Most people think that a foam roller’s only use is to aid muscle recovery. If that’s all you’re using your foam rollers for, you have no clue what you’re missing out on. This one piece of equipment can be instrumental in so many ways — from your warm up, to cool down, to recovery. Read on to get the most out of foam roller benefits. If you do it right, you might not have to worry so much about constantly recovering from sore muscles!
How to Use a Foam Roller
It seems pretty obvious, right? Lay your sore body part on the foam roller, and… roll. That’s about right, BUT there are a few suggestions to getting started and avoiding injury while rolling. First, start with the muscles that are prone to soreness after workouts. Position yourself so those muscles are on top of one of your foam rollers and slowly begin rolling (you should not be moving more than one inch per second).
The pressure on the muscles you are working should be a nice moderate balance. You will know the correct amount of pressure when it produces a slight discomfort. While the purpose of this self-massage is to relieve pain and soreness, the process isn’t always the most pleasant experience and that’s completely normal. If the discomfort becomes painful, you have found a muscle knot, also known as a trigger point. When you find a spot like this stop rolling. This is one very common mistake. Instead, pause and rock the knot back and forth for 30 seconds, this should elevate and release the not, if not repeat for another 30 seconds.
Foam Roller Benefits
All the muscles in your body are connected by fascia and rolling serves to provide oxygenated blood to your otherwise deprived muscles to keep them healthy. Foam rollers improve circulation, which gets the body ready for a workout and helps it recover afterward. Because rolling breaks down knots that limit range of motion, it preps muscles for stretching. Foam rollers are designed to massage and soothe tight, sore muscles.
Foam roller benefits include all of the following:
- diminish aches and pains
- increase flexibility
- increase range of motion
- enhance performance
- accelerate recovery
- flushes out toxins (to help recovery)
With all of these benefits, there is no reason to not roll!
Best Foam Roller For Your Needs
Not all foam rollers are created equal and for a tool that is going to help prevent injury and reduce tightness, you should evaluate what your needs are. Some foam rollers even cater to specific needs, such as targeted muscle group massage or myofascial release. Some have hard, dense cores for fast relief, while others promote a gentler massage with more forgiving material. Check out some of our favorites below so you can find the best foam roller for your needs.
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Rollers
Though these foam rollers are made with less foam than others, the quality and performance is hard to beat. Its unique zone design of the trigger points promises a targeted and effective massage to maximize the benefits of foam rolling. If you plan on using foam rollers a lot in a short amount of time or want one to last you a couple of years, look no further. TriggerPoint’s durability can’t be beat. As an added bonus, there are a few size options: the 13-inch foam roller is compact enough to travel with, or if you want a bigger one you can opt for the 26-inch TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller 2.0.
High Density Foam Roller
This foam roller is perfect for those who don’t like equipment with bells and whistles — it’s simple and effective to use. These foam rollers are created with dense foam material that makes it great for ridding your body of stubborn knots, aches, and pains. This material is also made to withstand heavy usage without ever losing its shape. The best part about these foam rollers is the ability to have self-myofascial release (decrease in sensitivity and tightness). We love SPRI’s High Density Foam Rollers, and they come in different sizes, too!
OPTP Pro-Roller Soft Density Foam Roller
If you’re looking for softer and gentler foam rollers, this is our pick for you. OPTP’s Soft Density Foam Rollers are highly recommended for gentle self-massage as well as various exercise and relaxation techniques. If you can’t have a personal masseuse, why not be your own? The gentle material is certainly this roller’s strong suit, but not its downfall. These foam rollers withstand heavy usage and are easy to clean, which is why we love them!
So what are you waiting for? Give your muscles some well deserved attention and maximize the benefits of foam rolling!