Common Questions about the Smartroller® and products
Why is the Smartroller a better foam roller and balance tool?
The Smartroller is more comfortable and adaptable than traditional round rollers. It is safer to use and offers two surface options, making it perfect for beginners and experts alike. The Smartroller is more versatile than most other balance tools on the market because it addresses both spinal alignment and upright balance. It also allows users to simulate functional balance positions and normal movement, helping them refine their balance skills gradually and confidently without over-challenging. In addition, the Smartroller’s surface makes it the natural balance tool for sports such as golf, baseball, tennis, snowboarding, etc.
How do I know if the Smartroller is right for me?
Just as with any piece of exercise equipment, only you can determine if the Smartroller is right for you. The Smartroller lies on the floor and rocks back and forth under your weight, purposely challenging your ability to balance. While the Smartroller is closer to the floor and is more difficult to tip over than traditional 6" round rollers, you need to keep this inherent movement in mind when using it, especially if you suffer from balance disorders or vertigo. Please check with your health and fitness professional if you wonder whether the Smartroller is right for you. Then follow the simple guidelines for use included with the product and use the Smartroller prudently at your own level of ability.
Which side of the Smartroller should I use?
Pick a side that suits your needs and ability. With the flatter side up (i.e. against the body) the Smartroller is generally more comfortable to lie on, but more challenging to stand on. The rounder side up feels more like a traditional round roller to lie on, but is less challenging to stand on.
How often should I use the Smartroller?
Generally speaking, regular or even daily use produces the best results, but it depends on what you want to accomplish. Many people use the Smartroller simply to relax tired muscles or warm up before exercise. Others find that integrating the Smartroller into their fitness routine develops better balance, more efficient movement, core strength and enhanced performance. Regular use can also help retrain muscles to improve posture.
How long should I lie on the Smartroller?
You don't need to lie on the Smartroller long to feel a difference, and when you first start, you should only lie on it for a few minutes to observe the effects. Follow the included guidelines and make sure to avoid any strain or discomfort as you proceed. Gradually increase your session time from a few minutes to longer periods as you become more comfortable and your skill level improves. The feeling of relaxation you experience encourages frequent use, which can lead to healthy changes in posture, more flexibility and better balance.
How should I incorporate this into my regular fitness routine?
Follow the Smart Essentials (link) to use your Smartroller to prepare for your regular fitness and sports routine. Using your Smartroller first stimulates and refines multiple muscle groups, helps you focus on your alignment and balance, improves your overall performance and puts an element of fun back in your workout. The Smartroller can also be the key component in a complete training system designed to improve balance skills, movement awareness, and core fitness.
What are the long-range benefits of Smartroller use?
Using the Smartroller regularly can have many long range benefits, including greater flexibility, heightened movement awareness, improved posture and better balance. People using the Smartroller as a self-care tool can find relaxation and relief in far less time than when they started out. Fitness and sports enthusiasts can effectively build smart strength and improve coordination to help them avoid injury. Pilates, Yoga and Feldenkrais® users will find that regular use cultivates a new level of awareness and sensitivity to body-mind relationships. And competitive athletes and trainers can use the Smartroller to improve athletic performance, helping to better realize their individual and team potential.
Can the Smartroller help my aching back?
The Smartroller is a wonderful self-help tool that can be used to relax and relieve a tired, aching back. A tired back often results from inefficient use of back muscles. The Smartroller helps recruit other, less fatigued muscles, which takes the strain off the overused ones. Of course, a "quick fix" for a tired back doesn't instantly and permanently undo years of inefficient movement and poor posture. If you get up off the Smartroller and immediately return to habitual movement patterns that caused your sore back, the relief will be temporary. Retraining muscles to overcome longstanding habits and move more efficiently takes time and commitment. That is why we recommend regular use and following the Smart Essentials.
Can the Smartroller improve my athletic performance (i.e. golf)?
The Smartroller has great potential to improve sports performance because it stimulates greater freedom of movement and better balance -- key components of every sports activity, golf, racquet sports, swimming and aquatics, running and ball sports. That is why competitive athletes, trainers and physical therapists have been using foam rollers for years. The Smartroller’s versatility makes it a powerful tool that is adaptable to any sports-specific training program.
Can I strengthen my abs using the Smartroller?
The Smartroller is a great tool for strengthening many different muscles, including abs, but it is an even better tool for developing overall fitness and core strength. Unless you are a model or competitive body builder, washboard abs are less important than having the strength and flexibility to support functional movement. You need functional core strength to balance, move well, perform at your peak and even to prevent back pain. That said, the Smartroller is an ideal tool for strengthening both the external surface abdominals as well as the internal muscles responsible for core strength and overall fitness.
Can the Smartroller improve my posture?
This is one of the Smartroller's main strengths. It is helpful to remember that posture (good or bad) is not some fixed thing; it is dynamic -- constantly changing with different activities. Poor posture results from inefficient movement -- a lack of choice in how to move, and it develops over years, often from putting too much work into too few muscles, over-firing them to maintain balance. With regular use, the Smartroller can help you retrain muscles to move with less work, thus giving you choices for more efficient movement and posture.
Can the Smartroller be used for Yoga?
The Smartroller is a versatile tool for Yoga because it can be used as a prop or lightweight bolster to enhance the restorative effects of various postures. The Smartroller is much more user-friendly than rolled up blankets for inverted poses or asanas and it is useful in achieving postures otherwise limited by tight muscles or other physical restraints.
Why is a "body scan" important before using the Smartroller?
A Smart Scan (body scan) helps you compare how you feel before and after using the Smartroller . That is important because change happens when the body can sense a difference. Being aware of subtle differences in how your body contacts a fixed surface like the floor is key to changing postural habits ingrained over time. The subtle changes you notice lying down can translate into long term benefits you are able to sense while standing.
How does using the Smartroller promote awareness?
Awareness has to do with sensing and noticing differences. The Smartroller gently awakens your body to sense and adapt to an unfamiliar curved surface, stimulating your awareness as you try to maintain your balance. Doing a conscious Smart Scan (body scan) before and after using the Smartroller encourages you to notice subtle differences in the way you contact the floor and move. Once you are aware of those differences, you can choose more functional, less pain-inducing ways of moving.
Why should exercises be done slowly and gently?
Working faster and harder does not produce the best results and may even have the opposite effect. Work smarter, not harder. Slow, small, gentle movements, such as those included in the Ten Fundamentals program, give the body time to learn new movement patterns and recruit different muscles than the large ones we depend heavily on. They encourage awareness of movement restrictions and subtle differences in the smoothness and quality of movement. They also help you avoid injury.
Can a 6" half round roller do the same thing as the Smartroller?
No. Feel the space behind your spine. Is it perfectly flat? The flat side of a traditional half roller isn't anatomically friendly; its edges interfere with the shoulder girdle when you lie on your back and can pinch the skin as you rock back and forth. The Smartroller is designed to fit your back's channel better, for greater comfort. It also is designed to rock back and forth no matter which side is up, for better range of motion and gentle stretching (the kind of stretching you watch when you cat wakes up from a nap).
Where can I buy a Smartroller?
What if foam rollers are too short for my long 6’3” frame?
No one should scrunch up to fit on a foam roller. The unique shape of the Smartroller allows you to add on a link on either end to make it longer. The two don’t have to be attached, because the Smartroller doesn’t roll away. In fact there are many creative ways the extended link could help with body awareness. For instance, an added link at the head position can offer movement different from the torso, creating a way to coordinate better movement at your neck.
What if the Smartroller is too firm?
Having a firm contact, like a firm mattress or a firm chair, provides you with a structure of support to push or connect to. We developed our early skills for movement by pushing into the floor, rising up to hold onto a chair, etc. The Smartroller is effective in recreating an environment to learn better movement by offering this firm support. But if the feedback is unpleasant and uncomfortable, you need to work up to this. Try folding up a beach towel and laying this onto the Smartroller, or add a small piece of foam to the area that seems the most unpleasant. If all else fails, make your own roller by rolling up a blanket, the same length to prepare to use the Smartroller when you are ready.
I find that my neck feels stiff when I lie on the Smartroller, any suggestions?
Many of us have shortened the muscles on the back of our neck from looking at computers and smart phones. This is what PT’s call a forward head posture. Try placing a link at the end of the Smartroller and add a wide book underneath the link, or maybe two to provide the right support for your head position. By positioning your head to align with your mid spine, you are able to address your whole spine your movements, and therefore are able to improve your postural changes. You might be surprised to see that after regular use, you need fewer books to support your head, and your neck muscles are not as tight as they were before.
I'm confused, can you describe all the products, what do I do with the Links? Sits? Do the Links need to be stuck together?
There are 4 smart products:
1. A Smartroller (one 36” long, two sided, eye-shaped foam roller),
2. Links that come as a pair. Links are like links of a chain, and have the same shape as the Smartroller, and are a 1/4 the length. The Links have a lot of options:
-Four together to make a segmented roller and do not need to be attached (they have a topsy-turvy shape, won’t roll away, and offer separate motions by being turned one way or the other to allow for even more dynamic options)
-Two as a pair to stand, lie, rest your wrists on, etc.
-One of the pair to add to the Smartroller on either end for more length
-For support under the head when there isn't a way to rest the head without additional height; by propping up underneath with a book for a custom postural support you can reduce any strain in the back of the beck and allow for postural corrections to come in naturally
3. Sits that come as a pair. They are for sitting, but can be under the scapula, the back, almost anywhere to heighten a sensory motor experience while resting on them.
4. Guide (which explains all of this in more detail) and 100's of exercises for integrated movement awareness, balance, strength and coordination..