Rolling on out

The M80 roller is a truly unique device helping you to improve your mobility and recovery. Even though this has great benefits, not many of us have used it or even know how to start. This is why VHTS chose to initiate this review with an interview with M80's main man Matt Olaya, so we can give our thoughts afterwards.


1.    Hey Matt, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. What is your sports background?

I’ve always been intrigued with Combat/Mixed Martial Arts, but I am not a contact sports person.  I grew up swimming competitively in the Antelope Valley (LA County, California) from 12 years old till 18 years old.  Then I was able to swim on the California State University of Northridge NCAA Division 1 Team. I was able to increase my training both swimming and Land Strength and Conditioning. After college I started to run more and got into biking.  Then i tried my first Triathlon (70.3 Half Ironman St. George Utah, 2013). After that, I fell in love with Triathlons and continue training year around. Swim, Bike and Run are my passion.


 2.    How did you get started with M80 roller?

While I was training for my first Half Ironman (70.3 St George Utah 2013) I knew that recovery was going to be crucial to my long training and tough schedule.  It tried all foam rollers on the market and was not satisfied.  I tried bare PVC pipe and same thing, hurt too much and very pointless to the Self Myofascial Release technique.  So I went to the garage and started to draw up ideas.  After a couple months and some accidental material pairing, I found the perfect recipe. 


 3.    Say I'm new to exercise and M80 roller, and I've seen this cool looking cylinder-thingy but don't know what it's for. What would you tell me so I could understand how to use it and why use it?

M80 Roller is an elite Foam Roller.  It is the most durable, intense foam roller to help all the active athletes out there keep their body healthy.  So a novice foam roller user should start with a regular White Foam Roller which has more cushion and flex to help their body adapt quicker, then graduate up to the M80 Roller.  But I would start a first timer with Lower Body (Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Calf). Upper Body ( Shoulders/Upper Back).  


 4.    What are the best areas to use the M80?

Since M80 Roller is so intense, Lower Body is easier. The larger the muscle the more weight distribution of the M80 Roller allows the rolling experience to be better.  But if you are used to Foam Rolling, M80 Roller should be used all over the body. It will hurt, but it will get in deep and break up any knots, scar tissue, adhesions and tight muscle.  Not fun to recover the body, but you will enjoy waking up the next day feeling better and stronger.


 5.    When is the best time to use the M80 pre or post workout? follow up question, early in the morning or late in the evening?

M80 Roller should be used Pre Workout, During Workout and Post Workout.  Obviously we don't live in a perfect world, so if you had to choose, I would say Pre Workout (Great Warm Up, Muscle Activation and Lengthening Muscle to allow full Range of Motion) and Post Workout (Allow muscles to restore relaxed state and flush out all waste, lactic acid and allow fresh nutrition, oxygen, repairing tools to help recovery). No time of day is better.  If you wake up with a kink in your neck or shoulder that prevents your head from moving, roll out! If you M80 Roller out before bed, I guarantee you will sleep amazingly :)


 6.    Say I feel a lot of pain when I use it in certain areas, this thing might be hurting me. Is this true? what am I doing wrong? what should I do, is this normal?

M80 Roller hurts. No Doubt.  Tolerate pain a little to allow muscles to recover and benefit from the Self Myofascial Release Technique.  Little by little it will get more tolerable, but use your senses to determine how much too much really is. Don't roll on Bones or joints.


 7.    How much time should you use the M80 per area?

There is no real evidence showing what is superior to the other.  I use the feeling of your body to determine what is good.  Towards the beginning 5 secs per muscle is a huge accomplishments.  Months later, 30 secs is possible.  At this point, you will learn what works and what time frame needs to relax and fix any kinks in the muscles.  If I have time to spare, I will roll out my legs (Glutes, Hamstrings, QUads and Calves) for an hour.  Play around with time and feel what works for you.  Consistency is key though.


8.    I've seen youtube videos of similar rollers, where is the best place to see "instructional" videos?

I have some regular Videos on the I hope in the near future to get more detailed videos on M80 Rolling and different sports that coincide with M80 Rolling too. 


 9.    I've got a:  "tear in a ligament", "recovering from a broken...", "I've got a bad back", "I've got a foot/leg/arm disorder", should I use an M80 roller?

If there are serious issues with your body that has been going on for more than a week without exercise or constant stresses of movement, then you should seek professional help.  But if you have something minor and know that you have something that just needs some TLC, then M80 Roll out all muscles that surround your problem area.  The body is complex and one spot is not the only area you should pay attention to.  Either way, professional help is recommended to help you recover quicker, more efficiently and most importantly get you back on your feet doing what you love to do!


10.  If I don't have any muscle pain or hurting, should I still use the M80?

Pain is usually a great scale of what you are doing to the muscle. If you don't feel pain during the rolling, then try to place more body weight on the spot to get more stimulation.  Position your body differently can expose more muscles that might not have been stimulated before.  If you still don't feel much or are not aware of proper Foam Rolling techniques, then ask for help.  There are a lot of people out there that specialize in Self Myofascial Release Technique. 


11.  What is the "go-to" sequence/exercise we should do on a daily basis with the M80? (if we don't have anything hurting at the time)

M80 Roller Go-To: Definitely the Upper Back (Shoulders) to help those tight shoulders.  Glutes and Lower Body because we are more sedentary (Sitting down) more than ever before.  Humans are not meant to sit a lot, so make sure to stimulate the lower body and keep Range of Motion as a priority to help your body function correctly and more efficiently.  

A special thank you to Matt, remember if you have anymore questions be sure to hit him up. And now on to our VHTS review...



I gotta be honest, I'm new to the whole "myofascial release". I normally don't think too much on my recovery time either pre or post workout I just suck it out, which is not the best thing in the world. I spoke to a couple of doctors before using the M80 Roller and they spoke wonders of these types of "massages" and how they helped with recovery and helped with loosening up muscels before training.

 Warning! this thing HURTS!  I started to use the M80 on and off. I'm normally rushing to the gym from my work vise versa so I don't have much time; however I took it as a daily task and started to plan my training and my schedule around the M80 massage. 

 What I did was take the M80 roller and roll with it before training, this was semi enjoyable (at least when I wasn't hurt or tired). Even though I knew that this exercise would stretch me out and warm me up I felt like I wasn't doing too much, and to be honest I even thought that there wasn't any need to do it.

Now since using the M80 roller post workout, it is completely another story  when I was hurt/tired and had muscle fatigue.

I would target the following areas:

  • Chest and biceps
  • Thigh
  • Lower back and up to shoulders
  • Side and upper back
  • Calf and some ankle

Using the M80 roller when you're tired or hurt is HORRIBLE it hurts a lot. You can literally feel every one of your muscles getting massaged it's a very intense feeling. Now please don't get me wrong rolling on the M80 is horrible but... (and its a big "BUT") after you finish using it your body feels amazing. 

I couldn't feel this well or even think the M80 roller was working at first because I just kinda rolled in it a couple of times, did it slowly, did it without intensity and just felt the pain and that was it. When I saw videos and researched a little bit more I took the Rolling much more seriously I really felt the benefits of the M80 roller. I've been rolling with it every other day and SPECIALLY when I have muscle fatigue and my muscles hurt.

It's a love-hate relationship because it really does hurt when you use it but you know that using it and pushing through the pain will help you to recover from injured muscles, recover from muscle fatigue, injury and help you in the long run to feel better. Sometimes we have "All-sparing" days at my gym, we`ll go 10 minute rounds, 30 second break switch up partners, we'll do this for an hour to an hour and a half. Normally the morning after these training days my body will be really hurt, really tired and spend the day really tight and tense muscles. 

 I went through a tired week of using the M80 roller and then going cold turkey days without using the M80 roller. I must admit I almost "needed" the M80 roller on most days. The M80 roller didn't just help me with hard training days but also with hard stressful work days. I'm the Production Manager and New Project Developer at a big Packaging company so some days after long hour and long meetings my back and neck start to tensed up, this is the reason why I also started to use the M80 roller at night when I got home after work and must also admit I was able to sleep better and feel much more relaxed the next day also eliminated muscle fatigue and muscle pain. 

 For anyone and everyone who has ever felt muscle pain and fatigue after a long day either work day, practice day or play day needs to use the M80 roller. It's a great recovery tool and something that really works. If you have the money and time to go to a masseuer on a daily basis I would say skip the M80 roller, but odds are you don't. As I always say, try the M80 roller first and after you recover your body day by day you'll see why this is a great tool and a great exercise to have a better body, more energy, better movement, less pain and general better body wellness.

have you ever tried an M80 roller? if so let us know what you think! What are your favorite exercises and body groups as well as your input on "is it worth it".







Posted on March 18, 2015 .