1. Choosing The Right Size and Shape
Width is the most noticeable variation made. Every individual is of different sizes and shape, therefore, the choice helps you to get the most from the foam rollers.
The narrower rollers are not so intense but are great for getting to smaller muscle groups that can be hard to reach with a wider roller.
Foam rollers are available in a variety of lengths which consists of 30cm,45cm and 90cm. The 30cm and 40cm are used for legs, arms, back, and shoulders. A 90cm roller helps you work the entire body. While using the different shapes of foam rollers, ribs feel like fingers, flat blocks feel like palms and the pointy shapes feel like fingertips that get right into the muscle and give the user an ultimate foam rolling treatment.
- Pick smaller diameter for a targeted approach
Usually foam rollers come in 6-inch diameter, however, if you want to target specific parts of your body, the smaller diameter is all that you need. If you are choosing a roller to take on your vacation, a small foam roller both in length and diameter should be considered.
However, if you’re trying foam roller for the first time, try to stick with the standard and more versatile 5-6 inch ones.
- Half-round foam rollers
If you have issues with the strength, half-round foam rollers would be a good choice. They are suitable for elderly users or for someone with little strength. Users can also move back and forth on these kinds of foam rollers, as soon as they get comfortable with using them. This shape is used in physical therapy, pilates, yoga, and general core strength exercise.
- 12- Inch Foam Roller
The 12-inch foam roller works really well for workouts in small places. Select this foam roller if you intend to carry your foam roller more often. For Example, you may want to take it to your yoga class and use it at home
- 24- inch foam roller
This foam roller is ideal for small parts of your body such as arms and legs or any other part which isn’t typically very wide. But it may prove to be too short for rolling out on your back.
- 36-inch foam roller
If you are looking for a foam roller to be used on your back, the 36-inch foam roller will allow you to roll with it perpendicular to your back without the fear of falling off the ends.
2. Density of Foam Rollers
The most important choice needed to be made regarding your new foam roller is the density. Rollers can be classified into three density categories; soft, medium or firm.
Soft foam rollers have more cushion to them. They are suitable for those who are looking for more comfort rather than the deeper massages.
It is recommended to start with something gentler if you are new to foam rolling. The soft density foam rollers produce a massage that is gentler on the muscles, making it useful for the users who prefer a less intensive massage.
A white foam roller is great for beginners because it produces less pressure and pain. These rollers are less expensive because of the lower density of the foam.
These rollers have a medium firmness. They provide enough firmness for a deep massage while still having a moderate cushion.
Medium rollers such as blue or green foam rollers can also provide a medium amount of massage pressure. These blue or green foam rollers are often made of closed-cell polyethylene foam or EVA foam and are commonly used in pilates classes. They are also great for providing a surface for core strengthening and stabilizing exercises.
These firm rollers are ideal for those seeking a deeper and more intense massage. Athletes and highly active individuals generally go for these firm foam rollers so that they can get benefit from the penetrating nature of these rollers.
Select a black foam roller if you are experienced. Black foam rollers are generally also made of polyethylene foam, and offer hard pressure for self-massage.
A firm foam roller with a dimpled surface will give a deeper massage to targeted areas. This type of roller is great for parts of the body that are prone to muscle tightness, like the shoulders. A dimpled roller, however, may be painful if you are not used to a deep massage.
OPTIONS AVAILABLE INCLUDE:
Some uniquely designed foam rollers for more invigorating massage or to target precise areas. Rollers with ridges, bumps or points can provide a deeper penetrating massage that breaks up fascia in even in the compact areas.
- EVA foam roller
EVA foam rollers are becoming more popular and are suitable for moderate firmness and flexibility. EVA rollers offer a more comfortable surface that is warm to the touch. They are said to be more durable than polyethylene foam rollers.
- Vibrating foam rollers
This foam roller is made by combining high-density texture and vibration therapy for more effective recovery and massage relief and thus, is said to be one step ahead of regular foam rollers. The idea behind these vibrating foam rollers and other electronic massage devices is to alter our perception of pain.
- Hexa massage rollers
This roller uses higher density but flexible hexagonal bumps in a uniform pattern that hits more areas at once. Hexa massage rollers can be particularly helpful for rolling less sensitive areas like the upper back and back of the thighs.
These are EVA foam-filled for long-lasting self-therapy and are generally available in a 2-in-1 design, allowing you to twist it apart for two separate rollers. Hexa foam roller is ideal for everyday use to keep muscles loose.
- Spike massage rollers
Spike massage rollers are ideal for advanced users and athletes for daily recovery of tight, overworked muscles. This roller targets deep knots, providing the most penetrative and intense massage with its firm but flexible spikes
- The grid rollers
The grid rollers feature a three-dimensional surface with a variety of widths to provide the feeling of a massage. Grid rollers are worth the investment if you use them regularly.
- Mini massage rollers
Mini massage rollers are tiny rollers with a lot of punch. Its surface is triangular and pointy which is ideal for targeting trigger points and giving real deep massage sensations. It caters to the needs of smaller muscle groups and can be carried in a gym bag.
3. CONSTRUCTION OF FOAM ROLLERS
Not all foam rollers are created in the same way. It’s hard to believe but there is some kind of engineering that goes into the making of the foam rollers. The way it is developed helps to determine its longevity an important aspect to be considered before making the purchase.
Foam Rollers built with an open-cell construction are mostly suitable for massage and exercise, tend to break down much faster than closed-cell rollers.
You’ll typically find open-cell rollers at your local big-box store and, while being available at low prices, there are higher-quality closed-cell options available at affordable prices. Closed-cell foam rollers offer the durability expected from a foam roller and are available in two types of foam; EPP and EVA.
- EPP Foam
Rollers made from EPP foam beads are of good quality but still relatively inexpensive. They’re versatile and suited for users at all levels.
Since they offer a nice combination of durability and affordability, they make a great starting point for the average person while still being effective for the more advanced user.
EPP rollers are designed in such a way that they last much longer than open-cell rollers, though they do not exactly offer the supreme durability of EVA foam.
- EVA Foam
Rollers made from EVA foam offer unmatched durability. These high strength foam rollers are often found in gyms, clinics or pilates studios where many people are using them throughout the day. Home users can also take advantage of the longevity of these rollers.
As you can see, there’s a bit of research and thought are required before making your foam roller purchase. But put the time in upfront and you’ll be rewarded with a roller that suits your comfort level and usage, motivating you to use it regularly. Start with the big three features that are density, size or shape and construction — and you’re on your way to make the perfect selection.
HOW TO USE A FOAM ROLLER ?
1. Consult your doctor
If you are not sure about which type of foam roller is ideal for you, consult your doctor or physical therapist to help you out with choosing and using the foam roller. A doctor will help you determine what the primary use of your foam roller would be and help you choose the ideal roller for you.
You can even make suggestions about the brand and size of the roller that should be bought.
2. Think about where to purchase your ideal foam roller from
Most people consider fitness stores to buy a foam roller. Call ahead or visit the store to make sure that they have the roller you are looking for. Another good option is to buy foam roller online as long as you are buying it from a reputed store.
3. Learn to use your roller
Apart from physical therapy, most users learn to use foam rollers at their gym or through a class. These classes help you out with steps to be taken to use a foam roller effectively and even provide you with a roller in case you don’t own one.
4. Use a foam roller before and after exercise
Foam rollers help in preparing your muscles before an intense workout. Rolling your muscles helps in improving blood flow, flexibility and stretching out muscles. Foam rollers are not only used by people engaged in physical activity but can also be used to release tension between the muscles. For example, if you will stand on your feet all day at work, use a foam roller to relax the resulting muscle knots.
5. Figure out if you can handle using a foam roller
The foam roller has various helpful benefits but unfortunately is not meant to be used by every individual. Firm rollers that offer deep tissue massage can feel painful to those with stiff muscles. Consult your doctor if you feel pain while using a foam roller.
Frequently asked questions
1. How often and for how long should you roll?
There is no specific period of time for you to roll but rolling for 5-10 minutes every day is advisable. Making time for this may be difficult but two minutes of rolling out legs are better than doing nothing.
2. What is the recommended size of the foam roller?
Foam rollers should be wider than your widest body part thus the typical width of a roller should be between 30 cm to 40 cm (with a diameter between 7.6 to 10 cm). Suppose you want to place foam roller over the length of your spine, you will need a foam roller longer than your spine.
3. When to use a foam roller?
There is no set time and you can roll it whenever you like. The two most common periods include rolling before a workout (to improve mobility) and after a workout(to loosen up knots).
4. Who should foam roll?
There aren’t any studies that suggest foam rolling is dangerous or harmful for anyone but people over the age of 50 should consult a doctor before they decide to foam roll. During this period, muscles and fascia that surrounds the muscle become more web-like due to reduced movement and stretching.
However, those who regularly exercise should roll because you challenge the muscles that may create knots and soreness.
5. Do dimples on the roller create any major difference?
In most cases, they do. The benefit in them is that they hit the muscles deeper and bend the muscle tissues better than those without dimples. Thus try choosing a foam roller that has a lot of dimples on them.
6. What are EVA foam rollers and how are they different from the standard EPP foam rollers?
EVA stands for Ethylene-vinyl acetate and they are of high density compared the hard EPP foam rollers. The EVA foam used in the EVA rollers are of closed cell structure and thus are more flexible to customization.
7. Is it common for the foam roller to feel painful while using it?
Yes, it is common, especially for users with stiff muscles. When you are applying pressure on a sore or a tight muscle, it might expand a little causing pain but this is totally ok and is not going to last for a long time.
8. How does a foam roller work?
Place your body or the particular muscle you want to relax on the roller and slowly roll up and down the muscle. This will expand the muscle and slowly relax them. Performing the correct foam rolling exercise is important for you to achieve the best results.