Published on May 23, 2014
Tight and aching muscles post-run can be a constant source of complaint and whilst most of us can’t rely on (or afford) pro sports massages on a regular basis many runners do self-massage, which is where the likes of The Orb from Pro-Tec Athletics comes in.
If you have ever experience the unique pain/pleasure sensation of a foam roller in addressing calf, ITB or glute problems then the principle behind The Orb will be immediately apparent. The 5inch ball, made of high-density EVA foam can be used in a variety of ways – all of which fundamentally involve using the body’s weight to roll and massage – to release tension in the muscles. Whilst a roller allows only single-direction relief, The Orb allows for a multidirectional roll that feels rather more targeted and, because of the reduced surface contact area, deeper too.
The disadvantage over a roller is that more of a balancing act is involved particularly, RunningMonkey found, when working on quads or tackling The Orb side-on for an ITB workout. However the added intensity for calves, glutes and hamstrings was noticeable and The Orb also provided an excellent massage along the length of the back (avoiding the spinal column) and between the shoulders.
Okay, so arguably you could achieve much of this with a tennis ball at a fraction of The Orb’s £18 asking price but the size, weight and non-slip dimpled texture do all feel particularly well judged for the required results. Not, we think, a direct replacement for, or alternative to, a traditional foam roller, but certainly a useful addition to the tools available for sorting out running’s minor problems.