If the idea of a hot foam roller is intriguing you, and you don’t like the hard grid texture type foam rollers, then the MedRock HotRock Foam Roller should be a strong consideration, especially at the introductory price.
- Heated foam rolling is really pleasant on sore muscles
- Comes with a combination carry bag and preheat bag
- Comes with a reference card with foam roller illustrations
- Easy to use and read LCD
- Can store the cord inside the body of the foam roller
- Expensive at full price
- Might be too soft, depending on your foam roller preferences
- Ties you to a wall outlet
- I haven’t gotten Sleater-Kinney’s “Hot Rock” song out of my head for three days thanks to this review!
Ask any personal trainer, and they’ll tell you the best item you can have in your home for recovery is a foam roller. There might be (there will be) moments where you’re cursing the demons who forged such a torturous item, but foam rolling is a big part of keeping your body healthy and happy after a hard workout. They can be as simple as a cylinder of foam, or they can be studded with textures to dig into each knot. The new MedRock HotRock Foam Roller brings the heat to the foam rolling experience!
Before we begin, a quick primer on foam rolling, the benefits, and why everyone should have one can be found here. Ok, back to the review!
HotRock is, as the name implies, hot. It can be set to warm up anywhere from 125 degrees to 175 degrees Fahrenheit, giving your muscle massage a nice “hot stone at home” effect. It’s kind of like you left your foam roller and a heating pad alone for too long, and, well, one thing led to another…
All joking aside, it’s a heated foam roller. It’s a great concept with a few issues, but whether or not they’re deal-breakers is probably a personal preference that we’ll get to a little later.
We’ll start with what comes in the box. You get the MedRock HotRock Foam Roller as well as a “SpeedHeat” bag that’s supposed to help make the heat-up process go slightly faster. Finally, they include a full-color sheet of 9 foam roller positions to help you properly target different areas of your body, which is a nice reference card to have on hand.
The MedRock HotRock Foam Roller requires being plugged directly into a wall outlet, but in a clever twist, the cord stores inside the Hot Rock itself, so you’re in no danger of losing it or feeling like there’s yet another wire laying around. Also, the “SpeedHeat” bag doubles nicely as a storage bag.
Using the MedRock HotRock Foam Roller is very simple; plug it in, and flip it to the other end to find the LCD screen and four buttons for timer/on-off/temperature control. You turn it on, set it to preheat to your desired temperature, and can set a shutoff timer so you don’t have a moment of “OH NO I NEVER UNPLUGGED THE FOAM ROLLER” while you’re halfway to work. This not only saves you a lot of stress, it saves you from having to explain no, you didn’t misspeak, you really did leave a foam roller plugged into a wall.
MedRock indicates that the ambient temperature can impact heat-up time on the HotRock, so you should take my results with a grain of salt, but I found it took 5-6 minutes to go from room temperature to 165 degrees, regardless of whether I used the SpeedHeat bag or not.
For reference, my home was around 70 degrees, but I also had the Hot Rock sitting on the floor next to my couch. That’s where my usual foam roller lives, plus it was convenient to a wall outlet, but it’s also possible it put it within the draft line of the front door or an AC vent. I did think the SpeedHeat bag made the whole foam roller a little warmer, but that’s a subjective conclusion.
Using the HotRock as a foam roller was a mixed bag for me. I liked the heat a lot, and it definitely helped with some of my tenser leg muscles to add heat to the rolling experience. On the other hand, I prefer a much more textured and dense foam roller experience, so the MedRock HotRock Foam Roller was a little too soft for me.
Even so, I really liked the heat aspect; it’s a radiating heat but not uncomfortably strong, even at higher temperatures, and the fact that it’s regulated by the plug means it’s not going to cool off between uses-it will stay warm until it times out or you turn it off.
My only real issue with the Hot Rock is the price. It’s currently $89.50 during its launch sale, and that seems reasonable to me. You can pick up a TriggerPoint foam roller for around $35-$45 depending on size and density, so it seems fair to me that the heating pad would double that cost.
While the MedRock HotRock Foam Roller is definitely a buy at $89.50, it’s a much harder sell at its MSRP of $179. At that price, I’d want to see either an internal battery so you aren’t tied to an outlet or a USB-cable connection instead of a direct wall plug so you could utilize a battery pack for use on the go. The MedRock HotRock Foam Roller is a great concept, and it’s a very well-built foam roller, but close to $200 is a lot to swallow for a foam roller that’s tied to the wall.
I love the idea of the HotRock, but it does feel like there are a few tradeoffs. You have to use it within range of a wall outlet, and you have to be prepared to pay up significantly for the heating function.
The MedRock HotRock Foam Roller also needs a few minutes to preheat, so it’s not a spontaneous “grab the foam roller and go” type piece of equipment.
Finally, there’s no alert when it reaches full temperature, which isn’t a big deal, but it would be nice if it had an alert for those times when you might want to set it up and then walk away for a bit.
Is the MedRock HotRock Foam Roller worth buying? Well, honestly, that depends on your foam roller needs.
If the idea of a hot foam roller is intriguing you, and you don’t like the hard grid texture type foam rollers, then the MedRock HotRock Foam Roller should be a strong consideration, especially at the introductory price. At full price, well…that’s up to you, and whether the convenience of foam rolling and a heating pad mixed together is worth the cost. It’s certainly built well, but you’re paying significantly for the quality.
The MedRock HotRock Foam Roller sells for $179 (currently at an introductory price of $89.50); it is available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Liked: Heated foam rolling is really pleasant on sore muscles; Comes with a combination carry bag and preheat bag; Comes with a reference card with foam roller illustrations; Easy to use and read LCD; Can store the cord inside the body of the foam roller
What Needs Improvement: Expensive at full price; Might be too soft, depending on your foam roller preferences; Ties you to a wall outlet; I haven’t gotten Sleater-Kinney’s “Hot Rock” song out of my head for three days thanks to this review!