. Not to mention, I get to seem like a genius everytime someone notices my solution.
The Roller: I carry the Trigger Point GRID roller, in the 13" size. It's a great size to travel with, and has just enough surface area to roll on comfortably. It's a dense roller due to the PVC core, but I need that density. Soft rollers do almost nothing for me.
The End Caps: If you have the Trigger Point GRID like I do, you'll want a 4" test plug. Actually, you'll want 2 of them, or you'll kick yourself later. I've found them in 2 colors for the fashion conscious among us: red and yellow. You can buy them at your local hardware store, but if you click the links below then we get a small kickback, and you're supporting us at no additional cost to you. They're pretty self-explanatory: put them on and turn the wingnut to tighten and loosen.
The Lacrosse Balls: I use regular lacrosse balls, meant for lacrosse - not the expensive versions marketed specifically for mobility. Buy a three pack and tape two of them together with athletic tape to work on the thoracic spine. I like to go vertebrae by vertebrae up my thoracic spine, with arms out to the side, for help opening up my chest. Give it a try.
For advice on how to best use the Lacrosse Balls and Foam Roller, our friend Natasha Barnes has an excellent guide available HERE.
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If you happen to have the 26" Trigger Point GRID Roller, you can fit a Tension FLASH Board (which you'll be hearing more about soon) in it, so that every time you do a finger workout, you can do mobility and recovery work between sets.