Many gyms have foam rollers these days – but not many people know what to actually do with them – myself included. Here’s a simple guide to the muscles you need to target and why. Let’s dive in and start with learning the basics.
If you already own a Foam Roller, check out our 7 effecient exercises.
Why use them?
Foam rollers, when used correctly, can release tension and tightness between the muscles and the fascia (which surrounds the muscle or group of muscles). This tension or tightness is usually caused by repetitive moving patterns – so obviously running, but also resistance training or other repetitive sports/actions.
The point with foam rolling is to use your body weight – so if an area really hurts, go gentle on it and support some of your weight elsewhere, using your arms. You can add more “weight” as the muscle relaxes. In other words work to your own pain threshold!
Foam rolling workout can lead to impressive flexibility improvements and has been found to significantly increase range of motion. Other benefits from Foam Rolling include better circulation, greater range of motion and softer soft tissue.
Our Top Picks For Best Foam Rollers!
A foam roller is exactly that – a roll of foam – meaning a lot of brands can vary in quality, and it can be hard to figure out which one you should buy.
Best for Beginners:
TRX High Density EPP Foam Roller is one of the cheapest, no-frills options around. It has a slightly rough but not jagged surface texture that helps to prevent slipping, and the size (45.5cm) means you can use it for a wide variety of movements, like rolling two legs at a time or lying across its length. It’s made from high-density polyethylene foam, but it’s on the softer side as far as foam rollers go.
Best for Experienced Athletes with Regular Workouts:
Fit Nation Foam Roller is a very popular brand and model. It is 33cm long, and around 14cm across (smaller than the TRX, but easier to bring on the move). It is pitted and slatted in such a way as to give different muscle groups a massage as you roll over it. The coating is both high-density and environmentally friendly and it comes with a fully bound instructional booklet.
Best for Advanced Athletes with High Pain Threshold:
66fit Original Rumble Roller Covered in knob-like fingers, this roller is one of the most intimidating foam rollers out there – and the most highly recommended by many functional fitness athletes. The fingers help it to achieve a deeper massage, but make it a bit rough for those of us with sensitive skin.
Best for High Volume Athletes with Significant Muscle Mass:
HyperIce Vyper – 3 Speed Vibrating Foam Roller for Muscles is the most expensive Foam Roller in our review, but it comes with a vibrating function. It is “the next generation of foam roller,” with three different vibration speed options that’s intended to help provide a deeper, longer lasting effect on the soft tissue. It’s 30cm long and the battery doesn’t last more than a few hours, but it provides a more effective, long lasting experience.