When I first came across this beastly ball, called the Supernova on Rogue’s website, there were barely any reviews on the internet at the time. I think I only found one somewhat helpful YouTube video review back then. Now, if you google something along the lines of “MobilityWod Supernova review”, there are many that come up. Also, take note that since then, MobilityWod has come up with a 2nd version and an option for a smaller size. You can check out the details on Rogue’s website. Hopefully I can bring something different to the table, so here’s my experience with the first version of the Supernova.
When I first saw it, I was bewildered. I already owned a Pro Tec foam roller, Travel Roller’s kit that included their acupressure balls and other various balls from tennis, lacrosse, golf and softball. I found that the softball was the perfect size for working on my hamstrings. A lacrosse or tennis ball was always too small for rolling, but good for trigger point release. What got me the most curious about the Supernova was its edges, which was supposed to be able to really grab onto skin and help dig deeper into the underlying fascia, as explained by Dr. Kelly Starrett of MobilityWod. If I recall correctly, during its release, it was $40 or so, and with a slightly different design on the ball compared to the ones currently sold. At the time, I got very close to purchasing it, but decided not to due to the price.
Fast forward to a patient that came to see one of the chiropractors that I work with. He suffered from low back pain and I taught him foam rolling for hamstrings, glutes, etc., among other things. At some point, he came back and talked about how the pain in his back had disappeared thanks to- you guessed it, the Supernova. He said that he had gone to Fitness Depot and asked about foam rollers. The employee told him that of all SMR (self myofascial release) tools, he recommended the Supernova. (N.B. Only Rogue sells it, so he wasn’t trying to market on behalf of Fitness Depot.) When it finally got delivered to the patient’s house, he started rolling his hamstrings and his back pain disappeared. He was convinced that the Supernova was really efficient at releasing his muscles and he really encouraged me to buy it. Unfortunately, the price had risen since its release, but I was convinced. On a subsequent visit later, this patient also told me how he was trying to roll his upper back without a shirt on, and the edges actually broke his skin while he was rolling! That was surprising, but it proves how it’s no joke with the skin grabbing.
A physiotherapist that I work with, and one that I see myself, was also convinced about the Supernova after she tried rolling with it. She had been struggling with a hamstring strain for quite some time and I had lent her my Supernova to try. She was surprised about how well it dug into her hamstrings! She said that since her strain, it felt like the closest thing to having a practitioner really work into her hamstrings with their thumbs, finally getting into the spots that would have been central to her tear and subsequent scar tissue adhesions.
If those two stories haven’t convinced you, here are a couple of things that I like about the Supernova.
As you can see, the Supernova is actually a bit bigger than a softball. But it’s still the perfect size to use. I mostly use it for hamstrings, glutes, adductors and sometimes calves or QLs (quadratus lumborum). I’ve tried rolling my quads with it, but rolling them with a foam roller is already never fun, so let’s say, rolling with the Supernova on my quads is always short lived.
On my kitchen scale, I measured it to be just over 625 grams, which would be approximately equivalent to nearly 1.5 lbs. It does add weight to my gym bag, which can be a bit of an issue sometimes, coming from a commuting student that usually carries a heavy backpack. But the weight also helps prevent the ball from slipping on the floor and it feels solid when you really put pressure into it.
This is probably the greatest feature of the Supernova, akin to the Rumble Roller and its edges compared to conventional smooth foam rollers. This design really allows you to dig into underlying tissues and exert more pressure than other balls. I know it’s all still debatable how effective foam rolling truly is and if you’re actually doing much other than applying pressure and friction on tissue. Maybe I’m not being scientifically correct, but I’d like to believe that it does help with grabbing onto skin, shearing underlying tissues and ultimately getting things to glide better underneath as they should. Plus, it’s really nice to use for your feet as well while working at the desk.
There’s no question about the hefty price, especially once you include shipping and tax (depending on where you live). I’ve had my Supernova for almost a year now and I’ve used it at the gym, at home on wooden flooring and carpet. So far, it’s held up great and I can’t see it really deteriorating much over the next couple of years. I think you definitely get your money’s worth in quality, so durability should be no problem. Some reviews on Rogue’s website comment on some durability issues with the first version of the Supernova, but so far I haven’t had any issues. There may be some signs of wear on some of the edges on the ball, but it still grabs on well and I don’t have any concerns.
I’m in no way affiliated with Rogue or MobilityWod, but I am a big fan of Dr. Kelly Starrett. If you ask yourself whether you really need the Supernova, consider if you’re happy with the tools that you have access to now. If you are satisfied with what you have and with your current recovery after workouts, then no you don’t need to invest in this additional ball. As an athlete myself, it’s hard to turn down “the latest gadget” that will really help take my recovery and thus performance, to the next level. If you’ve had a history of hamstring strains like I have, it may be worth it to consider the Supernova. There’s nothing like it that can get up right near the hamstring origin. Ooooohh man, it’s a winner when it comes to that. I hope this was an insightful review about MobilityWod’s Supernova.
PS. If you’re wondering about what that “Alpha” ball is, in the picture under “SIZE”, it’s from Jill Miller‘s Yoga Tune Up. Her therapy balls have also been a game changer for me and have won the appreciation of some patients that I’ve worked with. I’ll probably include her balls in a future blog post when I comment on my “go-to’s” in my self care / recovery arsenal.