If veteran gym rats and hardcore runners can agree on one thing, it’s the power of the humble foam roller. For all their simplicity, foam rollers are remarkably effective at loosening muscle knots, breaking up tension, and restoring flexibility to tired, sore muscles. People were just fine with the foam rollers as they were.
But then the Vyper came along—and fit guys took notice. Created by HyperIce founder Anthony Katz (he came up with the idea after watching an athlete use a foam roller while sitting on a vibrating plate), the Vyper combines vibration technology within a foam roller. With vibrations at three different frequency settings, the Vyper opens up a range of options for warmups and cooldowns—potentially unlocking even greater muscle growth, flexibility, and resistance to injury.
“The Vyper incorporates two very effective components: efficiency and recovery,” says Dr. Mike Clark, DPT, the Chairman of HyperIce’s scientific advisory board, the founder of the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the CEO and founder of sports performance company Fusionetics. “By combining compression and vibration, the Vyper has a significantly greater effect in tissue range of motion and tissue elasticity."
“I talk about it like a control-alt-delete reset for your body,” Clark says. “A lot of adults are sitting all day—commuting, at work, commuting home, on the couch—so their bodies are locked up. When they start lifting, they get hurt.”
It’s no accident that the Vyper offers three different vibration speeds—each is designed to activate muscles differently.
Quick biology lesson: Your muscles contain sensory receptors called muscle spindles (which cause the muscles to tighten) and Golgi tendon organs (which cause relaxation). The Vyper’s lower frequencies activate the muscle spindles, which in turn “makes the muscles more excitable,” Clark says—a perfect way to stimulate muscles before starting a workout. Higher frequencies, on the other hand, “cause the muscles to relax,” helping to recover flexibility and range of motion after a grueling workout.
Also: There are certain cases when using a Vyper might not a great idea. If you’ve recently injured a muscle, for example, Clark suggests treating it with ice and compression (like one of Hyperice’s ice compression sleeves.) “Once that injury goes away, and you’re cleared by a healthcare practitioner, you can move to the Vyper.”
People with osteoporosis should also double-check if it’s safe for them to use the Vyper, Clark says. “If someone has osteoporosis, you don’t want to use it on the upper back. There are no known indications that there’s a danger, but you want to check with your healthcare professional before using it.”
The Vyper Warmup and Cooldown Routine
Clark designed this routine utilizing the Vyper as a four-step process: a two-part warmup, the workout, and a post-workout cooldown. (The workout is up to you. Feel free to pick one from our training section.)
Warm-Up, Phase 1: Movement Preparation (5-7 minutes)
- Foam Roll: Set the Vyper to its lower-frequency settings to warm up and loosen the muscles. Clark recommends targeting muscle groups like your calves, IT band (outside your thighs), adductors (inside your thighs), glutes, the piriformis (hips), and those around your thoracic spine (upper back). Foam roll on each muscle for 30-45 seconds until the increased blood flow can reduce the tenderness of your muscles.
- Stretch: If any of your muscles feel particularly tight even after the Vyper treatment, target them with a stretch.
- Muscle Activation: Get your muscles active with gentle core-strength exercises, like tube walking, a ball bridge, or a single-leg balance reach.
“If you target those main spots, that’s going to create the most improved range of motion to get the most out of your workout,” Clark says.
Warm-Up, Phase 2: Dynamic Warmup (1 set of 10 reps for each exercise): Perform dynamic calisthenics to get your muscles firing. These dynamic, multi-planar, total-body movements are designed to increase core temperature and range of motion:
- Bodyweight squats
- Single-leg squat touchdown
- Medicine ball chops and lifts
Workout of your choice
- Foam Roll: Set the Vyper to the high-frequency setting, which causes the muscles to relax and therefore become more flexible, Clark says. As before, target each muscle for 30-45 seconds.
- Stretch: Utilize static stretches to restore the full range of motion to each muscle.