Gear Review – The Grid foam roller

About a week ago, we decided to finally scrape up some money and upgrade our old foam roller. We had been using a traditional roller, and recently I started to notice the typical softening/breaking down of the foam that happens with time. With that in mind, I remembered seeing the TriggerPoint Grid roller at various race expos, online, and even at our local shop many times. It seemed like a clever idea- a hollow roller, made of a rigid plastic frame, and surrounded on the outside by different patterns of foam. TriggerPoint calls the different textures distrodensity zones, and they are meant to mimic various massage applications- the larger flat areas represent the palm of the hand, the long thin sections are the fingers, and the small squares are the finger tips. A clever idea and much different than the usual white or black foam rollers we’re accustomed too. 

As fate would have it, recent knee pain has led me to need a foam roller constantly (hooray for quadricep tendinosis). So, I’ve been busy breaking in The Grid over the past week or two and have a few thoughts. First off, the hard plastic frame is great. I can’t see how it will break down anywhere near as fast as the old roller we had, if at all. Not only is the plastic a great idea for it’s sturdiness, it also allows The Grid to be hollow. And a hollow roller is perfect for traveling. (More on that in a second…) 

Another plus for me is the size- or lack there of. Our old roller was roughly 3 feet long, pretty standard, and pretty much a pain. I use a roller for IT band, calves, hamstrings, quads, etc. Having a 3 foot wide roller seems like a bit much. It just seems to get in the way when trying to balance and stretch. The smaller width of The Grid also adds to the ease of travel. Sure, you can cut a traditional roller in half, or buy the shorter versions of the foam, but it still wastes a lot of precious space- important if you’re flying carry-on to a race. Add in the fact that the roller is hollow and I can easily fit my shorts, socks, race belt, gel flask, and shirt- my race day wardrobe minus my shoes can get packed inside the Grid. No way that was happening with the old foam roller!

A few thoughts on the distrodensity zones… While I can definitely feel the different zones, I’d like to toss out an idea to the gang at Triggerpoint, perhaps for version 2 of The Grid- why not have the different zones different firmness of foam? Sure, I can feel the difference between the flat/palm sections and the fingertips- the finger tips feel the softest, but this seems due to the cut pattern, rather than a different foam- but I kept thinking it would have been more beneficial in some way (or maybe just in my imagination) if the palm section was one firmness, say the standard it is now, and the long fingers, and subsequently the fingertip zones got progressively firmer. That would allow a little more bite from certain sections of the roller if you wanted it, for a trouble spot here and there. Like I said, there may be a few reasons against such an idea, but it was one of those random things I thought of while rolling away. (Anything to take my mind off the pain!)

All in all, The Grid is pretty sweet. You can check out the specifics on The Grid at Triggerpoint’s website- Their website has great info on different techniques for using The Grid, videos, etc. We recommend it hands down if you’re in the market for a new roller. Locally, you can grab one at Tribe Multisport in Scottsdale, or most online retailers including direct from Triggerpoint.


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