We’ve been using foam rollers for years now. Sometimes we use it as a pre-workout activity to loosen things up and get warmed up. Sometimes it’s used as a post-workout recovery. Most often we use it as preventive maintenance to break up adhesions and improve mobility and posture.
When I first saw the Chirp Wheel, I just assumed it was a fancy foam roller and wouldn’t provide any additional benefits that a cheaper foam roller could provide. After testing it out, there are some key differences and I will definitely include this in my mobility efforts.
The Chirp wheels come in 6″, 10″, and 12″ models. If it’s possible for you, Chirp does offer a 3-pack so you can have all three at your disposable when you’re trying to use them. When patients use foam rollers, they often complain initially that the foam roller is “too intense” and they abandon it very quickly.
I encourage them to use it for a couple of weeks and try to limit how much of their body weight they are adding to the foam roller at once. After a couple of weeks of “suffering,” they come to really enjoy the improved mobility and report that the foam roller feels good. If it’s still too much, it is possible to get a softer foam roller.
I don’t usually offer the softer foam roller because people get used to it so quickly that they will find that they didn’t really need to buy the softer version at all. With the Chirp wheel sizes, the smaller the Chirp wheel, the more intense the pressure.
However, the bigger the Chirp wheel, the more your thoracic spine can extend, which may prove more challenging to some people than others. Also, depending on how often you use it, your activities, and your workouts, you may find that some days you need the more subtle version and other days you can really kick it up.
Some patients may find they need to start with a foam roller and work their way up to a Chirp wheel. I don’t think they need to pick one over the other, both would be good to have in your tool box.
Some things I liked about the Chirp Wheel:
- Narrow design helps it fit between your shoulder blades
- Narrow design and the bigger wheel seemed to create more satisfying “cracks” as it went up and down the thoracic spine
- Wheel is sturdy but has enough give that it’s not too harsh. Non-slip material on it makes it easy to use on any surface
Some things I didn’t like about the Chirp Wheel:
- May be too intense for beginners (but I don’t think that will last long)
- Limited to your thoracic spine for rolling, can’t use it on your hips or legs like you would a foam roller
Can the Chirp Wheel help your posture?
If you know our approach to better posture, it’s about 3 things; alignment, exercises, and mobility. You have to do all three for best results and the Chirp Wheel can definitely help with mobility. If you are particularly hunched over, you may struggle using this device at first, but I believe it would be worth it.
You would just want to start slowly and then work up your time and intensity on it. For older patients that may struggle to get up and down from the floor, you can use the smaller wheel against a wall. You really need to have your body weight on this for maximum effect and best results.