Products Tested:

  • Rumble Roller (RR) Deep Tissue Rolling
  • Gator Cross Frictional Massager

Rating: 5/5 Stars

MSRP: check here

Source: Rumble Roller Website, Amazon, Sports & Running stores

Supplied By: Rumble Roller

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Summary: 3 ‘rollers’ available; X-FIRM; ORIGINAL; GATOR
Rumble Roller RumbleRoller

5.5 dia. x 22" long
(144mm x 550mm)
Full-Size: 6 dia. x 31" long
(150mm x 790mm)
Mid-Size: 5.5 dia. x 22" long
(144mm x 550mm)
Compact: 5 dia. x 13" long
(125mm x 130mm)
Full-Size: 6 dia. x 31" long
(150mm x 790mm)
Mid-Size: 5.5 dia. x 22" long
(144mm x 550mm)
Compact: 5 dia. x 13" long
(125mm x 130mm)
MSRPGATOR: View HereFull-Size: View Here
Mid-Size: View Here
Compact: View Here
Full-Size: View Here
Mid-Size: View Here
Compact: View Here
MODEL TESTEDGATOR: 5.5 dia. x 22" longMid-Size: 5.5 dia. x 22" longMid-Size: 5.5 dia. x 22" long
TYPEMEDIUM High CompressionMEDIUM Deep Tissue MassageX-Firm Deep Tissue Massage

  • Least 'intrusive' of rollers tested.

  • Smaller bumps allow for high compressive forces in the muscle.

  • Cross frictional massage tool.

  • 3 Lengths available.

  • Softer than the X-Firm

  • Target point/localized trigger release tool

  • Larger but softer knobby bumps that are more of what most of us can handle without crying when we work on a trigger point. Athletes will understand this.

  • 3 Lengths available.

  • Target point/localized trigger release tool

  • Large and hard knobby bumps that are a similar feeling as when a Physical Therapist uses their elbow to release a trigger point -OUCH


  • Same compression as with a PVC pipe, but much less pain and/or soft tissue damage.

  • Outside Material is easy on the skin.

  • Can also be used efficiently over clothing.

  • Can be used directly on skin without any pulling.

  • Original firmness (Medium), more ideal for beginners.

  • Inside of roller is foam allowing support for the knobbies.

  • Outside Material is easy on the skin.

  • Can also be used efficiently over clothing.

  • Much harder knobbies than the blue 'original'.

  • Trigger point release tool that really gets into the knot.

  • Outside Material is easy on the skin.

  • Can also be used efficiently over clothing.


  • Not available in a needed longer length (31" to 32").

  • Some may not like the large knobbies, i.e, might prefer the Gator's much smaller bumps.

  • Definitely not for begineers The knobbies are pretty large and hard. Definitely for a hard and deep tissue massage.


All tests were conducted with the rollers held in the Transverse plane or, perpendicular to the spine. There are other rolling techniques that can be used with the rollers held in the Sagittal plane or, parallel to the spine, but, for these, a longer roller (31”-32”) is required.

To test the rollers, I used each one on the following; feet, calves, hamstraings, glutes/piriformis, mid back/upper back, neck & trapezius (traps), latissimus dorsi (lats) and quadriceps. No IT band rolling nor lower back rolling

Note 1: At 31”, each roller was wide enough to be able to accommodate rolling both hamstrings at once, both glutes at the same time, both quadricepts simultaneously. I would not really opt for the shorter models except if you were going to take them along with you on vacation or business travel.

Note 2: I went into a local 24-hour fitness studio and noticed they had several LONG 4’ and 5’ very hard foam rollers. With 100% exposed foam (no covering), they were already showing signs of hard use. Small pieces of the foam missing, dents and gouges, etc. Rumble Rollers are very durable and I firmly believe that any of the Rumble Rollers can be used in a professional gym for years without any deterioration.

In fact, the outer shell of each of these tested rollers is molded from a proprietary EVA/polyolefin blend having several times the strength, tear and abrasion resistance of conventional foam rollers. Rumble Rollers don’t have a hollow core like most other rollers. Rumble Rollers use a solid high-density EVA foam cores that won’t fatigue or crack over time. Having a foam core actually does allow the Rumble Roller to conform better to your body.


As with any roller, its best to roll very slowly and deliberately over the trigger point and/or scar tissue. Fast rolling can actually be detrimental. Find the trigger point then hold roller over that point, or go very slowly back and forth.


Like the Rumble Rollers, to use the Gator, slowly roll until you find a trigger point. Then, slowly roll back and forth over the trigger point.

Here’s how the Gator works a little differently than the Rumble Rollers. Pressing harder and deeper isn’t the only way to massage a muscle. In addition to using the Gator as a regular foam roller, you can also use the Gator to free Rumble Roller RumbleRollerstuck tissues by ‘pulling’ them apart. This approach is often referred to as cross frictional massage and is often used by massage therapists.

This is where they will use their thumbs to apply short, firm strokes across the muscle fibers, not along the fibers. The Gator is the only foam roller that can grip your skin well enough to mimic this type of massage – and it works very well.

To do this, simply find a trigger point and instead of rolling, make an effort to shift your body an inch or so toward one end of the roller. You will want to keep the Gator’s bumps engaged with your skin, and you should feel a tugging force on the underlying muscle. Repeat and reposition the Gator as needed.

Try adding this technique whenever a muscle isn’t responding to conventional rolling movements.

The Gator is (a) the least intrusive of the 3 rollers, (b) basically won’t wear out and (c) can perform cross frictional massage.


Foam rollers only compress muscle while Rumble Rollers give you a deep tissue massage, the kind you get from a massage therapist.

So, let’s compare a conventional roller to a Rumble Roller. When you roll on a conventional (i.e., smooth surface) Rumble Roller RumbleRollerfoam roller, a compressive force is generated. The compression concentration depends on the size of the contact patch between the roller and your skin. For a typical 6″ diameter foam roller, that contact patch is large, so the amount of compression is small and the benefits of a deeper tissue massage is very limited.

To counter this limitation, athletes often progress to smaller and harder rollers, usually PVC pipes…readily available and cheap! Any local hardware store will carry 2”, 3”, and 4”. But, there is a major problem with this solution.

In fact, all hard rollers share this problem, and that is hard rollers don’t conform to the shape of your body too well. Specifically, they don’t work well around bony areas – e.g. your pelvis, spine, and scapula.

In contrast, a RumbleRoller has firm and flexible bumps that give you a deep tissue massage.

Each bump on a RumbleRoller erodes trigger points, helps restore flexibility, and brings quick relief to common types of muscular pain.


As mentioned prior, RumbleRoller’s won’t break down like other foam rollers, but their bumps will soften slightly during the first month of use. RumbleRoller considers this a normal break-in and is a non-issue since, with normal use, your muscles will become suppler and will require less aggressive care to maintain.

Two firmness options exist;

  • ORIGINAL (BLUE): Each bump of the BLUE RumbleRoller is like a thumb of a massage therapist as they knead and stretch your muscles. Recommended for both beginners and experienced users.
  • XFIRM (BLACK): Extremely firm (about 36% firmer than Original), and only recommended for experienced users with especially dense muscle tissue that doesn’t respond to normal massage pressure. Each bump of the BLACK RumbleRoller is like the end of a Physical Therapist’s elbow.

3 SIZE OPTIONSRumble Roller RumbleRoller

Unlike the Gator which only comes in one size, RumbleRoller’s are available in three different sizes. Each BLUE has the same feel as all other BLUE models, each BLACK has the identical feel to all other BLACK models. This is due to all bump sizes and bump spacing’s are identical in all Rumble Rollers.

The BLUE Rumble Roller is (a) less intrusive than the BLACK, (b) basically won’t wear out and (c) is like a deep tissue massage.

The BLACK Rumble Roller is the (a) 36% firmer than the BLUE, (b) won’t wear out either and (c) is for thick muscles that won’t respond to a BLUE roller.

Rumble Roller RumbleRoller


Each roller is designed for a different purpose. They work and feel different. Each has their advantages.
I scored each roller against its purpose, not against each other and with this scoring parameter, each stands head and shoulders above the competition.
These are all highly recommended. You will just need to determine your needs.
I’ve used these for several weeks and they have really helped loosen up the trigger points one gets from cycling.

Further Roller reading: