I've owned a foam roller for something like 15 years and this has always been in the back of my mind: How do you innovate on such a simple design? After all, it's just a (huge) cylinder!
After many months and almost as many prototypes we have developed something in-line with our founding design principles of multi-functionality, portability, and the anatomical shape of the human body: The RAD Axle, a next-gen foam roller that is a fraction of the size of the going average but packs even more of a punch.
We had to step back and ask ourselves and the foam rolling community what we're doing with them and why we still keep these tools around. It comes down to being able to extend the back comfortably and work the legs in the same session. The legs and the back are two different design challenges that are more or less in opposition to each other: the back needs a spinal recess to keep things comfortable, but sticking a deep groove in the middle of a roller makes it awkward for your legs to navigate around. Through the prototyping process we found a happy medium that would serve both purposes and looks really cool, too!
Like most choices, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. The Helix is a much smaller tool, allowing you to generate more pressure in areas like the lumbar spine, hips, or TA (the muscle on the front of your shin). The spinal recess on the Helix is also much smaller, which helps compress right up near the spine without being directly on the spinous processes.
The Axle is tuned to helping you get more movement in the spine because of it's taller size, as well as greater ease of access to large muscle groups like the quads, the muscles on the side of the ribcage, and the IT band. When you try both of these RAD tools you'll realize the Axle and the Helix feel completely different despite how similarly they might look.
Personally, I like it for the Serratus Anterior, the relatively flat muscle that hugs the ribcage below the shoulder blade. It's super important for shoulder motion but typically avoided because it's awkward to get to. Most foam rollers sit right on the rib cage when trying to reach it and because of that working the Serratus Anterior can be painful or uncomfortable. Not anymore!
Oh, does it ever. The Axle has several different usages you may not immediately think up. Set it on one end like a pillar and the RAD Atom fits perfectly into the 'funnel' shaped hollow on the sides allowing you to work the chest muscles. The hole through the center of the cylinder allows the RAD Rod to be inserted as well so you can use it to roll out someone else, or just for extra handholds to guide through your back.
Moral of the story? The Axle is a game-changer for your body and won’t be a clumsily gigantic eyesore at your home, gym, or office. You know you want one. Get RAD. Get Rolling.