This post was sponsored by Namastick. All opinions and experiences are my own.
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is gaining steam in athletic communities as an effective way to “work out the kinks,” reduce muscle pain and stiffness, increase range of motion, and improve athletic performance. But while most studies looking at the benefits of SMR use foam rollers as their go-to assessment tool, foam rollers aren’t the only SMR tools available. In fact, I’d argue they’re not even the best tools available, especially for athletes serious about digging into tough myofascial adhesions (commonly known as knots), to release the pain and tension that can contribute to poor mechanics, chronic pain, and even injury. Frankly, you need something tougher and more adaptable — you need something like the Namastick.
Namastick Benefits in a Nutshell
The Namastick is a solid piece of cylindrical wood buffered on either side by a ball. This simple design is surprisingly versatile, offering similar benefits to the traditional foam roller, but with added benefits:
- It requires less balance and upper body strength than a foam roller. The Namastick can roll like a foam roller, which enables you to perform similar exercises, but because the Namastick sits lower to the ground, you don’t have to worry about balancing on top of the roller or using upper body strength to hold yourself in place. This makes it easier to use overall.
- It’s lightweight, has a low profile, and is easy to carry. You can easily throw it in a gym bag or store it in a desk drawer — it doesn’t take up much space.
- You can use it sitting, standing, or lying down. The Namastick isn’t JUST a roller. It’s a massage stick, a roller, and a massage ball, all in a single tool. You can sit at your desk and apply a frictional force to your quads or your IT bands by pressing the stick along the length of your muscle tissue. You can lie on the ground and work out knots in your glutes or low back by applying one of the ends of the stick to your muscle tissue, kneading into the sore points. You can even stand and place the stick under your foot, rolling it from heel to toe to work out sore points on your feet.
- You decide how much pressure to apply. With a foam roller, the pressure you apply is based on a gravitational force — you sit or lie on the foam roller and the combination of your body weight and gravity press you into the tool. With the Namastick, you’re in control of how much pressure you apply, adding more or less depending on your personal needs.
- You use a frictional force to release adhesions. When using a foam roller, you roll over the top of the roller. This provides a nice massage, but it’s not necessarily releasing adhesions in the most effective manner. With a Namastick, you have the benefit of using a frictional force with the stick. This means you apply continuous pressure along the entire length of a muscle in a manner more similar to a masseuse or a rolfing specialist offering manual therapy.
Using a Namastick
Using a Namastick couldn’t be easier. Check out this video review to see it in action:
There are three basic ways to use the Namastick:
- Use it as a roller. This works well for targeting the calves and hamstrings, or even the glutes.
- Use it as a massage stick. This is my favorite usage so far. I’m an especially big fan of using the frictional force on my IT band, quads, and anterior tibialis (the muscle running along your shins). You can also use it on your low back, hamstrings, or calves.
- Use it as a massage ball. If you have any really painful knots in your glutes, hips, or back (or really, anywhere else — those are just typical “hot spots”), you can use the ball end of the Namastick to really dig into those testy points. Once you’ve found the knot, apply pressure, then move the stick or an adjacent body part (like your leg), to further dig into the spot and release the tension.
Just remember a few key tips:
First, if you’ve ever knocked your shin on a table, you know that bone-on-wood doesn’t feel good. The Namastick is designed to be used on soft tissue, so keep it away from your spine, pelvic bones, scapula, knees, or tibia. Really, any bony points.
Next, when applying frictional force, you want to apply pressure to the muscle and hold the Namastick in place for a couple seconds before you start moving the stick. Once you’ve dug into the muscle for a second, then you can s-l-o-w-l-y begin moving the stick along the length of your muscle. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to myofascial release.
Finally, play around with the Namastick and get creative with how you use it. There’s no real right or wrong answer, as long as you’re following the basic rules.
Win Your Own Namastick!
Namastick is generously giving away a Namastick Original and a Namastick Mini to Girls Gone Sporty readers. One person will win the Original, and a second will win the Mini. If you’d like a chance to score one of these two prizes, go ahead and follow the instructions below!