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Playing sports and indulging in training activities is an essential part of life. But, it can also come with a little pain.
However, the pain and soreness can be managed easily using some easy-to-use products, one of them being a foam roller. This massage aids in muscle recovery post grueling training sessions. It helps you to get rid of sore muscles, stiffness in joints, and cramps.
You just need to massage the target area with this massager and the pain will be gone. Simple, isn’t it?
- 1 What are foam rollers?
- 2 What are trigger points and how massaging them relieves pain?
- 3 There are two ways to use foam rollers:
- 4 Benefits of using a foam roller
- 5 Types of Foam Rollers
- 6 5 Best foam rollers for runners
- 7 The Bottom Line
What are foam rollers?
Foam rollers are exercise devices that are used for fitness as well as massage. While using them for self-massage, they can help to relieve the trigger points, i.e. sore areas of the body. They accelerate the recovery of the muscles post training.
The process of rolling the tight muscles in order to relieve muscle tension is known as myofascial release. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release. The application of pressure on specific points helps in muscle recovery and makes them elastic and healthy.
The use of foam rollers for toning down sore muscles is common among professional athletes, therapists, as well as coaches. A person with any level of fitness can use this device to relieve all the stress and tension. This is one of the best recovery methods. It comes to rescue when stretching alone is unable to relieve the tightness.
What are trigger points and how massaging them relieves pain?
Trigger points are specific knots lodged in the muscles. They cause pain. Massaging these points using foam rollers, helps in working out these points. Applying pressure on these points breaks the muscle knots and re-establishes the normal blood flow and hence, pain-free movement. It relaxes the tight muscles. It also breaks the adhesions established between the muscle layers and the surroundings.
The process of self-myofascial release can be very uncomfortable and painful, but it helps in relieving all the pain. Moreover, the process makes way for a better control on the healing process and recovery.
It is always very important to release the trigger points. Relieved tension makes way for pain-free movement which ultimately helps in elevating the performance in athletes.
How can you use foam rollers?
There are two ways to use foam rollers:
You can use the foam rollers for massaging your body parts to release the stress and tension from your body. You just need to roll the foam roller on the sore body parts. It will break the tissue network that connects the muscles. It will also enhance the elasticity of the muscles, establish the blood flow, and enhance the range of motion, ultimately helping your muscles recover at a good pace after a tedious workout session.
There are several kinds of rollers available for massage. You can select the massager according to the intensity of the massage.
Foam rollers are not just meant for massages, you can also use them during exercising. There are many exercises that involve the use of foam rollers. For instance, foam rollers are extensively used in yoga routines and Pilates.
Using the rollers in the exercise regimes inculcates fickleness and this helps in challenging the core and enhancing the balance and strength.
Incorporating foam rollers in exercises like bending and stretching increases the range of motion, as well as flexibility.
Benefits of using a foam roller
Foam rollers come loaded with many benefits. The benefits include:
- Release muscle tension and stiffness
- Establish a healthy blood circulation in the body
- Channel oxygen supply
- Prevent injuries
- Help in sports injury rehabilitation
- Improve flexibility as well as mobility
- Improve performance in physical activities
Types of Foam Rollers
As already mentioned, foam rollers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, as well as textures. They can also be categorized based on their density. Let’s look at the different types of foam rollers based on density, texture, size, shape, and diameter.
According to density
The density of a foam roller is a strong determinant factor of its implementation. People who want to use the foam roller for an intense massage should go for harder foam rollers and those who want a soft and relaxing massage can select the soft rollers.
Based on density, the different kinds of foam rollers available are:
- Standard density
As the name suggests, standard density foam rollers feature medium firmness, i.e. they are not very hard or soft.
They have a certain amount of hardness that makes them the best option for a deep and intense massage while also offering a soft cushioning. They are also a great option to use in yoga regimes and Pilates.
- Soft density
The soft density foam rollers have more cushioning. They are an ideal choice for you if you are looking for a soft and comfortable massage. The device will give you a gentle massage while maintaining its original form.
- Firm density
If you are looking for a deep and intense massage, you must select the firm density foam roller. This kind of roller is the best option for athletes, as well as those, who indulge in heavy-duty workout sessions.
Athletes often have to live with tense, sore and tight muscles but with the use of a foam roller with a firm density, they can release all the pain. Massaging the sore areas with a high-density foam roller breaks up the fascia and enhances the muscle recovery.
According to the surface texture
Foam rollers can also be classified based on their surface texture. There are various foam rollers available in this category.
Selecting the foam roller based on the surface texture helps you to monitor the intensity of massage in a better way. You can apply pressure at various intensities. They allow a more precise massage.
The various kinds of foam rollers based on the surface texture include:
- Smooth rollers
They have a smooth surface which allows them to apply even pressure on the area. The pressure is equally divided across the length of the foam roller.
They are great for soft and gentle massages. Also, they are cheaper than their textured counterparts.
- Textured rollers
These rollers feature ridges and knobs and offer a precise massage on the targeted area. There are some rollers that feature more than one texture. They allow you to tailor the correct amount of pressure on the area.
Some rollers feature mini spikes on their entire length and offer an intense penetrating massage on even the tightest muscles.
According to shape and size
- Long rollers
These rollers reach up to 36 inches in length. They are very efficient and can be used for a wide range of applications. They are a great choice for you if you are buying a foam roller for the very first time.
Long foam rollers are great for backs, quads, hamstrings, etc.
- Short rollers
These rollers are around 24 inches in length. They are great for precise applications like smaller areas such as calves or arms.
The shortest rollers are around 4 to 12 inches in length. They are apt for you if your workout space has limited floor area. They are portable and are extensively used by cyclists and runners who massage their tight hamstrings and calves.
- Based on diameter
Generally, the foam rollers have a 5 to 6 inches diameter. Smaller foam rollers come with a 3 to 4 inches diameter. They are more stable and close to the floor. The smaller ones are apt for deeper and a more precise massage. They are used in aging users, as well as for physical therapy.
- Half round foam rollers
These rollers are half round, i.e. they give an appearance like a roller has been cut lengthwise to divide it into two halves.
These rollers are great for legs, as well as foot stretches. They are also great for massaging the arches of your feet. You can use this kind of foam roller to treat plantar fasciitis.
- Foam-covered roller sticks
These kinds of rollers offer a targeted massage on specific areas. They are great to use on legs. More flexible roller massage sticks are used for a relaxing massage on the upper back.
- Foam balls
Foam balls best target the curved areas of your body. They offer s precise massage in the target area with a fine pressure control. You can use the foam balls on lumbar areas to relieve the stress and tension.
5 Best foam rollers for runners
Runners often struggle with tensed muscles. Massaging foam rollers not just offer them a respite from the pain but also release the trigger points, enhance the range of motion, and provide them greater flexibility.
Here, are the 5 best foam rollers for runners:
|Type of foam||Closed-cell EVA foam technology|
- Honeycomb exterior
- Offers deep tissue massage
- Quick-acting relief
The is one of the best foam rollers for runners. It is lightweight and offers rapid relief from aches and pains. The honeycomb grooves at the exterior offer great deep tissue massage and relieve pains and aches in moments.
Massaging the targeted area with this foam roller enhances the flexibility, tones muscles, establishes healthy circulation, eliminates the knots, release lactic acid, reduce stress, and enhance muscle recovery.
The most notable feature of this foam roller is its design. It features 2-in-1 design and 3-in-1 firmness level. It comes with an inner roller that can be removed and used as a roller in itself. The roller is made from closed-cell EVA foam technology.
The compact design ensures greater portability.
|Size||13 X 6 inch|
|Density||Firm high density|
|Type of foam||EVA foam|
- Travel size
- Used by professionals for massage therapy
- Used for self-massage therapy and myofascial release
- Made EVA foam
The professional foam roller by “Rolling with It” is used by professionals like chiropractors, personal trainers, medical professionals, as well as physical therapists. It is indicated for physical therapy, neck pain, back pain, stamina, balance, and core stabilization.
It enhances the muscle mobility and flexibility. It also relieves the muscle tension and enhances muscle reflexology for Pilates, running, CrossFit, bodybuilding, weight training, and yoga. It is a great choice for sports enthusiasts, especially runners.
The foam rollers are crafted using eco-friendly and recyclable EVA foam.
|Type of foam||–|
- Best self-massage foam roller
- Textured dual pressure zones
- Best for sports enthusiasts
- Best for sports injury prevention and rehabilitation
The is the best foam roller for personal massage therapy and runners. It is the best roller to relieve the soreness from lower back, upper back, neck, ITB, knee, hamstrings, quads, shoulder, and delts.
It features textured dual pressure zones that help you to control the action and pressure. It releases all the toxins in the muscles before the workout which prepares you to undergo intense running and training sessions. Post the workout or running session; it accelerates the muscle recovery to enhance the performance.
It is an ideal foam roller for sports enthusiasts, especially runners as it helps in sports injury prevention and rehabilitation. It is the best selection for pre- and post-workouts, bodybuilding, Pilates, boxing, running, rugby, yoga, and weight training.
|Size||13 x 5.2 inches|
|Type of foam||100% EVA foam|
- Excellent muscle massage
- Deep tissue triggers
- Apt for beginners, as well as experienced users
- Best for prevention of injuries and rehabilitation of old injuries
It also rehabilitates the old injuries and prevents new injuries. It is an ideal foam roller to use for running, gym workouts, Pilates, yoga, CrossFit, and a plethora of sports.
Nordic Lifting Foam Roller reduces muscle stiffness and enhances free movements and flexibility. It establishes a healthy blood flow and oxygen supply throughout the body and hence, initiates the muscle recovery.
It is made using 100 percent EVA foam.
|Size||Available in various sizes|
|Type of foam||Textured|
- Textured muscle foam roller that gives the feeling of a massage therapy
- Flexible nodules mimicking the actions of the thumbs of a massage therapist
- Establishes a healthy blood and oxygen flow in the body
- Available in a variety of colors and sizes
The most amazing feature of the is that it makes you feel like you are getting a massage from a professional massage therapist. The credit goes to the remarkable design of this foam roller that is quite different from that of a regular massage foam roller.
The foam roller features a robust pattern of bumps throughout its length. The nodules are firm but very flexible. They mimic the massage actions of the thumbs of a massage therapist and offer a deep and thoroughly relaxing massage.
Rolling the foam massager on the tensed area stretches the muscles in multiple directions. The massage eliminates the trigger points in moments and releases all the pain and discomfort.
The deep massage enhances the oxygen and blood circulation in the area that causes a quick relief and speeds up the muscle recovery. It makes way for a range of motions. The use of this textured muscle foam roller enhances the flexibility and strength.
It digs deep into the tissues and erases the muscle tension and tightness especially in the case of runners. Its effects reach the connective tissues and ease them down.
You can use this wonderful foam roller pre-workout or before a running competition in order to lose the muscle tension. The roller enhances the flexibility, mobility, and boosts muscle strength during running. It also helps in preventing injuries during the long runs.
You can also use it after the running session to eliminate the muscle soreness and accelerate the recovery process.
is the first choice of many athletes as well as trainers. It is made from a very durable material and delivers a better performance. Even after persistent use, it does not wear down.
The Bottom Line
Foam rollers are a must-have for you if you often indulge yourself in strenuous workout sessions or a sport like running. They help in quick recovery and prepare you to enjoy your favorite physical activities.