REVIEW – I don’t know about the rest of you, but anytime I try a new type of exercise or do some form of physical exertion that I have not done in a while I get some really sore muscles. A lot of time, I have tight muscles that I don’t even know that I have. I had a personal trainer a few years ago that taught me the joys of foam rolling. Foam rolling is where you take a long tube made of stiff foam (some can be really stiff and come with nobs on them) and roll it back and forth across your muscles using your body weight to press down. This will slowly work out the knots and tension in your muscles. I have a foam roller that I currently use, but the HotRock Foam Roller promises to give you heat along with the roller. Let’s see if it makes a difference.
What is it?
The HotRock foam roller is a super stiff foam roller that has ‘SmartWire’ technology built in to provide heat along the surface of the roller. It has a temperature range of 110 degrees to 175 degrees.
What’s in the box?
- Speed Heat carrying case
- Instruction card
- Warnings and caution pamphlet
- HotRock Foam roller
- Created by a Doctor of Physical Therapy
- Heats up past 175°F in under 5 minutes
- Maintains max temperature over time
- Stimulates deep tissue massage
- Intuitive controls for easy operation
- Fits inside your gym bag
- Work from home recovery essential
- Temperature range of 110-175 degrees
- Built-in timer – set in 10-minute increments to time your sessions
- Auto shut off between 30 – 90 minutes programmable
- 9ft cord
- 12.75″ Long x 5.375″ diameter
- Integrated Storage for the 9-ft AC power cord
- 2.55 lbs
- Dual-core Body – The multi-layer design of ABS plastic and EVA foam provides the perfect balance of deep pressure to improve recovery.
Design and features
The HotRock has a built-in display to show the temperature it is heating to and the goal temperature. It also has buttons to turn it off/on, adjust the temperature up or down, and a timer button to set the time to turn it off.
On the opposite side of the roller, you will see a flap that opens up to see the storage cord.
In the picture below I have pulled out the cord and placed it through the hole made to feed it through. This hole allows the cord to move freely as you use the roller.
Here is a picture of inside the roller. It looks metal, but it is black plastic reflecting my flash. You can see the cord is in a fixed position. You might think the cord would get really twisted as you use the roller, but it does not. Foam rolling involves the rolling back and forth of the roller over the muscle. You maybe roll it one full rotation, but then immediately roll it back the other way. I like how the roller has a compartment to store the cord. It makes it very easy to carry. You have to keep the roller plugged in while using it if you want heat the whole time.
This next picture is a full shot of the Speed Heat carrying case. Turning the roller on, setting your desired temperature, and then stuffing it in the case and pulling the drawstring tight will allow the roller to heat up to a full 175 degrees in five minutes.
I also took a close-up picture of the stitching on the HotRock. It uses marine-grade vinyl so sweat will wipe right off pretty easily. You can see one dangling thread. Pulling it did not cause the seam to unravel thank goodness. It could have been trimmed a little shorter. Their manual says you can remove the cover to clean it, but that sucker is on there really tight. I started to remove it but was having so much difficulty I was afraid I would not be able to get it back on.
The picture below shows the various rolling methods you can use with the HotRock. I would like to mention that this roller is a ‘short’ roller. Most foam rollers seem to come in two sizes. They are either 12-15 inches long or around 36 inches long. The one I had been using before was the longer roller. It was also pure foam. In fact, it is starting to show indentions where I use it the most. The HotRock is ABS plastic in the interior with a thin layer of EVA foam. It is very stiff and hard relatively speaking. That means I need to go slowly when rolling out muscles with knots in them since it can really hurt.
Turning on the roller, the temperature defaults to 125 degrees. You cannot set it any lower. You can raise the temperature up to 175 degrees in 5 degree intervals. The thermometer on the right lights up the dots above it to show that it is heating the device. The orange LED is lit showing the roller is turned on.
I inserted this picture to show you the max temperature setting. Once the temperature is set, the HotRock will display its current temperature with the thermometer bulb showing it is heating. As it heats up, the display shows the change in temp until it reaches the desired heat.
The picture below shows a closeup of the HotRock. You can see wavy lines on the roller. That is the area that gets heated. The full black sides on either side of the waves will get slightly warm, but they don’t contain the SmartWires that heat up. I found that when rolling muscles like my calves, quads, hamstrings, and the iliotibial band the heat was really effective.
I loved the warmth of the roller and it really seemed to make it more effective while rolling. I was a bit worried about the stiffness of the roller hurting. My quads will get knots in them from riding a bicycle and using a stiff roller over those knots can be pretty painful. The warmth helped my muscles to relax and made it a much more enjoyable experience.
I want to mention that the HotRock made lots of creaking-type noises as I used it. I pictured the interior of the thing cracking under my weight. Especially when rolling out my glutes! I had my husband who is about 275lbs use it and it made the same noises with him and had no issues working as it should. The HotRock website says it can support up to 300lbs.
The cord was long enough and I never had any issues with it twisting up on me. I will admit I thought the cord would get in the way, but it never did. You really don’t flip a roller around as you use it. In the picture below I had it plugged into a wall about four feet away and I tried all of the various rolling exercises in the chart. The cord never once tangled up on me. I just wish the entire roller would heat up instead of just the middle. That would have allowed me to do an upper back roll that I like to do, but the roller itself is too short to be comfortable for that exercise.
I want to mention that the Speed Heat bag really does help the roller get up to temperature faster. With the bag, the roller can reach 175 degrees in just under 5 minutes.
Finally, one complaint I have is the timer function. You press the timer button and 30 displays for 30 minutes. That starts a countdown to automatically shut off the roller in 30 minutes. Their website mentions you can set shutoff between 30 to 90 minutes. I tried long pressing and using the temp up and down buttons to change the timer and nothing worked.
What I like
- HEAT! Lovely warming heat. It is so awesome!
- Long 9ft cord made it really easy to use.
- Storage compartment for the cord
- Bag to store the roller inside and help it heat up
- Easier to clean than my current foam roller. It just wipes off.
What needs to be improved
- I wish the roller was longer.
- I wish the entire length of the roller heated up.
- Could not figure out how to change the timer to something other than 30 minutes.
- Does a lot of creaking during use.
I really liked using this foam roller. I think the heat makes a big difference in making your muscles respond to the technique of foam rolling. MedRock is currently offering $100 off using code FLASHSALE making the cost only $79 and I think that is well worth the price. It comes with a full one year warranty