Everybody seems to be doing foam rolling nowadays. There have been many research and studies that acclaim the benefits you could get out of foam-rolling. Massage therapists, physiotherapists, body-trainers, basically everyone who’s into fitness rave about the utility of self-massaging. They claim that foam rolling improves muscular flexibility and reduces pain or stiffness. If you work out daily, you should get into the habit of using the right foam roller.
Gym trainers, physiotherapists, and so on recommend using foam rollers at least a few times a week if you have an active lifestyle. Foam rollers help to relieve those stiff muscles after a workout and help loosen knots. A foam roller allows you to work on larger muscle groups, too, because of the larger surface area. They are the best when it comes to massaging your back, calves, quads, and hamstrings. Now, maybe you are not familiar with what a foam roller is, how to use it, and its means. Below is all of the information you will need on a foam roller and how to pick the perfect one for you.
What Is A Foam Roller?
If you have an active lifestyle, meaning you go to the gym, are an avid athlete, or a runner, you must have experienced sore muscles. You might have tried several ways to find relief, which is where foam rollers come into the picture. Foam rollers provide relief to sore muscles. You can use them either before or after working out. Foam rollers have a firm but comfortable surface designed to help you massage and stretch your muscles. A person uses their body weight to lay or sit on the foam roller and then slowly roll it back and forth.
Foam rollers come in all types of different sizes, shapes, and textures. The material affects its density and texture. A polyethylene foam roller is generally softer and tends to warp over time. EVA foam is denser and naturally more durable. You will also find rollers in the market with plastic cores incorporated in them. These help to maintain the density of the roller and make them more durable.
What Does A Foam Roller Do?
Foam rolling implies a method of self-massage. It is similar to giving yourself a soft tissue massage or a myofascial release. Myofascial release is a medical therapy useful in treating muscle immobility or pain by improving lymphatic, oxygen, and blood circulation. It also helps in enhancing the stretch reflex in the muscles. When you use a foam roller, the trigger points or the knots in your muscles start to get released. You use a foam roller and relieve your muscles by applying pressure through your body weight. You can easily use a foam roller on your back, hips, legs, and different parts of your body. Foam rollers help to stretch out the muscles, and they also improve blood circulation. Your running recovery gets sped up as the foam roller breaks down your scar tissues. You can also use rollers for exercises such as core training and balancing.
How To Choose A Roller For Yourself?
You might think that getting a foam roller is a pretty easy thing to choose. But, there are many types of foam rollers out there, and you need a guide to help you choose the best roller for yourself. The three most important factors to check while buying a foam roller are as follows.
Density is perhaps the most crucial factor to consider when getting a foam roller. Density may be regarded as a cushion, give, or firmness. Foam rollers come in three densities.
- Firm: If you want a deeper and more intense massage, firm rollers would be best for you. Highly active individuals like athletes get tight muscles often. These rollers act best for them as they give a penetrating massage. These are the rollers that provide you a proper myofascial release.
- Medium: These rollers are also known as standard rollers, and their firmness is medium. Since they have a universal quality, you can use them for both exercise and self-massage. They have just enough firmness to have a moderate cushion and are suitable for deep massages too. They also act as useful props for core strengthening exercises like yoga or pilates.
- Soft: These types of rollers have more cushion. These are for people who want more comfort than deeper massages by standard and firm rollers. Soft rollers are gentler to your muscles and are the optimum choice if you have sensitive muscles.
Shape and Size
Foam rollers come in many different sizes and shapes. Though most rollers have the full-size, traditional round cylinder shape, there are other varieties too.
- Full-size standard: When you think of a roller, these are the ones that come to mind. The measurements of the standard rollers are 36 inches in length and 6 inches in diameter. These can be used for many kinds of massages and help relieve larger muscle groups. They are also useful in physiotherapy and exercises such as pIlates or balance and core strength exercises.
- Short-length roller: These rollers feature a short length of about 12 or 18 inches and are portable. You can carry them to the gym, pilates studio, or the physiotherapy clinic. They target specific muscle groups such as glutes or calves.
- Small diameter: Rollers with a smaller diameter of about 4 inches are more stable and closer to the floor. They are primarily for older people, physical therapy patients, or those who don’t have the right balance.
- Bumps and ridges: If you want a more invigorating massage or want to massage specific areas, rollers with protrusions are the best option for you. These uniquely designed rollers offer a deeper massage and relieve even tight and compact areas.
- Half-size, flat roller: These kinds of rollers are best for core strength or balancing exercises. Most of these have a general length of 36 inches and a height of 3 inches. They have a plano-convex shape, that is, flat on one side and rounded on the other.
Types of Foam
- EPP foam: Rollers made from this type of foam are of excellent quality yet affordable too. They are quite versatile and are suited to every kind of user. They offer a perfect combination of affordability and durability. Thus, they are perfect for people who are just starting with rollers and more experienced users. These rollers last longer than open-cell rollers.
- Open-Cell: Rollers that have open-cell construction tend to break down faster than closed-cell ones. Though these are inexpensive, you would be better off investing in closed-cell foam rollers. Closed-cell rollers provide the durability you need.
- EVA Foam: The durability of rollers made with EVA foam is unmatched. These rollers are known to have professional strength. They can withstand heavy use, generally expected in gyms, pilates studios, or clinics where they are used all day. You can even use it at home easily because of the assured durability it provides.
As you may have understood by now, it takes a lot of thought and research to purchase the perfect foam roller for yourself. But you should invest your time into finding out about rollers so that you find the right match! The right roller would give you the utmost comfort, and you would be motivated to use it with consistency. Just keep in mind the three factors before buying one, and you will be good to go.