M80 Roller (15″) Review

If your foam roller is the kind that smushes when you get on it, throw it away.

You’re probably not getting any kind of real myofacial release from it and rolling around on top of it without any kind of discomfort probably isn’t doing anything for you besides killing time.

All too often, I see gym goers go and pick the softest roller, usually the plain foam ones and throw it under their lower lumbar and waste time going up and down their back.  I guess at the very least you’re getting some kind of release, but the standard foam kinds tend to give a little and the surface is plain so it doesn’t shear muscle as well.  Then you have your textured and “spiked” rollers that have some kind of pattern to mimic fingers digging in; these work a little bit better due to the “spikes” but usually they’re too coarse and require a bit of placement to hit the right areas.  The textured ones over a PVC pipe usually end up feeling like a plain surface when you apply pressure to yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I like my Rumble Roller, but there are times it just takes too much adjusting to hit certain spots.  Then when you find those spots, it’s not hitting other spots.

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The M80 roller was designed to be the solution to your typical flat surfaced foam roller, while giving you the benefits of having a solid textured surface to actually shear into the muscle.  The highlight of the M80 is that it has a hard foam surface with grooves that don’t give when you roll around on it.  Simple, but the end result is better than just about every foam roller I’ve used thus far.  The grooves run down the whole 15″ (or 30″) surface of the roller so hitting certain points is easy enough to do; no need to worry about a spike rolling on and off the area.  The diameter is just about as thick as most rollers at 5″ so it’s wide enough to use to open your thoracic as well.  Since the foam doesn’t have large uneven grooves or “fingers”, it also rolls evenly back and forth when you’re on it, making the act of mobilizing as painless as it could be.

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Rolling out flatter areas such your legs, arms (triceps especially) and your lats seem to be the where the M80 does the most work.  You can really feel the grooves shearing out the scar tissue of your muscle.  The M80 is great for your lower lumbar, but for areas such as the center of your mid/upper back, you’ll need to turn the M80 to hit the right angles due to the way your back is shaped (depending on body composition).  You can use it for your pectorals to anterior deltoids if you squeeze it in there, but you’re probably better off using something a little more rounded, like a lacrosse ball or the Super Nova on your front side.  Not many cylindrical rollers can attack these areas, so it’s not surprising the M80 doesn’t.

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I haven’t yet tested out its waterproof properties or its “closed-cell” technology, other than being sweaty and rolling around on it, but it doesn’t stink and isn’t really showing wear yet.  Even when it does, it’s hand washable and due to the dense foam, it doesn’t absorb water.  By no means am I a large individual at 5’8″ 180lbs, so I doubt I’ll ever collapse the M80 roller, but it does have a lifetime guarantee against deformation.  I’m sure if you really tried, you could smash it, since it is just a piece of hollow plastic wrapped in foam, but under normal circumstances I doubt this will be anything to worry about. Roll away. The M80 is handmade right here in SoCal; the fit and finish is excellent.  You can’t even tell how the foam is secured on to the PVC pipe.  The only “defect” on mine is that the last ridge is cut unevenly, but you could barely tell and it doesn’t affect performance at all. You have a few different colors and prints to pick from and the M80 starts at $20 for the M80 Grenade, $40 for the M80 Roller, and $60 for the M80 Extreme.  Pricing is just about in line with most popular foam rollers on the market.

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I dig the M80, at the end of the day it’s a foam roller, but it’s one that you’re going to want to use as much as it’s effective.  For the contoured parts of my body I’ll go with more spiky or rounded options, but for the most part I’ll continue to use the M80 on the flatter surfaces of my body.  The Rumble Roller, SuperNova and KnotOut are great but all have their specialties, but aren’t as well rounded as the M80.  The standard size is probably all you need, and if you’re into mobilizing (which you should be!), $40 is a small price to pay. Plus, it’s always great supporting growing companies!

Get your M80 here!

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