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Gator is more beginner-friendly than RumbleRoller's deep-tissue rollers, but don't mistake it for a beginner's roller. The advanced features of this roller benefit even the most experienced athlete.
The first thing to note about the Gator is that its firm surface and small diameter (about 4.5" or 115mm) produce high compressive forces in the muscle. You'll get as much localized compression as with PVC pipe, but with much less pain or soft tissue damage.
You'll also find that the smaller diameter allows you to better work smaller body depressions, such as the arch of your foot or the curve in your neck.
Pressing harder and deeper isn't the only way to massage a muscle. Another way to free stuck tissues is to pull them apart. Of course you can't grab the deeper tissue directly, but you can move higher layers of soft tissue to create a separating (shear) force that displaces underlying layers. This approach is often referred to as cross frictional massage.
Cross frictional massage is normally done by a massage therapist who uses his thumbs or fingertips to apply short, firm strokes across the muscle fibers. RumbleRoller's Gator is the only foam roller that can grip your skin well enough to mimic this type of massage.
RumbleRoller's Gator is only produced in the popular 22" (554mm) length. The firmness (slightly softer than the Xfirm deep-tissue roller) is perfect for both rolling and cross frictional massage.
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