With today’s research showing just how bad sitting all day is for your overall health, foam rolling seems like a must for anyone with an office job or daily routine in a similar setting. On the other end of the spectrum, athletes should be rolling to prevent injury, decrease recovery time, and improve athletic performance.
Introduction to the Foam Roller
Foam rollers are gaining in popularity as their uses are becoming more well known. These rollers can help alleviate muscle tension, improve circulation and prevent injury. They are foam tubes that allow you to self massage tight areas and relieve knots without straining the muscles. They are used by those who sit for long hours in a chair and those who work out at the gym frequently. Runners, triathletes, and other intense activities will greatly benefit from using a foam roller before and after work outs. Using foam rollers during your warm up and cool down can reduce the incident of injury.
When used frequently foam rollers can increase the health of your muscles, speed recovery and increase your flexibility. Foam rollers are used as preventative measures to reduce injury and the need for physical therapy. Muscles get tight from both over use and under use. Foam rollers help create balance with your muscles and relax areas that have become tight from over or under use. They can also be used for every day muscle relief after sitting or standing for long periods of time. The kneading of the muscles improves blood flow, releases toxins, and primes muscles to be ready for the activity you are about to begin. On the back end it speeds the healing process. It can provide light tissue easing or a deep tissue massage depending on the type of roller you are using.
Top Ranked Foam Rollers
LuxFit High Density Foam Roller Extra Firm
The LuxFit High Density Foam Roller Extra Firm is the top pick because it is built out of a top quality material that is perfect for physical therapy applications and can be used by all fitness levels. This roller is available in three different sizes to best meet your needs. All rollers are 6 inches in diameter and come in the lengths of 12 inches, 18 inches and 36 inches. The LuxFit high density rollers increase muscle reflexology and can be used to relieve tension and work out sore muscles. It is made from molded polypropylene technology and offers 2 pounds per foot of density. The smooth surface does not lose its shape even after regular and heavy use and the material is designed to repel moisture making the roller easy to clean.
The LuxFit roller offers an ultra ridged surface that will allow you to complete a deep tissue massage and get deeper muscle groups. The smaller ones are great for arms, neck, and smaller muscle groups where the longer 36 inch one is great for working out larger muscles in the back, and legs. Whichever one you choose you will find that it keeps its shape and gives you a deep massage for the targeted muscles. The LuxFit High Density Foam Roller Extra Firm is made in the USA and comes with a one year warranty.
Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller
The Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller is a top pick because it offers a patented rolling design that allows you to get deeper muscle groups for advanced users. This roller includes an instructional video to help you get the most out of your roller. The Trigger Point foam roller comes in 5 different colors including black, Camo, Lime Green, Orange and Pink. The roller is 5.5 inches in diameter and 13 inches long, which is long enough to work the back and leg muscles and small enough to work arms and neck. The patented design gives you a roller with multiple densities and a ridged exterior yet a hollow core. It is able to work both small and large muscles groups effectively. You determine how deep it goes by the amount of pressure you use.
This roller will maintain its shape regardless of how often it is used and how much pressure is applied. The roller can handle up to 500 pounds. This roller is used by athletes, physical therapists, trainers, and everyday people who want to improve their workout experience or relieve tight muscles. To use simply roll the foam roller over areas that are tight or strained and it will reduce soreness and increase mobility. The multi dimensional surface gives you more of a feel of a therapists and is able to work deeper into your body. The texture of the exterior is designed to increase blood flow and oxygen for faster healing. You can get this roller in three different sizes and two different densities depending on your needs. Regular density is found in the 13 inch GRID, the 26 inch and the travel size which is 4 inches long. The higher density is found in the 13 inch roller to work tighter muscles. The Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller comes with a one year warranty
Rumble Roller Textured Muscle Foam Roller
The Rumble Roller Textured Muscle Foam Roller is a top pick because it offers a textured roller that is able to massage soft tissues much like a massage therapist. The design gives you a firm but flexible experience with a multi textured surface and resembles a traditional massage. The bumps are able the kneed the contours of the body in a way the stretches your soft tissue and stimulates healing. The use of this roller will increase your flexibility and relieve muscle pain naturally.
The bumps are designed to be firmer than your bodies muscle tissue yet softer than bones for the perfect balance of a deep tissue massage. The Rumble Roller Textured Muscle Foam Roller comes in two different densities. The original and an extra firm style. They also come in two different lengths. You can get the 12 roller for a more compact design or the 31 inch for larger muscle groups. The 12 inch roller is 5 inches in diameter while the 31 inch model is 6 inches in diameter. The Rumble Roller is latex free and includes an instruction manual. For those just getting started you should use the original version and the firmer roller is best for experienced users who have gotten used to the deeper and more intense massage.
Top Rated Foam Rollers Summary
All foam rollers offer health and wellness benefits including the release of toxins and relief from muscle pain. Which roller you choose will depend on the size you are looking for and the intensity you need. The LuxFit is the best roller for beginners and those who want a lighter massage. If you like Swedish massage rather than deep tissue this is the roller for you. This roller comes in three different sizes from 12, 18 or 36 inches. It is an extra firm foam that will maintain its shape even with heavy use. Combining this with a textured roller will give you two different types of workouts and relief depending on your needs. It also has the widest range in lengths to work with.
The Trigger Point and Rumble Roller are both textured rollers. The Trigger point comes with an instructional video; the Rumble Roller includes a user manual where the LuxFit does not include instructions. Videos and hot to articles can easily be found online.
The Trigger Point offers a 13 inch long roller that is 5.5 inches in diameter. It is the only one with a hollow core. This roller also comes in the widest color variations with 5 different options. The Rumble Roller comes in a 12 inch or 31 inch and they are 5 or 6 inches in diameter respectively. This roller has two different levels of firmness, the original and extra firm.
Whichever foam roller you choose you will get all the benefits of foam rollers which will help with pre and post workout muscle relief. They will help heal injuries faster and prevent injuries from occurring. You will find you have a wider range of motion and more flexibility after using these rollers.
Foam Roller Buyers Guide
What is a Foam Roller?
When looking for a foam roller there are several things you want to consider.
What will the roller be used for? Are you a fitness buff that wants a roller to help increase workout intensity and performance? Do you sit all day in and office and want relief from under worked and over worked muscles? Are you older and want relief from the growing aches and pains of aging? No matter what your station in life a foam roller can help increase circulation and relieve muscles pain. Choosing the right one for your needs is the key to success. Athletes are more likely to use textured rollers where the average person is more likely to benefit from a smooth roller. If you are just getting started and this is your first roller a smooth one may be a better bet to ensure you get comfortable with the process and the pressure being applied to your muscles. A certain amount of pressure is necessary in order to provide longer term relief.
What is your pain tolerance? Do you enjoy a Swedish massage or a deep tissue? Those with higher pain tolerances can move to firmer rollers and textured rollers fast that those with sensitive bodies. If you react to pain quickly start with a softer roller and work your way up.
Where on your body will you use the roller? Where do you experience the most pain? What muscles are consistency hurting. Runners will use a roller mostly on their legs where a weightlifter may use it on all muscle groups. Those who work in an office may experience more back pain and older people are more likely to need help around joints, like knees. The muscles you will use the roller on will help determine the right length and firmness for you.
Where will you use the roller? If the roller will mostly be used at home a longer roller will allow you to work both legs without switching positions. You can work the back in one pass rather than two saving you time. If you will use the roller when you travel or at the gym a smaller roller may be more practical because it is easier to carry and can fit in a gym bag. For areas like the neck and arms very small rollers can be used to pin point specific muscle groups.
Features To Consider
Foam rollers are all designed basically the same way but there are significant differences in their performance. Softer rollers will not last as long as firmer ones, but are easier to use and do not work as deeply as firmer rollers. The diameter and length of the roller will determine its application and the center design will impact its strength and how long it will last before needing to be replaced.
Choosing the best foam roller for you will encourage you to use it more often and allow you to rest over the trigger points while the muscles loosen and dissipate. Starting out too hard can result in pain rather than discomfort and result in you using it less often. Features of the foam roller that will determine which one is right for you include the following:
What Material is used? Foam rollers typically come in regular density and high density. The softer the material the more they will flatten with use, requiring replacement. Softer rollers however do not get into the muscles as deeply and could be the best choice for beginners. Softer rollers are often white and firmer rollers black.
Textured or Smooth? Foam rollers will either have a smooth or textured surface that rolls over your body. The textured surface is designed to imitate a massage therapist hands and digs deeper and reaches tighter muscles. This may be too much pressure for beginners but perfect for those who have a higher pain tolerance and are more used to foam rollers. Combining the two will allow you to use both a smooth and textured roller depending on the circumstances.
What is the interior made of? PCV pipes are the hardest interior and can take a softer exterior and still provide needed support. Softer interiors do not last as long but give you a gentler massage.
How Long of a roller should you get? The length of the roller is one of the most important factors. A shorter one gives you more concentrated work and is more portable. However, these will require more adjustments to your position and make it more difficult to work larger muscle groups. Shorter rollers offer complete muscle groups like your back in one pass but are more cumbersome to carry with you. Knowing what muscle groups and where you will be using the roller will help you decide which length is best for your needs.
Foam rollers are growing in popularity because they have so many health benefits. They are useful to virtually everyone who can benefit from their many uses. These versatile rollers will help alleviate muscle pain and relief sore muscles. You can use it every day as a personal massage tool that will give a gentle or deep tissue massage. They also increase circulation, release toxins and improve flexibility. Having at least one will help you manage pain naturally.