Updated: September 27th, 2016
If you have experienced sore muscles after a workout, foam rollers may be the answer you are looking for. Foam rollers are an ideal equipment to use as part of a post-workout routine to relax and calm muscles.
Best Foam Roller
These are my top five picks for foam rollers. I have included a wide variety of foam rollers in the list so be sure to explore the options.
|Image||Name||Price||Buy from Amazon
|Trigger Point Performance||$$||See on Amazon|
|OPTP Pro-Roller||$$||See on Amazon|
|Black High Density Foam Rollers||$||See on Amazon|
|ProSource Ultra Deluxe||$||See on Amazon|
|j/fit Super High Density Foam Rollers||$||See on Amazon|
Foam Rollers Reviews
Black High Density Roller
This high-density foam is good for massage therapy and physical therapy, as well as for yoga. This helps in relieving muscle tension and promoting pain relief.
Extra firm foam: The firm foam provides good compression to reach deeper muscle layers. This feature also helps the foam maintain its shape even with heavy use.
Liquid resistant: The material has a liquid-resistant quality, making it easy to clean and maintain. Just wipe the surface with a clean cloth before using or storing.
High density: The foam is made of molded polypropylene technology, making it firmer than average rollers. The density is 2 pounds per cubic foot.
Tough: The material can withstand heavier weights and won’t break even if the user will put full weight on it.
Not for gentle massage: Again, the extra firm, high density foam will not be a good one for those seeking a gentle massage over extra-sensitive, or painfully sore muscles.
Might be too firm: The extra firmness of this roller might be too firm for some people. This is better for those already used to the self-massage, myofascial release technique.
This black roller works great for promoting proper posture, balance and muscle positioning. This also aids in spinal stabilization and in strengthening the various muscle groups.
Trigger Point Performance
The patented design has a rigid and hollow core with a multi-density exterior. It does not lose its shape or break down due to repeated usage.
Durable: The durable exterior is made with EVA foam that can withstand the rigors of repeated use, maintaining its integrity and shape.
Multi-density exterior: This feature is meant to stimulate the feel of a real massage therapist’s hands, like the flat and wide feel of the palms, the long tubular fingers and the firm, small fingertips.
Textured surface: This feature aids in maximizing flow of oxygen and blood to the tissues to promote healing and recovery.
Longer length: This one comes with a 26-inch length that offers adequate workout of wider muscles like the back muscles
With instructional videos: The product comes with free access to an online instructional video library, though the available videos are not that comprehensive.
Firm: The EVA foam over a hollow rigid core may not provide enough cushion for some people who prefer softer foam rollers.
This is a recommended product for people who want to improve flexibility, experience pain relief and to promote muscle recovery.
ProSource Ultra Deluxe Revolutionary Sports Medicine Roller
The new and improved design of the ProSource medicine foam roller is meant to promote pain relief and improvement in muscle conditions.
Targeted muscle relaxation: This medicine foam roller’s compact style is specifically designed for relaxing sore, tight muscles in hard-to-reach points like the legs, arms and lower back.
Promote faster recovery: This roller promotes greater blood flow to the muscles that aid in faster recovery and gets rid of muscle knots.
Mimics feel and pressure of a masseuse: The surface and compression mimics the feel and the effect of a masseuse’s hands over the different muscle density zones.
Portable: This roller is light and smaller in size, making it easy to carry and bring along to the gym, office, etc.
Limited weight capacity: Hollow core made of PVC It may not be able to hold up heavier weights at repeated usage
Smaller dimensions: At 13 inches by 6 inches, it may not always be able to effectively target wider muscle groups like most of the back muscles.
This medicine foam roller is good for general use, as well for athletes to aid in muscle recovery and reduction of muscle soreness. Its smaller size makes it more portable than most other rollers.
OPTP Soft Pro
This durable foam roller is ideal to use for stretching and massaging muscles. This can also be used for various exercises in Pilates, fitness and yoga.
Advanced foam technology: This roller features the advanced cross-linked closed-cell technology that’s high quality, durable and effective for physical therapy.
Textured, marbled surface: The exterior is lightly textured, with a marbled surface for tactile feel to ease sore and tight areas effectively.
Durable: This foam roller is built to withstand heavy, repeated use. It remains intact, with consistent quality.
Soft compression: This roller gives a uniquely soft compression that works great for those who want gentle yet effective pressure for soothing self-massage.
Not firm enough: This can be effective for gentle soothing therapy but can be too soft for myofascial release over really tight areas.
Limited use: The softness of the foam makes it limited to gentle exercise and not really work for more vigorous exercises like Pilates for the core.
This foam roller is good for beginners in self-massage and myofascial release. It is soft, perfect for those who cannot stand the pain of hard pressure over sore and tight muscles.
j/fit Super High Density Foam Rollers
This 36-inch long, 6-inch diameter round foam roller from j/fit is a good product to use during rehabilitative exercises for various muscle groups.
Effective for knotted and painful muscles: This foam roller can help promote pain relief and remove kinks and knots within the muscles.
Good for IT band pain: This type of pain occurs around the thigh muscles and this can be relieved by using this high-density medicine foam roller.
Dense foam: The rolled foam is densely constructed in order to provide firm support on the muscles for various body types.
Good size for wide muscle areas: This size is ideal to place on a chair and work out the kinks in the back for relief.
Too firm: The high density foam can be great for deeper myofascial release but might be too firm for some, such as those using rollers for superficial self-massage.
Pretty large for use on legs and arms: The 36-inch length is great to work on larger and wider muscle groups but might not be easy to use over smaller ones like the arms and the legs.
This foam roller is recommended for use in rehabilitative exercises involving the hamstrings, calves, glutes and upper/lower back muscles. This is also suited for routines that strengthen and stabilize muscles like the core and the back muscles.
Why You Need a Foam Roller?
I know I am not the only one that often forgets that you are supposed to warm up before any workout. Warming up and cooling down from your workouts are just as important as the workouts themselves, and using one of these pieces of equipment can help you warm up your muscles before exercise. So why should you use a foam roller? There are many reasons why you need to own one. One reason is that using it can help break down certain tissues and increases your flexibility and mobility. Using this product before working out can help warm up the muscles and increase self-awareness. When you use one after working out, it can give the same benefits as a deep tissue massage. It can also help you relieve muscle tension. Another great usage is that it helps improve your core, which also helps your posture.
All of these uses are great, but what does it all mean in the long term? The biggest reason for owning one is that it can help reduce injury with continuous use. The other purpose for long term is that you will notice a shorter recovery time. Why is that the case? This type of equipment can increase blood flow to the muscles and helps to activate them. Increased blood flow is important because this is how the oxygen and nutrients get to your muscles. Imagine how this will make you feel in the long run.
Your Choices in Foam Rollers
There are a few different varieties of foam rollers out there. They come in different sizes, textures, and materials. I will get into more detail about each later on. There are stick rollers, which are portable and best used for leg muscles. These varieties are commonly used by runners for their focus on the legs. High density foam rollers with a smooth texture are the most popular variety of this equipment currently, and the most recognizable. Finally, you have the high density textured rollers. These are very similar to the smooth version, but used more for reducing pain. Those are just the most common varieties; there are more choices that you can choose from outside of these 3 options.
Stick: The stick rollers are small, and the most portable of your options. Not only is this variety fantastic for your legs, the shaping of it can help you get into areas like your hip flexors that the other options have a difficult time getting into because of their size. Unlike the other types, this one requires you to use your arms to roll on your body. The fact that you do not use your entire body on it makes it less effective. Also it is not as durable as the other types, so it is not recommended that you lie on it. Be wary which stick roller you buy, because there is a difference in quality that makes it not worth having one because you are not getting the full benefit of the product.
High Density: High density, smooth surface versions are the standard today. This is a recommended variety of this gear for beginners because they are not as expensive as other types. These are used for your entire body, so you would lay your body on it and roll it along your muscles. They come in various sizes, depending on need and body part that you are using it on. The longer varieties are more for the larger muscle groups, but the smaller ball size varieties are perfect for smaller areas, like your gluts.
Textured: Then you have the high density, textured varieties of this exercise gear. These are the most expensive varieties. The textured surface of this type is perfect for replicating a deep tissue massage, which the other varieties cannot achieve. The downside to this variety is that some types of textures are very hard on the muscles and can cause pain. This can be bad because it defeats the purpose of having one to improve yourself if it hurts too much to use the product.
Selecting the Best Foam Roller for You
Like when you buy any product, the most important question you should ask yourself is “what do I need this product for?” How you answer this can help you decide the best equipment type for your lifestyle and needs. Because they come in so many different varieties you need to select the best one based on fitness level, purpose of usage, and body weight. Failing to choose the right one can result in injury and not improve how you feel after using one. This is important. No matter which type of gear you use, it is important that you get a high density material that is non-slip. You can go to your local gym or sporting goods store and try out different types before you take the plunge.
As I said earlier, the intended usage of this equipment will be the best indicator on what type you should purchase. Are you trying to improve your core? Do you just want the massage after a workout? For instance, a half roll can be used to stand on to help improve your core and balance. A half roll is also a great recommendation for those with weaker muscle tone, as it balances on its own and requires less muscle strain to use. A full, textured roll is more ideal for massaging needs. The amount that it will be used is also a factor when choosing your particular piece of equipment. A more expensive, higher quality material is ideal for everyday usage.
This gear can come in a variety of firmness. This is based on your familiarity with the product. For the beginner, you are looking for lower density foam made of polyethylene. The lower the density the more movement that is allowed between the muscles which is important for the beginner, because this means it will be less painful than the other types of roller while you are starting out. The EVA material varieties are the next step up. EVA is for better core improvement and better massaging effect than the polyethylene varieties. The highest density, black variety is only recommended for the experienced user. The higher density the material, the more firm version is. This provides a harder pressure when used for massaging purposes.
You also need to consider how often you are using this product. If it will be used frequently, you will want to use the black variety of roller because the high density of the material on this product makes it the most durable product. The other varieties of this equipment are less durable, which means they warp over time. If you need to get an EVA or polyethylene variety, make sure you get one that does not warp as easily as others because these will warp easily over time. Certain brands have a “no-warp” guarantee, so look for those when purchasing your lower density roller.
The final two considerations are budget and size of the equipment. You will want to do your research to get the best quality for your money. This usually means that the lower the density, the less expensive the product. Like I stated earlier, you can try out the different varieties which can help you chose the right one within your budget. Another consideration is the size of the equipment. Usually all types have the same diameter, so you are going to be concerned with the length. Longer ones are better for your back for proper alignment and helping your balance. The shorter ones are better used for the other parts of your body, so usage is very important when picking your roller’s size.
Foam roller exercises
Time to Decide
I have given you all the tools you will need to find out if a foam roller is right for what your needs are, and what type you should invest in. Remember, you can try out the varieties at local sporting goods stores or your local gyms. The benefits are many, and if you are on the fence about trying one you should take the plunge. These can improve your capabilities working out and improve your recovery time. It will be worth the investment to improve your health.