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Foam rolling is an excellent exercise that ensures that you won’t need to skip the gym due to muscle soreness from the previous day’s workout. Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique that helps in relieving muscle soreness, inflammation, and pain. This can be helpful for all beginners who irregularly exercise because of these issues. However, it is important to choose the best foam roller for beginners because not all of them are suitable.
One thing you must keep in mind is knowing how dense a foam roller you should pick, as the denser the roller the more intense the pressure will be. Choose a less dense roller for beginner sessions and then upgrade once your muscles can bear the pressure that a dense roller is designed to provide. Foam rollers are now available in many sizes, the size should usually depend upon the area you want to use the foam roller on, but smaller ones are better for traveling and longer ones are ideal for a beginner.
There are different textures available too. Some have a smooth surface but are dense enough to relieve you of muscle pain, while others are hollow but have a higher density outer surface or have bumps to provide you with greater or targeted pressure for different parts of the body. This article will provide you with massage foam roller reviews along with their characteristics to ease your job of finding a suitable one for yourself. We also have a guide with more information to help you before choosing the right foam roller.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Soft Density Foam Roller
- 2 Best Foam Roller for Neck and Shoulders
- 3 Best Medium Density Foam Roller
- 4 Best Foam Roller for Lower Back Pain
- 5 Best Foam Roller for Travel
- 6 FAQs
TriggerPoint CORE Multi-Density Solid Foam Roller
Rollga Panda Foam Roller
ProsourceFit Flex Foam Rollers
Best Soft Density Foam Roller
OPTP Pro-Roller Soft Density Foam Roller
The OPTP Pro-Roller Soft Density Roller is constructed of toxic-free closed cell EVA foam that’s heat treated and almost impermeable to water damage, so you can count on it being easy to clean and durable.
Its soft density is very useful in relieving the constrictions in your muscles after a workout and is particularly good for lying on it on your back.
This particular model is 6″ in diameter and 36″ long but it is also available in two other sizes, so you can choose one that’s most suitable for your hamstrings, calves, back or other areas. This standard size is the most preferred by users wanting to massage the back and larger muscle groups. A smaller diameter model is great for those with stability issues, while a shorter model is easier to carry with you to the gym or when you travel.
- Good for balance and stability exercises apart from regular self-massage applications.
- The closed-cell foam makes it easier to clean with a wet cloth and detergent.
- Is also available in a travel size of 18” x 6”.
- The color comes off when it gets wet in rain.
- Too soft for people who would like to get a firm one.
ProsourceFit Flex Foam Rollers
While you are still learning how to use a foam roller, this ProsourceFit Flex Foam Roller is a must-have. Being a low budget option makes it easy for you to upgrade later on if you need to.
It is medium-density foam and uses moderate pressure on your muscles to heal them from the pain. It is excellently crafted to help release your trigger points and lessen the soreness from your beginner exercise sessions. Use it before your workout to increase blood flow in the body and thus reduce the redness caused by a heavy session. There are other rollers from this brand for different purposes, like the half-round one for body balance exercises and stretching and the two half-length ones can be used for kneeling and standing exercises. By getting more than one type of roller, you can cover yoga, Pilates, rehab, spine alignment, and more.
This is made of non-toxic closed-cell EPE foam, which is highly capable of shock absorption and is heat, water, and oil resistant too.
This roller is available in these sizes: 36”x6”, 12”x6”,36”x3” & 12”x3”.
- Multiple types and sizes of rollers available to be used in multiple ways.
- Perfect buy for beginners on a modest budget.
- Choice of half roller for seniors and those who have balance issues.
- Easy to clean.
- Some users find it too hard.
- EPE foam is less durable than EVA.
Trigger Point Performance CORE Foam Roller
The downside of polypropylene rollers is that they become soft with long-term use but you don’t have to worry about that with EVA foam. The Trigger Point Performance CORE Foam Roller is one of the best rollers when it comes to durability, as it is made of EVA Foam.
The grid pattern on this foam roller is great at providing targeted compressions for faster relief. Think massage therapy by hand and that’s what the grid pattern is designed to do. By using different parts of the grid, you can choose to get a massage that feels like it’s by fingertips or palm. Muscle adhesions are directly targeted, so they are released faster. It is a multi-density foam roller that applies different levels of pressure and is the best foam roller for physical therapy while also being an ideal partner for exercises such as yoga and Pilates.
The 36-inch length roller works well for spine exercises during yoga. This roller is backed with a warranty of 1 year.
These are the sizes available: 12”x4”, 18”x5.5” & 36”x5.5”.
- Weighs only 0.66 pounds(18inch) which makes it easy to carry.
- Available in multiple sizes.
- Accompanied by a free instructional video library on foam rolling for the users by experts.
- Users complain of a chemical odour when it’s new.
- Can be difficult to stay on one specific area of the roller.
Best Foam Roller for Neck and Shoulders
Rollga Panda Foam Roller – Soft
What’s better than an award-winning roller? Yes, the Rollga Panda Foam Roller was chosen as the World Magazine Editor’s Choice in 2018. This foam roller is known for its unique shape that fits your body to target aching muscles while avoiding sensitive tendons and bones that are prone to bruising if you’re not careful. Those just sink into the grooves while the fascia and trigger points make contact with the raised contours. Hard to reach spots like between your shoulder blades are better served by this roller because of the cross-directional pressure.
Its shape helps improve the blood circulation in your body to better the mobility and flexibility of your muscles. Made of EPP foam, it can serve you as your travel buddy because of its 18” size and 8.5 ounce weight and is easy to clean. Don’t misjudge its size though, as it is professionally tested to hold up to 2000 lbs.
The user guide that accompanies the Rollga numbers the contours from 1 to 4 and refers to these numbers when teaching you how to position yourself and then roll at various angles on it.
- This 18” lightweight roller is a perfect travel companion.
- Is extremely durable and can withstand up to 2000 Lbs.
- Has a free app and entry to a private Facebook group for more ideas and instructional videos.
- The guide feels confusing initially.
Best Medium Density Foam Roller
Gaiam Restore Muscle Massage Therapy Foam Roller
The Gaiam Restore Muscle Massage Therapy Foam Rollers offer a soft and semi-dense rolling experience for the best muscle stimulation. On one hand, it is soft enough to not hurt you much, on the other, it is sturdy enough to break up and roll out your sore muscles.
Its 36” length suits all kinds of balance and full-body exercises while its 18” one is suited for double arm and double leg work. They’re made of EPE foam and are available in a plain and smooth surface, in a marbled smooth surface, and in a textured surface. The longer 1.74 LB roller helps you to relieve your stress and improve blood circulation. Athletes and Physical therapists love this product for rolling out sore muscles before and after a workout.
- You have a choice between plain and smooth, marbled and smooth, and textured surfaces.
- Excellent for those with a lower pain threshold.
- Not for long term durability.
OPTP LO ROX Aligned Foam Roller
The OPTP LO ROX Aligned Foam Roller finds a special mention in the book “Taller, Slimmer, Younger” by body alignment expert, Lauren Roxburgh. Lauren has designed this roller herself for a regenerative and rejuvenating massage.
This medium density roller is made to tone your body after a workout and warm up before. You can use this EVA-made roller for improved blood circulation and reduce inflammation of muscles. This roller is good for a deep massage as well as a gentle massage for your sensitive spots. The surface has tiny “nubs” to help release knots.
- Designed by a fascia and alignment expert.
- Made of durable EVA foam.
- More expensive compared to other foam rollers in the same category.
Best Foam Roller for Lower Back Pain
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
While the CORE roller by the same brand has a solid core, the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller has a patented design with a multi-density exterior constructed over a hollow core, which makes it the first of its kind. You can use this EVA-made foam roller multiple times and it does not lose its shape.
Its durability and effectiveness cannot be questioned as it is the first choice of many physical therapists, massage therapists, athletic trainers, and professional athletes. It’s firmer than the CORE roller but its surface grid pattern works the same way. It’s the best lower back foam roller and if you need that extra pressure to release tissue in certain specific parts of the body, like quads and calves. This original GRID roller measures 13”x5.5” and has a user weight capacity of 500 pounds. The manufacturer provides a warranty of 1 year on this product.
- It is hollow so is good for travel.
- Most durable roller.
- Includes a free online instructional video for the users to understand the product better and make optimum use of it.
- Some beginners complain of bruising after using it.
Best Foam Roller for Travel
Brazyn Morph Foam Roller
The Brazyn Morph Foam Roller serves as your best travel companion, as it weighs only 1.5 lbs and reduces down to less than 2 inches thick when folded. Its compact size and light weight do not hinder its performance, as it is tested to support up to 350 lbs. It is made with bamboo and recyclable aluminium, which makes it not only travel friendly but also environmentally friendly.
It can be expanded by an easy pull on the end ropes into a full-size roller of 14.5”x5.5”. It won’t collapse under you as you roll. When you’re done, you just have to push the ends inwards and it will collapse back down.
Its versatile design makes it loved by traveling athletes. It is great for everything from the arc of the foot to the largest muscle group, but should not be used on the spine or neck. Its textured surface makes it one of the best foam rollers for tight hamstrings and hip pain.
- Easy to expand and collapse.
- Light and easy to pack.
- Pricey compared to many other rollers available.
- Its bumpy texture makes it hard for some users to roll on.
Experts advise rolling before you stretch. Rolling will help to loosen up muscle tightness and get the blood flowing. This will help you lengthen out the muscle while stretching.
It is crucial to understand when to roll and when to stretch. If you stretch first then it will add tension to your already sore muscles. Therefore, you should roll first and then stretch.
As a beginner, you should start slowly and not overdo the rolling. Start with rolling your upper back along your spine. Keep inhaling and exhaling while doing this. Then you should proceed with your hamstrings while you sit upright on the roller and balance with your hands. Go to your calves next and then proceed to stretch exercises using a slant board for legs or a full body stretching machine for more. It is important to understand that you do not roll for longer durations as a beginner as it can do more harm than good.
Foam rollers hurt a bit because they work on your sore muscles by applying pressure on them. It should be pain that is bearable because if you are unable to bear the pain, it means you should switch to a softer roller or seek professional help.
If your neck hurts too much do seek medical help, as the neck is a sensitive area. You should roll slowly over your sore muscles or else you could cause an injury to yourself.
As a beginner, you should start with a soft roller but slowly proceed towards a hard one. Don’t hurry the process because soft rollers can be pretty effective even in the long term. Always choose a medium roller after you have used a soft roller for days and then move to a hard one only if you think it is necessary or that you feel like a hard one will be more effective for you.
After a few weeks of regularly using a soft roller start using a medium-hard roller for 3-4 minutes. You’ll need time to get used to the new pain it may inflict, but the key to it all is to take it slow and to a level that your muscles can bear.
Everyone has a different level of endurance; you should never switch to a hard roller just because you saw your gym mate doing so. Learn by listening to your body signals. If your body is too comfortable using a soft roller and experiences no pain, then it’s time for you to switch to a harder one.