While often viewed as an issue for people dealing with an injury or going through some form of rehabilitation, mobility training is a good idea for everyone, especially those involved in strenuous physical activities.
Poor mobility can lead to a severely impaired range of motion, which can hamper you during exercise, make you much more susceptible to injury, and generally lower your quality of life.
For many people, they can make incredible gains to their mobility with simple methods such as stretching, massaging, and even simply performing resistance exercises with lower weights than they usually would through a full range of motion.
However, those who want, or need, to take things a step further should look to mobility tools, such as rollers or resistance bands.
These are great additions to any routine and can dramatically help you to improve your range of motion, relax muscles, relieve joint pain, and reduce muscle soreness.
That’s why, in today’s article, I am going to look at some of the best mobility tools on the market, to help anyone who is looking to make incredible gains to their mobility but isn’t sure where to start.
Scapular Mobility Tools
Scapular mobility is an important issue for anyone hoping to get the most from their upper body workouts.
Those that regularly work on their scapular mobility notice direct benefits in their resistance training, which can range from a simple reduction in pain to dramatic increases in range of motion.
The most popular and effective scapular mobility tools are light resistance training and stretching with resistance bands, as well as rolling or massaging the area with pinpoint rollers or balls.
Both are great for allowing you to train to your maximum potential and reaching your strength goals.
Resistance bands are a great choice for improving your scapular mobility, as they can create tension in a number of unique ways.
They can help you to warm up muscles and get deeper into stretches, which will allow you to work through your full range of motion while exercising.
Fit Simplify Resistance Bands feature a complete loop design, making them equally well suited to both upper and lower body mobility training.
Measuring 12 inches by 2 inches, they are incredibly heavy duty and can stand up to anything you will throw at them.
They come in five different resistance levels, which include extra light, light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy. Each band is colour coded to its resistance, to ensure you are always certain of which level you are using.
Priced at $12.95, they are incredibly affordable, making them accessible for users of all budgets. They are a fabulous option to assist with your stetches or warm you up before a workout, both of which are essential for optimal levels of mobility.
They come in a stylish carry bag, perfect for transporting them around and keeping everything together, while an exercise guide offers illustrations of many of the potential options to help get you started with your band.
- Affordable and great value
- High quality design and manufacture
- Perfect for resistance training, stretching, and mobility
- 5 different levels of resistance available
- Looped design is great for both upper and lower body mobility
- Some complaints about ripping over time but these are rare
The Stroops – VITL is an all-in-one resistance band training system.
The set comes complete with 4, 36-inch medium resistance “slastix”, offering you countless options on how and when you work out, which allows each user to customise their training experience.
This is furthered by a range of attachments that allow you to work the entire body. These include 5 agility dots, 2 cloth anchors, 2 foot straps, 2 textured grip handles, and 1 swivel belt.
With so much potential for variation, it is an ideal addition to a home gym setup, as it will not only help with your mobility and range of motion but can also be used for resistance training as well.
While the recommended retail price of $163.19 will seem a little steep for some, it still manages to provide enough options to make it a good purchase.
- More durable than most competing resistance band systems
- Allows you to train anywhere and at any time, however you choose
- Can be used for multiple purposes including warming up, increasing range of motion, corrective exercises, and improvement of performance
- Easy and straightforward to use
- Capable of providing a full body workout
- Quite expensive
- Additional cost for spine strap
- Handles could be more ergonomic
Lacrosse balls are one of the cheapest and simplest tools available for scapular mobility.
They work in almost the same way as a foam roller, however they are much better at targeting specific spots that foam rollers can’t reach.
This makes them much more suitable to be used as a scapular mobility tool, as you will be able to roll almost every point of the scapula and shoulders, improving mobility through myofascial release.
The Champion Sports Official Lacrosse Ball features the official size and weight, as determined by NOCSAE (The National Operating Committee On Standards For Athletic Equipment).
It is SEI certified and approved for use by both the NCAA and NFHS.
This provides confidence that it is a product of the highest quality and is going to stand up to the rigours placed on it.
It also lets you know that it is of the correct size to get into all those hard to reach areas around the scapula on your back and shoulders, ensuring you can hit all the major trigger points. It is available in a variety of colours to suit your preference, as well as sold in packs of 1, 2, 3, 6, or 12, which sell for between $5.99 and $36.44.
- Perfect size for massaging hard to reach areas around the scapula
- Great value for money
- Durable and long lasting
- Easy to use
- Occasional complaints of unpleasant smells when they are new
Mobility Tools for Achilles Tear Recovery
The achilles tendon is an incredibly delicate part of the body and when it gets injured, the road to recovery is often incredibly long and taxing.
This is why it is incredibly important to warm the area up before exercising but not to push too hard with your stretches.
If you do injure the area, your first response should always be to contact a medical professional, as physical therapy is very likely to be necessary. However, as your recovery progresses, you will often be allowed or even encouraged to perform additional exercises to help the issue yourself.
This can range from simple mobility drills and stretches to the use of unique mobility tools, such as foam rollers and resistance bands.
The number of tools and the intensity of stretches that can be used will increase as your recovery progresses.
However, due to the delicacy of the area, it is important to always follow the advice of a doctor, before making a decision on your own.
A foam roller is the most popular mobility tool, not just for the achilles but for the entire body.
They are easy to understand and can be used to target myofascial release in various parts of the body, leading to increases in range of motion, as well as muscle recovery and performance.
They are perhaps at their best when used to treat larger muscle groups, or those that are delicate and need the pressure spread out a little more.
The Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller features a patented design that includes a superior, multi-density exterior over a rigid, hollow core.
It is made from high quality imported foam and other materials that won’t break or lose their shape over time.
Its grid pattern allows it to target both big and small parts of the body and, as a result, has garnered it a favourable reputation with people in the fitness industry, ranging from physio and massage therapists to athletes, coaches, and personal trainers.
At $30.30, it is a little more expensive than some other options on the market, however this is easily offset by its incredible longevity.
You also need to take access to the online instruction video library you receive when purchasing your roller into account when looking at value.
This helps give you a number of ways to target trigger points that the vast majority of users simply wouldn’t be aware of otherwise.
- Great value when taking everything it offers and comes with into account
- Grid pattern makes it effective for targeting both big and small areas
- Durable and offers incredible longevity
- Some may find it a little soft when compared to similar alternatives
- May seem a little pricey compared to competitors
Ankle and Calf Stretcher
An ankle and calf stretcher is a unique tool specifically designed for targeting the lower part of the legs.
It is effective for both stretching and improving mobility and can work wonders for lengthening the achilles tendon. That said, if dealing with an achilles tear, it is essential to consult a physician before you begin using the stretcher, to ensure you don’t make the situation any worse.
The Vive Foot Rocker is ergonomically designed to your foot, with an effective foot plate and non-slip rubber strips ensuring correct foot posture throughout use.
This helps it to isolate the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the lower leg, to provide a truly deep stretch.
It increases range of motion, improves circulation, boosts flexibility, prevents injuries, reduces fatigue, and relieves pain. It can then also be used to treat conditions like achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, ankle strains, arch pain, and numerous other chronic conditions. The design including a mid-foot gap also allows it to be used to strengthen the ankles directly as well.
At $19.99 it offers incredible value, and a lifetime guarantee ensures you can have confidence in the value and longevity of your purchase.
- Great for foot and ankle strengthening and mobility
- Ideal recovery tool for various lower leg issues
- Ergonomically designed for maximum comfort
- Offers incredible value
- Lifetime warranty provides complete confidence in the product
- Some complaints about comfort, dependant on your foot size
Rogue Fitness Mobility Tools
Rogue Fitness are a premium brand in the sports and fitness industry.
They offer a number of their own takes on traditional mobility tools and are best suited for people who like to use reputable names, whether for the style, confidence, or any other reason.
Rogue Fitness’s version of a traditional foam roller works in pretty much the same way as a traditional foam roller, only with a few extra benefits.
The Rogue Rumble Rollers are Rogue Fitness’s range of foam rollers, which have been scientifically engineered to mimic the pressure of a human thumb to offer effective deep tissue massages.
This design makes them much more aggressive than traditional foam rollers, allowing them to break up knotted muscle fibres, decrease muscle tension, and diminish tightness.
Rumble Rollers come in two different options, blue and black, both of which retail for $64.95.
The blue Rumble Roller features firm but flexible bumps that come the closest of the two rollers to recreating the effect of an actual thumb. It is great for all parts of the body, although is especially effective around bony areas.
This is the option recommended for anyone switching over from a traditional foam roller, no matter whether you are a beginner or more experienced.
The black Rumble Roller is the extra firm option and is 36% firmer than the blue model. This helps break up deeper, more dense muscle and tissue knots that don’t usually respond to the pressure from a traditional massage.
The black Rumble Roller is only recommended for experienced users and may still be too painful to use on some of the more tender body parts.
- Fabulous for a deep tissue massage
- Incredibly durable with great longevity
- Can be used on the whole body
- Better at targeting trigger points than normal rollers
- Choice of firmness
- Much more expensive than most comparable options
Compression Floss Bands
Floss Bands are a unique mobility tool that work in a similar way to compression sleeves.
They are wrapped around joints like the ankles, elbows, forearms, hips, knees, and shoulders, to increase blood flow and compress any swelling.
This allows them to help recovery and improve mobility and range of motion, particularly in joints that are stiff due to an injury.
VooDoo Floss Bands offer compression, tack, and flossing, to help compress the swelling out of damaged joints and tissues, without the need for any additional materials.
They are notable for their increased level of compression when compared to similar products.
Their ability to mobilise and restore tissues makes them the perfect tool to improve range of motion, restore joint mechanics, and remove any stiffness from previously injured tissues or joints.
VooDoo Floss Bands come in packs of two, so you can use them on multiple limbs at once or double up on a particularly problematic area.
They are available in two lengths, a 7-inch option that costs $25.25 and a 28-inch option that retails for $44.25.
- Higher level of compression than similar alternatives
- Great for joint mobility and restoration
- Help with pain relief
- Durable and long lasting
- Choice of lengths and price options
- More expensive than some rivals
Rogue Fitness’s resistance bands work in the same way as a traditional version, just with their own spin and stamp of quality placed on them.
Rogue Monster Bands come in a choice of 8 different resistances, which range from 15 to 200 pounds of pressure.
While all the bands measure 41 inches in length, they will vary in thickness and width depending on the resistance.
Each band is colour coded dependant on the resistance, so you will never need to worry about using the wrong band. Incredibly versatile, they can be taken and used on the go, allowing you to never miss a workout, no matter where you are.
They can be ordered individually, in pairs, in a pull-up package that features 5 bands of 3 different resistances, or as a full set, with prices ranging from $15.75 to $71, depending on which package you choose.
- High quality materials and manufacture
- Various resistance levels available
- Order individually or in packages to suit you budgets and requirements
- Great customer service
- Some of the best bands available
- Expensive when compared to similar alternatives
A roller ball is a specially designed mobility tool that combines the benefits of lacrosse balls with some of the features of more premium foam rollers, such as bumps and grids.
The MobilityWOD Supernova 2.0 is a fabulous alternative to traditional foam rollers and massage balls, offering all the best aspects of both products.
Designed by Kelly Starrett, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, it is scientifically developed to produce maximum results.
Its diameter of 4.72 inches is perfect for getting into even the most hard to reach areas, while the revolutionary groove pattern is designed for higher global shear pressures.
The strong TPE tread on the grooves gives you confidence that it will never slip when in use, while its robust nylon frame is optimised for the greatest durability possible.
It is latex free, to avoid any potential users having issues with allergies, and retails for $50 per ball.
- Great for targeting hard to reach places and trigger points
- High-quality, durable product
- Incredibly effective
- Saves you needing a separate foam roller and ball
- Very expensive
A mobility stick is a multi-purpose mobility tool that can be used in 2 very different ways.
The longer option can be used like a light barbell, where you can perform exercises with limited weight, as well as use it to help you stretch.
The shorter options are a much more aggressive option to a foam roller, where you can roll them over your muscles or press and twist the ends in, to try and break up the most stubborn of knots.
The Rogue Mobility Stick is a version of the short style of mobility stick and comes in two options, knurled or slick, both of which are 16 inches long.
You also have a choice of three colours, which includes black, blue, and red.
What makes the Rogue Mobility Stick different to similar options is the cradle that comes with it. This cradle is made from laser-cut, 11-gauge steel and secures the stick 2.75 inches off the floor.
This allows it to be used in a similar manner to a foam roller, using leverage to push your weight down onto it, providing the deepest rolling experience possible, which is ideal for athletes or those that take part in strenuous physical activities.
This also creates a better angle for targeting the hips and larger muscle groups. The UHMW plastic grooves at either end of the cradle make the bar secure yet easy to change, while four rubber grommets on the underside stop it from moving around while in use.
The cradle retails for $55, while the bars cost $25 for the slick option and $35 for the knurled.
- Incredibly unique design
- Highly effective
- Provides greater pressure and leverage than a foam roller
- Combines some of the functions of numerous mobility tools
- High quality, extremely durable design
- Some complaints that the roller stick can be cold on the skin at first
Mobility tools are something that everyone should look into.
With the benefits they offer ranging from improved athletic performance to increased quality of life, there is virtually no one who wouldn’t benefit from using one in some shape or form.
So, rather than waiting until you get injured and needing to improve your mobility or rehabilitate a damaged joint or tendon, why not pick your favourite mobility tool from the list and start making the most of everything they have to offer today.