Foam rollers can be game-changing. Real talk. From massage rollers to exercise rollers, they can be the difference between smashing a week of home workouts and winding up with DOMS so deadly you can barely walk after day one.
Reese Witherspoon swears by them, and uses one daily according to a previous IG post.
If you’re on the fence (perhaps you've tried a foam roller for a few minutes at the end of a gym workout before, but never actually stuck to it), then read on for everything you need to know about the recovery and mobility tool, including the benefits of regular foam rolling. Let's get into it.
What is a foam roller?
Put simply, a foam roller (sometimes termed a 'massage roller', 'muscle roller' or occasionally a 'back roller') is a cylinder typically made of compressed foam. Some foam rollers are smooth and some are textured, but they all promise post-workout myofascial release and increased blood flow to repair muscles and reduce soreness.
As PT and founder of The Workshop Gymnasium, Lee Mullins explains: 'This simple tube can also improve mobility, prevent injuries and decrease fascia adhesions', further adding that foam rolling regularly is 'as close as you can get to daily physio or massage appointments'. (The next best thing? A massage gun. Here's WH's top picks.)
What are the benefits of foam rolling?
Releases muscle and fascial tissue
Quicker recovery between workouts
Increased range of motion
Can increase feelings of relaxation
What type of foam roller is best?
The best type for you will depend on what you're looking for, so think about what you need.
Smooth foam rollers are best for beginners, textured (with knobs or ridges) are best if you want to get deeper into the muscle.
The length of your foam roller is largely personal preference, although shorter ones can be easier to transport.
10 best foam rollers 2022
These foam rollers are our edit of the very best foam rollers. We've highlighted their best assets.
Best foam massage roller
1. Lululemon double foam roller mini
Lululemon's two-in-one foam roller comes with an interior foam roller designed specifically for use on the back - it's neither too ridged or too smooth. It's also a handy travel size.
Best trigger point foam roller
2. TriggerPoint Grid Roller
TriggerPoint's Grid Roller is designed with a grid intended to target all the key trigger points, and it really works.
Best yoga foam roller
3. Fitness-Mad foam roller
The Vari Massage Foam Roller from Fitness Mad is the dream for myofascial release, with a range of different patterns for varying massages to suit your individual needs.
Best long foam roller
4. TriggerPoint GRID2.0 foam roller with instructional online videos
This one's a longer version of the TriggerPoint foam roller above, but if you want to target more areas in one go, it's exactly what you need.
Best soft foam roller
5. BLACKROLL standard foam roller
Does the pain of a foam roller put you off? Try this standard foam roller from BLACKROLL - it's made with the least invasive kind of exterior, so you'll be able to roll for longer.
Best cheap foam roller
6. Core Balance foam roller
Core Balance know the deal when it comes to recovery, and their foam roller has been hailed as the equivalent to a deep tissue massage.
Best textured foam roller
7. ELVIRE foam roller massage set
Consider this the king of complete kits, featuring a trigger point foam roller, a soft foam roller, a massage ball, a foot massage roller and a guide.
Best smart foam roller
8. Therabody Wave Roller™ Smart Foam Roller™
Therabody's Wave Roller uses vibration therapy and a fancy wave texture to deliver some serious power. It works via Bluetooth meaning that you can connect to the Therabody app to track and plan your recovery routine.
Best foam roller for runners
9. Umi by Amazon foam roller
If it's stiff, achey legs you're suffering with, the trio of light, medium and high intensity textures mean that you can work your way up during recovery.
Best vibrating foam roller
10. Hyperice Vyper 2.0 foam roller
Hyperice's Vyper 2.0 guarantees all the standard foam roller benefits, as well as three speeds of vibration. Game-changing.
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