Best Foam Rollers in 2023- For Total Body Benefits
What is a foam roller?
This is simply a long cylindrical tool made of dense foam and plastic; though the materials used are varied, plastic and foam rollers are the most popular.
These tools are used for massage or exercises. Owning one is quite important because of the many benefits that come with it; not to mention that it is quite inexpensive.
Gone are the days when foam rollers were used only by professional athletes and gym instructors.
Everybody is a perfect candidate to use massage rollers whether they prefer intense workout or get by with a few stretches a day.
Where to Buy Foam Roller
Foam rollers are easily available at major online stores. Different types of foam rollers have different prices. These workout tools are also stocked in many local fitness stores.
A luxfit foam roller can be used as a yoga foam roller and massage roller. The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller comes with online instructions and is mostly used as an athletic roller.
The online form roller reviews are one of the benefits of shopping on these sites, the reviews tell a lot about particular rollers and the experience other people have had using them. For the inexperienced lot, this comes in handy before making a decision on the particular roller to purchase.
Why Should You Foam Roll?
One could be wondering what are foam rollers for? If anyone feels that their workouts are not as productive as they should be, they are constantly in knots and have painful muscles, then they should read on.
The major benefit of using a foam roller is that it relaxes and smoothes out the fascia tissue by rolling away knots in the muscles and getting rid of tightness. This in return brings so many benefits including increase in productivity during workouts and stretches because of the supple joint movement and better blood flow.
Is Foam Rolling As Good As a Massage?
The process of rolling out the muscles by using a foam roller is referred to as self-myofascial release (SMR). Note that by use of self-massage, the therapist is ultimately eliminated and one will be doing the massaging themselves. This is much better as it only emphasizes on the areas where one feels they need to put more emphasis on. By knowing where to add pressure, the healing process becomes easier and self -driven. A deep tissue foam roller is best recommended.
In terms of affordability and availability, the foam roller is also preferable although one may choose a massage if one needs more luxury or if one has a deep tissue injury that needs professional care.
Just like keen dieters, deep tissue massage that employs the expertise of a masseuse will become a once in awhile indulgence for an avid foam roller user. This is because they will still be able to achieve good results if they maintain a continuous foam rolling routine and a proper diet.
For such a fascinating equipment, it is important to know how to pick the best muscle roller in the market. This is a foam roller that will best meet the needs and desires of the user. This is a roller that will also best execute the best foam roller exercises.
What Are Some Good Self-Massages To Do With a Foam Roller?
Foam rollers can be used to massage the thighs, the upper and lower back, the buttocks, the arms, the neck, the feet, chest and the hips.
This means that the foam roller can basically be used for the whole body and all one has to do is to place the foam roller strategically against the sore muscle or group of muscles and roll slowly until the desired effect is achieved.
Below are some the best self-massages that one can do while at home or at the gym.
Calves Roll Massage
A gentle calve massage will relieve and soothe the tears and strains exerted by movement.
This simple massage is best done in a sitting position with legs stretched out and the torso leaning backwards. The roller is moved back and forth for one leg and then the next.
With this great solution, one should not suffer painful calves.
The hamstrings are some of the greatly worked muscles in the body as they support and balance the body especially when in a forward motion. Most athletes have suffered from a strained hamstring by moving too hard or too suddenly.
A hamstring roll massage using the best foam roller for runners with a high density foam roller or a soft foam roller will ease off any strain on the hamstrings easily.
The hamstring roll massage should be done on a flat surface in a sitting position with hands flat on the ground next to the hips. The roller should be on the knees of either leg. Push back and forth and repeat for the other leg.
Glute Rolls Massage
The glute muscles help to support the pelvis when in motion. Over time they tighten up and become weak.
The glute muscles help to support the pelvis when in motion. Over time they tighten up and become weak.
A glute roll massage gets rid of the tightness and gets the glutes to function as they should.
With a roller below the right thigh, and palms on the ground, start by moving the body back and forth with the torso slightly backwards. Move the roller up to the lower back and repeat the same process on the left thigh.
Hip Flexor Roll massage
These hip flexor muscles are responsible for moving the knees during a stride. A sharp pain around the hips means that they are inflamed and/or in knots.
To get rid of this discomfort, all one has to do is place the roller slightly on top of the knee while facing down and let this simple massage heal the inflamed muscles. The forearm should provide some support as the roller moves back and forth reaching the top of the thighs and repeating the process.
How Do I Use A Foam Roller Correctly?
Looking at the pipe shaped tool can get one perplexed on how to go about the exercises and massages. Is there a procedure and a right way to use it? The answer is affirmative. Learning to use a foam roller is not rocket science and it gets easier and less awkward with continuous use.
Using the roller foam with the body weight, one applies moderate pressure to the affected muscles by rolling at a steady casual pace. Areas such as the upper back and neck are quite sensitive and one should consult a professional before trying them out.
Can I Use Foam Rollers on Carpet?
The idea is to have the body weight moving on the roller to stretch out knots and tightness in the muscles. This can therefore be on a flat surface. The flat surface can be on a carpet, or on a mat. If the carpet is not inhibiting the full functionality of the roller thus not adding any strain on the user, then it can be used.
A mat is, however, better recommended because it will be smoother and much more comfortable.
How Slowly Should You Foam Roll?
Foam rolling can be quite uncomfortable and painful especially for a beginner with sore muscles. One should therefore roll slowly ensuring that they feel for any sore muscles and tightness that requires stretching out.
If one hits a sore spot, they should deliberately move slower on that spot. It might sound like the ultimate pain endurance challenge but the point is to have the muscles functioning right and only by taking one’s time can the problem be eradicated. The more foam rolling that can be done on a daily basis, the more efficient and less painful it becomes.
How to Use a Foam Roller For Neck Pain
A neck pain is uncomfortable and bothersome. Not being able to turn can ruin anyone’s day. Luckily, by use of a foam roller, the pain can be minimized and even gotten rid of completely.
Simply have the form roller placed on the ground; preferably on a mat. With the back against the mat – the roller should be against the neck perpendicular to the body. With a slow pace and hands placed on the hips, roll slowly until the roller moves over the problem area.
This can be repeated until relief is acquired. It is best to seek medical advice –especially if the neck pain is unbearable – before trying it out with the foam roller.
How Important is Foam Rolling When Lifting Weights?
Foam rolling can be very effective for people lifting weights. The simple technique of the foam roller is very effective in eliminating knotted muscles that cannot be relieved by stretching alone.
Continuous use of the muscles especially during weight lifting can bring about muscle tension. Using a foam roller to remove the knots by use of body weight keeps the muscles well lithe.
The foam rolling can be done before weight lifting or after the weight lifting to get rid of the knots.
Types of Foam Rollers
One cannot recommend a foam roller without specifying the kind and the make. With so many kinds of foam rollers coming into the market, it is very easy to be confused on the best type for individual needs.
Different roller foams have different shapes, sizes and texture. Each foam roller is uniquely designed for a certain purpose. The density, length and diameter all come into consideration when classifying foam rolls.
These types of foam rollers are neither hard nor soft. Most yoga routines make use of medium density foam rollers. A good example is a gofit foam roller which is blue in color.
- The hardness is enough to provide a deep massage.
- They are versatile, they can be used for both exercise and massage.
- They are not as long lasting and as effective as high density foam rollers.
- Most are expensive especially if made from EVA material.
These types usually provide more comfort than a deep massage. Most beginners prefer these types and then with time proceed to more firm ones.
- They are gentle on the muscles
- They are cheap
- Due to the soft nature, they give in easily thus do not last long.
These are the most effective foam rollers. They work fast due to their firm nature. They ease muscle tension and knots within a short time. These types of foam rollers are the best foam rollers for runners.
- Promotes quick recovery to injured muscles
- They provide deep tissue massage
- They can be uncomfortable for beginners
- Are only recommended for professional athletes and extremely active persons.
Smaller Length Rollers
These are special types of foam rollers suited for specialized use. Their short length makes them suitable for massage and can easily access smaller parts of the body easily and comfortably. Mot smaller length rollers are also hand held foam rollers.
Unique Textured Rollers
Just like the names suggests, these foam rollers do not have a smooth exterior. There are some unique textured rollers that have ridges, some foam roller with spikes and some with pointers to maximize breakage of knots on the tightest muscles. Most people who are experienced in workouts prefer textured foam roller for they like the extra feel and intensity. An example of such a roller is the Rumble Roller.
How to Choose a Foam Roller
Most people prefer to have more than one foam roller considering their diversity. Some would prefer small ones as travel foam rollers while others prefer the very high density gym roller.
The best foam roller is one that meets the user’s needs perfectly and gives exactly what one is looking for. It should not be too aggressive on the muscles and neither should it be too soft such that its effect is negligible.
A foam roller that promises the right feel and texture is the most suitable one. It should also be a value for money. Some generic foam rollers lose their shape after a year of continuous use. This makes them less durable. It is good to go for a foam roller that will serve you for a longer period rather than have one which can be replaced within a few months of its use.
Unique Textured Rollers
Foam rollers firmness is usually portrayed in the colour, starting with white which is the softest to black which is the most firm roller. There are many other colour shades in between the two.
A beginner should always go for the soft foam rollers or the medium foam rollers to first test their endurance.
Most professional athletes and active individuals go for black foam rollers which break out the knots fast and assist in quick recovery of worn muscles.
For a soft roller, one may go for a standard white roller while others would go for a rumble roller which provides a firm intense experience.
Foam Roller Sizes
Nobody wants to start falling off the roller in the middle of an exercise or massage. The size of the foam roller matters depending on where you want to do your exercise or massage. For smaller parts of the body such as the neck, a hand held foam roller may be the most suitable.
Workouts for wider or larger body parts usually need a long foam roller such as the Triggerpoint Grid Foam roller.
Frequency of Use
Though it is recommended to use the foam roller at least 10 minutes every day, some may only use one after injury or after a long time. In this case, the wear and tear of the foam roller will not be very much. Therefore a medium density or soft foam roller would work perfectly with such a user.
Frequent usage requires a firm foam roller which can withstand the pressure and will not wear out as fast as a soft foam roller.
Foam rollers have different prices depending on the make and quality. The prices are quite competitive, especially in online stores. It is best to go for a foam roller that is within your budget. However, considering their relative low costs, you might as well opt for the best for quality and for durability.
Black foam rollers are the most expensive because they are quite firm and are referred to as professional rollers. Most workout venues have a gym roller stocked. They may also have a slightly softer one for the beginners.
White foam rollers ,on the other hand, are the cheapest because of their low density.
The environmentally friendly foam rollers made from EVA materials are becoming popular and they are usually moderately dense. Their prices are higher than the high density rollers. With everyone going for one, you may join the bandwagon and help preserve our environment by buying one of these.
People who travel a lot prefer small sized foam rollers which fit in their carriers. A high density roller is usually heavy and can be cumbersome to move from one place to another frequently.
What Are Your Favorite Foam Roller Exercises/Stretches?
It’s time to get that foam roller into good use by learning some of the best foam roller exercises. There are various types of exercises that one can do using the foam roller. Below are some of the most basic and most favored exercises. They are all easy to do as long as consistency is observed.
The trick in the shin exercise is to avoid the knees as much as possible. Foam rolling on the knees can cause unbearable pain as it is on the joints.
You can do this by positioning the hands and the knees on the ground. With the foam roller positioned under the shins, the body should be shifted such that the shoulders come in front of the hands and rolling slowly from the ankles to the point below the knees.
The Upper Back Exercise
The upper back foam rolling is best done when the head is looking straight ahead and not at the rolling process. This will keep the spine from straining and give you the best results.
The wide side of the foam roller should be under the shoulder blades when beginning the exercise. With the knees being bent and the arms on the chest, shift back and forth at a slow pace while breathing in deeply to relax the muscles.
This uniquely named exercise should be done when one is lying on the right side with the right arm stretched out over the surface. In this position, shift in a way that allows the roller to move from the armpit all the way to the waist.
An important tip for this kind of exercise is to keep the right hand’s thumb pointed upwards allowing a pre-stretch of the muscles.
Iliotibial ( IT) Band
This is probably the most famous exercise move using a foam roller. It works the area of the leg from the hips to the knee using both hands for balance and support.
This foam rolling exercise takes place with one facing down and a foam roller strategically placed under the thighs.
The body weight is easily supported by the forearms when the elbows are bent. The legs should remain suspended. In this exercise, the roller moves from the pelvic bone to the point above the knees.
Alternatives for Foam Rollers
There are other methods that one can use if a foam roller is not available. Balls have been known to have the same effect as a foam roller. Usually, smaller balls have a higher density than bigger balls.
Placing the ball between the surface and the muscles will work on the problem areas and eliminate soreness.
The use of sticks is another alternative when stretching out the sore muscles. Sticks which are also referred to as athletic rollers are easy to use and they come in different shapes and sizes.
Foam rolling is not a new technique, it has been used before by professional athletes and physical therapists. Only recently did the scientists discover how valuable it would be to everybody else.
Stretching before and after exercise is good but not enough. Knotted muscles can stretch but to remove the knots and increase blood circulation, foam rollers are the most effective.
The fitness foam roller can easily be integrated into a workout routine or just to straighten out some sore muscles. Although its usage at first may be awkward, continuous use makes the process feel easy and natural.
With myo-fascial release, the body naturally gets into those positions that require a lot of pressure when working out thus eliminating the knots and tightness. For instance, if the muscles on the hips are tight, then it gets very hard to do a back squat.
Foam rollers help regain mobility and get the muscles functioning as they should.
A simple tool such as a foam roller should be in every household and every office if possible. Tight muscles would be a thing of the past if this tool is used as often as it should and if as many people are enlightened about it.