Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How to Use a Vibrating Foam Roller Like Tom Brady

A whosie whatsie? If Tom Brady uses one, we’re all ears. Vibrating pliability rollers are juiced up foam rollers that also contain pulsating technology. The added vibration purportedly deepens and speeds up the loosening of tight muscles and aids recovery. Basically, it involves keeping the body pliable — a major aspect of pro athlete training that many recreational dudes forget to do.

Why Do I Need to Stay Pliable?

Muscle stiffness gets worse over time and affects all athletic (i.e. physical) performance, including those 5k Turkey Trots. Experts at TB12 (a training method created by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady), say that when we don’t stay pliable, strains and injuries cause pain receptors to send SOS signals to our brain. The brain then signals muscles surrounding the strain to tighten for protection. Other muscles are forced to pick up the slack which creates imbalances and more injuries.

Related Videos
tom brady new england patriots 2019
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

“If you want proof that pliability training works, I’m it,” says Brady. “I was the 199th pick of the 2000 draft — an athlete that had always been told he didn’t have the right body for football. No one had believed I’d play a year of college ball let alone in the NFL. Not a lot of players have ever started as quarterback while in their 40s.”

Brady calls pliability training the “missing leg” of nearly every strength and conditioning programming. So the GOAT secret to success may not be staying away from nightshade vegetables, but trying vibrating foam rolling.

How to Use a Vibrating Foam Roller

The cool part about using a vibrating pliability roller is you can do it on the ground watching the game on Sunday. TB12 experts do say pliability training has the best results immediately before or after a workout, but runners who swear by foam rolling will get in a quick 20-minute session any time and anywhere.

Before a workout, a vibrating roller can loosen the muscles and reduce the risk of injury. Following a flex, rolling out jumpstarts recovery, clears built-up lactic acid (like a deep-tissue massage), and begins correcting any muscle imbalances that took place during the workout.

“If you want proof that pliability training works, I’m it,” says Tom Brady.

TB12 suggests focusing on one muscle for one minute at a time. Easy enough. Using a vibrating roller, target biceps and triceps, quads, and shins to start. Staying focused can be simple as downloading the TB12 app and following a workout. Other foam rolling experts like Hyperice and Trigger Point have instructional assets so dig around online. Our tip? Breathe!

If it hurts, you’re vibing too high. Start low. You won’t be in a crowded gym and should feel no need to go hard and heavy right away. Begin at the lowest setting, one minute per muscle, and see how you feel the next day. As you stay consistent, ramp up the intensity.

pliability foam roller
Miljko/Getty Images

With only a single piece of equipment and theoretically free workouts, the key to pliability success is consistency. Muscle tightens quickly and easily, so the point is to maintain pliability and retrain the muscles to stay loose.

“Through deep-force pliability work, you can take advantage of your brain’s inherent neuroplasticity,” say experts at TB12. Using a vibrating foam roller can restore the muscles’ ability to oxygenate and promote healing. This doesn’t only happen in the direct muscle but in the brain … which is very groovy.

Best Vibrating Foam Rollers

Unlike chips at the grocery store, there are only a few vibrating foam rollers to choose from. This helps. Here are four to pick from:

TB12 Vibrating Foam Roller

TB12 Vibrating Foam Roller

Obviously, the pliability tool Brady himself recommends. Durable foam encases a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and three vibration settings. It won’t rattle your brain as you’re using it, which we dig. The pros dig it, too. This is the same roller used by athletes at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center in Foxboro.

Trigger Point Grid Vibe Plus

Trigger Point Grid Vibe Plus

Best for athletes and runners who are looking for increased pain relief, this Trigger Point roller has the perfect grooved shape and a cordless, rechargeable design. It’s a shorter roller, making it easy to transport. Try on your spine for some killer back attention and relaxation.

Exl Vibrating Roller

Exl Vibrating Roller

So, you’re into torture? If vibration wasn’t intense enough for tight muscles, this roller features textured high-density foam. Those grooves will make you feel the pain, but, like, in a good way. It’s recommended to use it before a workout to promote blood flow and range of motion. The roller offers three speeds and is small enough to carry.

Hyperice Hypersphere

Hyperice Hypersphere

Try a sphere instead of a roller! If soreness and stiffness are focused in smaller areas with intense pain, a vibrating pliability sphere may serve you better than a roller. This sphere can release deep trigger points with high-intensity vibration. The most portable of them all, the Hypersphere can be used on the feet, calves, hamstrings, gluteus, hip flexors, shoulders, back, and forearms.

Editors' Recommendations

The 3 Best Treadmill Workout Tips, According to Fitness Experts
A man with earphones running on a treadmill.

As the days get cozier, there are those of us who couldn't be paid any amount to get outside for that natural runner's high. Indoor exercises, such as running on a treadmill, help us get a good dose of cardio. But treadmill workouts (more like "dreadmill workouts") can get mundane and repetitive -- making you feel as if you're trapped on the proverbial hamster wheel.

Here’s the thing: Even hardcore outdoor runners spend time on the treadmill as a serious component of their training. So, it’s definitely worth adding to your fitness routine. We spoke with Colleen Logan of Icon Fitness -- the company behind NordicTrack -- and Brian Beckstead of athletic shoe brand Altra about everything treadmill, from choosing the right treadmill to approaching treadmill training.
Getting Started
Beckstead, who is a competitive trail runner in his off-hours, uses the treadmill as a regular part of his winter training; mostly for shorter recovery runs. “Keep it interesting and avoid it becoming repetitious by inserting a lot of inclines. They’re great to strengthen those climbing muscles and are low impact, too; important to knee recovery. Of course, they also burn a ton of calories. I also like to use treadmills for speed work where I go hard for two minutes, then easy for a bit, which really breaks up the monotony.” 

Read more
Can These Blood Flow Restriction Cuffs Improve Your Workouts?
Controlling the SAGA Fitness blood flow restriction cuff from a SMART phone.

We all work hard. With myriad obligations, sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day to get in a nice long workout. Heck, sometimes there’s not even enough time to eat. 

In response, blood flow restriction cuffs are popular training tools among professionals. BFR reduces blood flow to the arm or leg using a cuff or strap wrapped tightly around limbs. Developed over the last two decades by medical professionals aiming for quicker athletic rehabilitation, and eventually by celebrities looking for more efficient workouts, BFR cuffs are now mainstream for busy achievers. 

Read more
Biometrics 101: What You Can Learn from Patrick Mahomes’ Longtime Trainer
patrick mahomes workout guide 0  whoop 1

Behind a brilliant player like the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes is a brilliant trainer. That man is Bobby Stroupe, a 41-year-old lifelong Texan who met the future football great when he was in fourth grade. Back then, everything was done by group, and Mahomes was just one of many kids who, in small pods, may not have recognized their own future greatness but were united by the desire to get better. And that’s what the future Super Bowl Champ and NFL MVP would do, one day at a time. “I know from the outside a lot of people feel like he’s this gifted person,” Stroupe says. “And while that’s obvious, he’s one of the hardest working human beings that I’ve ever been around.”

Stroupe knows a bit about hard work himself: Once the smallest kid in his class, boy or girl, through the eighth grade and with Forrest Gump-style braces on his legs, he worked through his growth spurt to set high school records in track and field, powerlifting, and football. It was in the latter that he would focus, playing in college and later on an arena team, though even then, he says, the sport wasn’t his ultimate goal. “From a pretty young age, I knew exactly what I wanted to do,” he says, “and what I wanted to do was help kids who were like myself.”
Related Guides

Read more