Even if you’re not an ultra-marathoner or Olympian, recovery is still an imperative part of fitness. And while there are a variety of ways to spend rest and recovery days, most experts agree that foam rolling is one of the best ways to warm-up or cool-down the muscles before or after a workout.
But with so many rollers available on the market, which one is right for you?
Beginner (surface pressure)
If you’re new to fitness—and foam-rolling—it’s probably best to start with a traditional round foam roller, like SPRI’s high-density foam rollers. The flat surface stimulates blood flow to loosen tight muscles and improve flexibility. It’s also gentle pressure, so if you’re new to the rolling game, a basic foam roller like this will ease you into the practice.
Intermediate (medium pressure)
For seasoned gym-goers, a flat foam roller may not be enough to help your muscles recover. For added circulation and tissue massage, the GRID pattern on TriggerPoint’s foam rollers channels blood and oxygen through the tissues, and helps to alleviate muscular discomfort. The CORE Roller is ideal for those recovering from a serious injury, and channels blood and oxygen to the injured area while you roll. If you’re looking to improve mobility, the GRID Roller is recommended by physical therapists and sports doctors, and if you have tight spots, the GRID X Roller provides deep pressure on troublesome areas.
Still trying to get the hang of rolling? TriggerPoint also sells hand-held rolling “sticks” to target problem areas. The RolPal also has handles like a rolling pin with silicon bumps that are similar to the feel of fingertips massaging the skin. Plus, it’s easy to maneuver, or you can use it like a typical roller.
Advanced (deep pressure)
Need to go even deeper into tissue and muscle? Not for the faint of heart (or fascia), the Rumble Roller’s foam “fingers” work around bones to get into the muscles deeper for muscle pain relief and a truly deep-tissue roll. This type of roller is highly recommended for serious athletes whose bodies have years of muscle pains and aches.
Being on the road is no excuse to put off recovery and rolling. The Rove portable foam roller is travel-friendly, and its domes and spikes allow blood and oxygen to channel in and out of the rolled area, relieving muscle tension, improving flexibility and restoring tissue elasticity. Lay it flat to pack in a suitcase, and roll it up when you need to roll on the go. Or, the collapsible Morph foam roller has nubs to relieve trigger points in the muscle, without taking up too much room in a travel bag.
Photo credit: Bisual Studio, Stocksy