Different Types of Foam Roller
There are many different types of foam roller available to buy online. but how do we know which is the right one for us?
Massage has long been used by elite sports athletes to relieve muscle tension, promote recovery, and improve flexibility. However, massage is now available to people at all levels of fitness without the hefty price tag. Foam rolling is bringing the benefits of self-massage to the masses.
Self mysofascial release is the fancy name for self-massage, the type of massage done with a foam roller. Using the foam roller to apply pressure to points of tension on the body you are able to help the body recover faster, increase circulation and improve flexibility. There are many different foam rollers on the market though so ensuring you get the right one for you is important. Whilst they may look like your average pool noodle, there is so much more to a foam roller than that.
Foam rollers can range in size from 30cm (12”) to 90cm (3 feet long). A good thing to remember when picking a size is the location of the foam rolling, size of the person foam rolling and body part being rolled. If you’re a guy with a 20” wide upper back that 12” foam roller isn’t going to be much use when foam rolling the back. Likewise if you like to pack your foam roller for trips to the gym a 12” roller is going to be more convenient.
Foam rollers do come in different shapes as well as sizes. There are the round foam rollers which are cylindrical in shape, usually with a 6” diameter. Also available is the half round, which is like a full cylinder foam roller cut in half lengthways with a flat side and rounded edge. These half-round foam rollers are great for those with limited mobility or stability. The flat edge lies on the floor and you roll over the curved edge. Conversely the half-rounds make great stability training tools too.
This white foam roller is the standard foam roller. It’s great for beginners as it’s made from low density foam, which means it’s gentler on the pressure points and whilst it will relieve the tension it won’t be as aggressive, meaning it won’t hurt as much.
The black foam roller may look the same as the white, but it uses a higher density foam which due to it being harder makes it more suitable for those used to foam rolling. If you’ve used the white foam roller for a while and aren’t seeing results, or it’s starting to feel easy, then it’s time to move on.
There’s also foam rollers with texture such as ridges, lumps and bumps but these are for the advanced individual as these are made to really get into the deep muscle tissue to relieve the tension. The grid type is the easiest of this type of textured roller and the rumble roller would be the hardest.
Whichever type of foam roller you choose, consistency is the key. Using the foam roller daily before and after workouts to ensure the best results possible.