"The Stick" is a plastic device similar to a dough roller, only the rollers are broken into smaller segments around a flexible plastic rod called spindles. The idea behind having a Stick is to allow an individual to perform effective self massage on his/her body to warm up muscles before a workout, break-up muscle tissue to aid in recovery and decrease soreness post workout, and to help increase flexibility.
I have found you can only use The Stick effectively on your legs since it takes both hands to apply enough pressure to be of any use. The model I use is called the "Travel Stick", it's only 17" long, so you can easily take it with you to races in a messenger bag, or put it inside your bike travel case or a backpack.
After a long ride The Stick works wonders on tired muscles kneading out the lactic acid build-up while giving you that "hurts so good" massage needed to help you recover for the following day. Since it is made of a handle on each end and plastic spindles in between, you can move your hands closer together to reduce the flexing for use on the different muscle groups and varying degrees of soreness.
I have found that I notice a marked improvement in recovery when massaging my legs with The Stick when doing successive long days in the saddle. It does a great job with working out the knots and kinks in your muscles, and helps relieve soreness like a massage, but at a fraction of the cost. A massage from a massage therapist is certainly more effective and relaxing, but this provides a way to help recover when getting a massage isn't an option.
- less expensive than a massage
- improves recovery time
- relives muscle soreness and pain
- can't reach some areas
- requires you to work, so motivation could be an issue