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Why would we want a foam roller in our exercise kit? Does it really make a difference? Which type of foam roller should I use? What are the benefits of the foam roller? Is the foam roller safe? Which is the best foam roller to use? Well, I hope to be able to provide you with some insight into all of these questions. Read on
Best Foam Roller Shoulders
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By using a foam roller, it stimulates blood flow and loosens tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Muscles, ligaments and tendons may have been injured or damage through exercise or adhesions and scar tissue and speed up the healing and recovery process after your workout.
It initiates the release of myofascial toxins build-up, that is, the toxic tissue fluid pollution around the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that causes pain at particular trigger points around the body. By increasing the blood flow, it speeds up the healing and recovery of any adhesions and tissue damage.

What is fascia?

In Latin, fascia is translated as a band or bundle. In our bodies, it is the connective tissues between the muscle, bones, ligaments, organs, and blood. It is the web that holds the entire body together. This of it a three-dimensional spider’s web. There are four kinds of fascia;

  1. structural,
  2. intersectoral,
  3. visceral, and
  4. spinal

All these kinds of fascia are interlocked and fully integrated.

When the fascia is healthy, it has flexibility, subtleness, allowing for the body to glide efficiently.

When the fascia is damaged in some area of the body, the pain may not necessarily at the spot where the damage has occurred. In the injured area, the muscles around the injured area will contract to prevent any further injury. This will affect fluid around the fascia that can harden and tighten, as well as less blood flow and a toxin build-up. 

With proper treatment, this toxin build can be avoided. By massaging the effective area, referred to Myofascial Release, MFR, it releases the toxins around the damaged tissue.

Using a foam roller is a self-managed recovery program. It is often known as SMFR (Self Myofascial Release)

How does it work?

Have you ever had a massage? Hasn’t it felt so good after it! Part of the reason is the feel-good chemical, and endorphins are immediately released in the brain to give you a natural high, The other is the stimulating of blood around muscles, tendons, ligaments, which decrease any inflammation and removes any collected toxins in the areas around the muscles. A study by the National Academy of Sports Medicine  found that people who used foam rollers recovered significantly faster than those who didn’t.

Well, using a foam roller is essentially a self-inflicted massage. It is an affordable and convenient way to give oneself a deep tissue massage. This often referred to SMR, self-myofascial release. It could be quickly one of the best things you have recently purchased

There has been much written on the benefits of foam rollers.  In summary they;

  • Ease muscle pain and correction of imbalances
  • Increase the range of joint motion
  • Reduces muscle pain and soreness
  • Manages fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Support muscle relaxation
  • Stimulates neuromuscular efficiency
  • Improved tissue and tendon recovery
  • Manage of trigger point sensitivity and pain
  • Reduces neuromuscular hypertonicity

Not only is the SMR is good for muscles, tendon, and ligament recovery, it can be just as useful to add to your warm-up or cool down, before and after exercises.

Why is using a foam roller good for you?

When used correctly, see my article, Foam Roller Exercises, it aims or targets on a specific muscle, ligament areas and fascia to provided induced blood flow and release of toxins that allow to free up the tension, and stress in these areas, as well as the, increasing the brain endorphins.

Reduction of muscle soreness

If you use the foam roller after strenuous exercise, it increases the level of oxygen to the specific area you are messages accelerating the natural muscle recovery process as well as avoiding any potential muscle inflammation.

In the Journal of Athletic Training it has been experimentally shown that undertaking foam rolling exercise reduces the onset of muscle soreness.

Increased flexibility and range of motion

Just by the nature of rolling foam exercises, it provides a mechanism to undertake a “soft” way to stretch your body without overdoing it. It allows you to gradually lengthen the muscles and ligaments in a natural and controlled manner.

“Supplise” the fascia tissue

Fascia is the layer of connective tissue, mostly collagen, just below the skin that connects, stabilizes, covers, and separates muscles and other internal organs. With the lack of activity of physical activity, this layer can tighten. Using a foam roller will encourage blood flow and stimulate the self-myofascial release process to commence. It will eventually make the area worked on more supple and flexible

Avoidance of injury

When you use the foam roller exercises before strenuous aerobic or anaerobic exercise will help prevent by the fundamental knowledge, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons are already warmed up.

Manage fibromyalgia symptoms

Fibromyalgia or fibrositis is a medical condition that is recognized by chronic extensive pain and is heightened by pressure. A study showing people suffering from fibromyalgia and undertaking a self-myofascial release using foam rollers reported there was a reduced level of pain.

Inducing relaxation

In this busy stress world, it is no wonder our bodies react adversely. It usually by muscles tightening up. Using the foam roller, especially around the back, neck and should help endorphins to release the day to day stress

How safe is a Foam Roller?

How can a foam roller cause injury, you may ask? For one thing, if you rush or do it incorrectly, you may do hyperextend a joint cause tissue damage. As well you should avoid using a foam roller if you have a muscle tear or break.

Though in general, it is very safe to use.

Tips in using the foam roller

  • Do a minimum of 10 minutes of foam rolling exercise before and after an intense aerobic workout
  • Never rush when doing the exercises. It could do more harm than good. Slower is better. It will be ineffective as the muscles, and blood flow will not respond
  • Keep a steady slow pace. If you go too slow, you may cause pressure points that may damage the tissue and or cause nerve damage. You will feel it when you do go too slow.
  • Do not use the foam roller on the lower back. Using the foam roller on the lower back may make the lower back muscles contract bring back pain.

Which is the best foam roller for me?

I am going to buy a foam roller which one? How hard can it be? Then you start your research and find there is so many to choose from. It can be confusing and overwhelming. Which one is the best foam roller for me?

Choosing the right foam roller may mean using it regularly or sitting in the cupboard.

Lets start. When you start looking a getting a foam roller, they come in different lengths, shapes, colors, material, density, and textures. Firstly, we will provide some insight into the main features of foam rollers. The standard size of a foam roller size is 36″ long by 6″ in diameter.

You may decide to get two or three as they can be used for a different reason as well.. They are relatively inexpensive.

Density

Density refers to how much compression (cushion), or firmness, or how soft they feel. They are graded soft, medium, and hard. The softer the foam roller, the less intense the massage. There is a comprise – too soft, not effective in a deep-tissue massage – too hard and causing bruising.

The softer foam roller would be more suitable for a person who has sensitive muscles or someone who is starting out, whereas the harder roller would be more suited for an athlete for use in massaging.

Something to keep in mind, the softer foam rollers tend to deform sooner. Keep an eye out for it.

A medium-density or medium-firm roller would be ideal for Pilates or yoga.

Length

Length does matter. Depending on your requirement. The standard length of a foam roller is 36″. They do also come in 12″, 18″ and 24″. The benefits of the shorter lengths include the ease of packing into your luggage when you travel and the other benefit if you want to concentrate I one particular area of the body, like the calf muscles or glutes.

The longer ones work well for the perpendicular back exercises and the short ones quads and hamstrings.

The standard length is more versatile if you are going to restrict yourself to one.

Diameter

The standard diameter of a foam roller is 6″. Though they do come in 3″ and 4″. A smaller diameter roller is designed to target a specific part of the body.

For some people, the thinner foam rollers are more stable, make you feel more secure and safe.

Texture

There two main types of textures that foam rollers come in.

Smooth, the most popular, is good to provide an even pressure across the area being worked on. It’s ideal for people who tend to bruise easily as it doesn’t pace extensive pressure point as a ribbed foam roller. In general, they are less expensive than ridged/knob foam rollers.

Ridges/Knobs/Bumps – the protrusions on the roller penetrates deeper at the contact points on the body to have provided a more invigorating massage. The deep penetration has a higher impact on breaking up the fascia.

Thee is a variety of knobbed bumpy rollers, form large thin protrusions to more rounded bumps. Each has it place.

The knobbed rollers intend to mimic the hands of a masseur where they use the finger or knuckles to get to the tight and knotted muscles

Foam-covered stick rollers- massagers The purpose and concept of roller sticks are the same as the foam rollers. The difference is they are hand-operated. There is essentially a rolling pin that is principally fo legs massages targeting precise muscle areas with hand-controlled pressure. The stick massage rollers are great to be used on the upper back by someone else.

Material

There are three main types of foam types used to construct foam rollers. The material used in their construction will impact the longevity, bounce factor, durability flexibility, and strength.

  1. Open Call
  2. EPP – Closed Cell
  3. EVA Closed Cell

PE (Polyethylene) Open-Cell foam rollers

The PE Foam Rollers are softer material and less durable. While they are suitable for massage and exercise, they tend to break down much faster than closed-cell rollers. These types of rollers are inexpensive, with a tradeoff of having a shorter lifespan.

EPP Expanded Polypropylene In classified as a closed-cell. They are typically a higher quality are are quite firm. Having a close look, you will notice the tightly bound together polystyrene balls with a smooth surface. They are very durable and intended for heavy use. They are well priced for a starting point for a roller

EVA Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Foam Rollers are a high density, designed to resist moisture and bacteria. The other characteristics are that they have excellent shock absorption, durable, and very lightweight. Being of a non-porous is does not allow sweat absorption, which makes them suitable for use in gyms and health clubs.

Before you start doing foam rolling exercise Read this

Like any new exercise, you should learn about a few basics before starting to avoid injury. There many beginner videos on-line that you use to see help you start. They can help you motivate yourself. If you belong to a gym, the fitness trainer can give you some instructions or go to one of these classes.

Using the foam rollers when you start can be a little uncomfortable. Be kind to yourself and begin softly for the first few weeks. Slowly increase the intensity to where only a little discomfort. Don’t go past this point.

This is the typical process of using the foam roller. Remember, if you are unsure, consult a physio, doctor, or gym instructor.

  1. Identify the areas where you have muscle soreness or tightened muscles and knotted muscles.
  2. With the roller on the ground (you may want to have it on a yoga matt, lower your body with the roller just above the area of muscles soreness.
  3. Slowly use your body weight and pace as much weight to a low level of discomfort.
  4. Move very slowly back and forth perpendicular to the roller
  5. At times stopping at the area where the muscles are damaged
  6. Perform this for between 20–40 seconds

The motions will stimulate the blood flow and initiate the movement of fascia toxins
It may take a while to work out the most effective motion for yourself. Be patient with yourself, as this may take a while.

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Foam Roller Product Review

We have come up with the list of popular and best foam rollers that would meet your muscle repair and relaxation needs.

We asked physios and gym instructors to review the chosen foam roller to give us some feedback. The thoughts and feedback products have been incorporated into the analysis.

This review intends to support your decision making to which is the best foam roller for yourself.

Our recommendations are based on feedback from these professions that evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Foam Material & Texture
  • Size Variations availability
  • Firmness
  • Stability
  • Material Density
  • Effectiveness in dealing with muscles and tissues

So, let’s get cracking!

Equipment
Summary

Price
Range

Rating

LuxFit Foam Roller, Speckled Foam Rollers for Muscles

Ideal to use when you have tender muscles.  It provide a gental massage required to just get the circulation of blood in the damaged area.

Under
$15

Very
Good

Yes4All High-Density Foam Roller

An excellent foam roller for those who like the firmer feel.   It does provide a stable instrument to work on.

Certianlly it would be useful in the fitness kit.

Under
$20

Good

Rollga Foam Roller – Standard

Rate the best message product by Runners world, you cannot go far for this for leg massages and back massages.

Highly recommended.

Under
$40

Best
Buy

AmazonBasics High-Density Exercise Foam Roller

An Amazon product.  It is slightly more expensive than the other products.  The quality of the roller is very good.

Under
$25

Good

Gaiam Restore Muscle Massage Therapy Foam Rollers

One of the favourites by the gym professionals.  The like the feel and firmess of the foam roller.

You really cannot argue.

Under
$25

Very
Good

RumbleRoller – Textured Muscle Foam Roller

A specialise foam roller dedicated for a deep massage.  They have a wide range of products.

This is highly recommended for those who want a firm massage.

Just need to me careful for those who bruise easily.

From
$70

Great
Buy

Did you know?
 The first 45 minutes after exercise is the essential period to re-vitialise your muscles

LuxFit Foam Roller, Speckled Foam Rollers for Muscles

Rating: Very Good

Firmness:  Firm

Material: PPE

Size: 12/18/24/36 Inches

Color: Red/Blue/Orange

Price: Under $15

Pro’s

  • Extra firmness
  • Stable foam roller providing a right balance
  • Helps to increase muscle reflexology

Con’s

  • Speckles not much useful
Molded polypropylene foam technology used for this Luxfit foam roller comes with a density of 2lbs per cubic foot to provide extraordinary firmness. It is an excellent fit foam roller for your physical therapy sessions and works great for relieving muscle tension. It is quite effective in increasing muscle reflexology and prevents any injury to the significant extent.

For you to get the right posture, positioning, and the right balance for spinal stabilization, this foam roller would do the perfect job for you. A smooth surface material ensures you get the best of your experiences using this product and helps to build a lot of body strength once consistently use it over a prolonged periods

Yes4All High-Density Foam Roller

Rating: Very Good

Firmness: Very Firm

Material: PPE

Size: 12/18/24/36 Inches

Color: Black/Blue/Blue Speckled/Purple/Purple Speckled

Price: Under $20

Pro’s

  • Convenient self-massage therapy sessions
  • Smooth and durable performance
  • Better muscle mobility with myofascial release

Con’s

  • A bit rigid and hard build material
The best fit for a deep massage and supports weights up to 300 lbs. It is the best foam roller when you consider durability as it doesn’t lose shape with its continuous period of usage. Along with that, it is incredibly lightweight to play around with, so you always have the peak relaxation period with this Yes4All foam roller.

It is an excellent product for you to have for self-massage therapy and myofascial release allowing you to have better levels of muscle mobility. You can have a sensational body flexibility level build-up with the usage of this one for some time. High density expanded polypropylene (EPP) build material makes this one of the best foam roller available out there for fitness lovers.

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Rollga Foam Roller – Standard

Rating: Great

Firmness: Firm

Material: EPP

Size: 18 Inches

Color: Green/Purple/Royal Blue/Silver/Yellow/Pink

Price: Under $40

Pro’s

  • Highly rated by Runners World
  • A great choice for leg pain and tight calves
  • Connective tissue fascia Roller
  • Superfast pain reliefs provided

Con’s

  • Limited applications
Now, this is a premium choice foam roller as it was mentioned in Runners World Magazine Edition 2018 and causes improved recoveries to muscles. It helps to stimulate better flows of oxygen in the bloodstream and increases the mobility of muscles to a great extent with a self-massage.

The shape of this Rollga foam roller allows you to have targeted massage points towards muscles, only altogether avoiding bones and tendons. It is incredibly lightweight to use and carry along, and this foam roller can accommodate weights up to 2000 lbs. The Solid EFP Foam core allows you to have great added benefits with super convenience

Rollga Foam Roller
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Rollga Foam Roller
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AmazonBasics High-Density Exercise Foam Roller

Rating: Very Good

Firmness: Firm

Material: PPE

Size: 12/18/24/36 Inches

Color: Black/Blue/Blue Speckled /Purple/Red Speckled / Yellow Speckled

Price: Under $25

Pro’s

  • Great foam firmness
  • High quality molded polypropylene
  • Extremely lightweight and durable

Con’s

  • Can be a bit too stiff for some individuals
A thick and high-density foam roller that provides excellent balance while you are lying on it to get things working for yourself. You would love the versatility on offer with this product as you can use it for stabilization, flexing your muscles, and do strength build-up pieces of training. Extraordinary firmness is delivered with the use of molded polypropylene as a foam material.

An ideal choice as it remains in shape even after a heavyweight usage and works along with all types of body sizes without causing any hassle.

It is also light in weight and super easy to clean after using it. The soft tissues get correctly triggered, and they can experience an enhanced flow of blood after the usage of this one of the best foam rollers.

Gaiam Restore Muscle Massage Therapy Foam Rollers

Rating: Very Good

Firmness: Semi Firm

Material:  PPE

Size: 36 Inches

Color: Green/Grey

Price: Under $35

Pro’s

  • Loosen tight muscles in no time
  • Reduces muscles soreness
  • Semi Firm density for flexible usage

Con’s

  • Can get too much soft for some
Get your muscles soreness soothed in no time with this high-quality foam roller that comes with semi-firm density design. With this medium-ranged density, you can experience optimal muscle stimulation throughout its usage. It is beneficial in getting your tight muscles to lose so that nothing can stand in your way for a stronger and healthier lifestyle.

The best aspect of this Gaiam foam roller is that it comes with a 15 minute of “How To” Digital Workout video to assist you in having the productive exercise time. The levels at which it reduces soreness and tensions are quite remarkable and provides ideal comfort to back and legs muscles.

aiam Restore Muscle Massage Therapy Foam Rollers
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RumbleRoller – Textured Muscle Foam Roller

Rating: Great Buy

Firmness: Firm & Very Firm

Size: 12/22/31 Inches

Color: Black/Blue

Price: From $70

Pro’s

  • A great choice for stress reliefs
  • Reliefs pain for the deep tissues
  • High-Quality Water-resistant build material

Con’s

  • A bit expensive
When you need to have extreme levels of stress relief and added comfort levels, this is the best foam roller available.

Its texture and design might not suit everyone but still provides the best possible massage therapy.

It is a good fit for deep tissue works and useful for point of pain therapy to target specific muscles and tissues.

The best aspect of this Rumbleroller is that you can control the pressure and offer great firmness while being used. 

RumbleRoller - Textured Muscle Foam Roller
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The build material is non-absorbent for sweats and water-resistant so that you can play around with extreme comfort level.  The latex-free texture design is quite soothing for the body to feel around, and it is a superb choice for most of the fitness lovers

Final Say

No doubt you have seen through this article that the purchase or a foam roller is not straight forward.

The benefits of owning a foam roller are quite evident. To have a foam roller or two would be a worthwhile investment to include in your healthy lifestyle program. It would be a great addition to your fitness box. As described in this article, there are enormous benefits in using a foam roller, no matter if you exercise regularly or not.

For athletes, its is particularly useful for either warming up or cooling down. It does not demand much physical exertion for body strength build-up but gets its work done by providing comfort and relaxation.

Seeing these benefits, we could not resist letting our readers the best foam rollers that would genuinely help them a great deal to achieve their desired outcomes. We took special care of the factors related to their firmness, stability, and how effective they are to provide relief to the exhausted muscles.

We only document those foam rollers that scored highly.

It is hoped you have gained some insight on foam rollers. Let us know

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 Did you know?  The average person sweats between 0.8 litre (28 oz) to 1.4 litres (43oz)  per hour  of exercise

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