What Is A Foam Roller?
One of the more unique exercise aides out there is a foam roller.
The name alone is pretty self-explanatory, but if you still aren’t sure what a foam roller is and what it is useful for, then this article is for you.
In here, you will find out exactly what a foam roller is and what it’s used for.
What Are They?
Foam rollers are extremely simple exercise aides.
They are just solid tubes made of very soft foam. They can be used to do a variety of different things.
For example, foam rollers can be used to do various exercise routines such as yoga or Pilates, both of which have routines built around foam rollers.
Foam rollers are also used heavily in both massage therapy and physical therapy.
They have little impact on the body and can be used to stimulate areas, which makes them helpful for patients recovering from injury or surgery.
The Different Kinds Of Foam Rollers
There are actually a few different varieties of foam rollers out there.
On the one hand, you have very light foam rollers.
These are the softest and have the most amount of give. They aren’t too useful for exercising, but can be extremely comfortable, and are helpful for therapy purposes.
Then there are standard foam rollers that have a good balance between softness and give.
Finally, there are extremely dense foam rollers that make great exercise aides, but that might also be a bit too firm for some.
Are Foam Rollers Effective?
Foam rollers are an extremely effective tool.
Study after study has found that foam roller-based therapies and exercise routines are a very effective way to deal with lingering muscle issues and muscle pain.
They are also a very good way of helping patients recovering from serious muscle issues to regain muscle strength.
Is A Foam Roller Right For Me?
Foam rollers can technically be sued by anyone, no matter their weight, age, or physical status (fit or unfit, injured or uninjured, etc.).
However, it should be noted that they do require some forethought to use.
You can’t just pick up a foam roller and start using it since you are likely to end up using it wrong.
But, if you are willing to put the time into learning how to use it properly (this can be done by looking up videos, guides on the internet, etc.), then they can be very helpful.
What Does a Foam Roller Help With?
A foam roller is an excellent addition to anyone’s routine.
It’s ideal as a recovery tool used by athletes and anyone who regularly participates in activities that can lead to sore or stiff muscles.
When used correctly, foam rolling helps to release tension within muscles and also helps to stimulate overall blood flow. This enhances performance and speeds healing.
If you’re wondering why you might start using a foam roller, the list is a long one.
Foam rolling helps with soreness and stiffness anywhere you place it, which makes it particularly effective and popular for sore and stiff backs.
However, you can also use it for your legs and other areas where you may be suffering from overworked, strained, or stiff muscles.
The general benefits of foam rolling include myofascial release, heightened flexibility, increased range of motion, and better posture.
It can help you recovery from your workouts and even lead to better sleep–not to mention all of these benefits lead to a reduced risk of injury from exercise.
Using a foam roller is very simple, but you do need to do it correctly in order to enjoy all of its benefits.
Foam rollers are best used for your body’s painful knots and tense muscles, or “trigger points”, where you feel soreness and/or stiffness.
Simply place the foam roller under the area and slowly roll it over the area.
Your tenderness or stiffness will gradually fade away in a process known as myofascial release.
Foam rollers come in a few different sizes.
You should choose the one that seems most fitting to your body’s shape and size.
If you are primarily going to use the roller for your back, you should probably opt for a slightly larger one.
It needs to be at least as wide as the area you are covering, and wider is always fine.
Just make sure it is not too narrow as that will inhibit your ability to use the foam roller properly.
Your foam roller can bring you many benefits, whether you’re using it on your calves, thighs, back, or other areas.
Regular foam rolling can help you both before or after a workout and especially at the end of a long day, so get in the routine of foam rolling and you’ll soon begin realizing its benefits.
How Do You Choose a Foam Roller?
Are you trying to decide between a smooth foam roller or a bumpy one?
How about all the different brands and sizes available on the market?
If you are struggling to make a decision, this quick guide will help you figure things out.
What do you need it for?
If you are trying to find relief from back pain, you probably just need one good, go-to roller that will work for your purposes.
You’ll want one that’s durable and well-made so that you can consistently use it every day going forward and experience all of the benefits foam rolling has to offer. In this case, it might be worth paying a few extra dollars for a name brand if the quality difference seems substantial.
On the other hand, if you exercise and you’re looking to roll out multiple muscle groups–from your core down to your quads–you should consider getting more than one roller.
Simply getting one smooth and one bumpy will give you many more options when it comes to rolling out your tired muscles after a workout or warming them up before hand.
What’s your tolerance?
If you are new to foam rolling and/or suffering from severe tenderness, soreness, or stiffness, it might be best to go for a lower-density foam roller.
This will mean your foam roller will be softer and more pliable, meaning less pressure will be put onto the muscles themselves.
Don’t underestimate how dense and hard foam rollers can be.
Some are like hard plastic and have no give at all, which makes for quite a lot of pressure on your aching muscles that can end up being downright uncomfortable.
Denser rollers will hold up better overtime, but it’s always best to work your way up.
Start with a softer roller and then get a denser one later on once you have your technique downpat.
Your tolerance will also factor into whether you get a smooth roller, which puts less pressure on your muscles, or a textured roller which can help to further pinpoint “trigger points” (or muscle knots) that are bothering you.
Pick a size
Finally, choose a foam roller that’s a good size based on the main area you want to target.
If you want to target multiple areas, it might be ideal to get a couple smaller ones for your calves and thighs and a larger one for your back.