Foam Rollers Review
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What Are Foam Rollers?
Several years ago the words “foam roller” would have only been known by a small population; physical therapists, athletes or personal trainers; even fewer really knew what to do with them. More recently in the last few years however their importance has become more and more understood. Instead of only seeing foam rollers in gyms, you can now expect to see them in people’s homes. If you are serious about your health or fitness then this is a MUST HAVE item. Foam rollers can be thought of as a little bit like rolling pins for your muscles. They are cylindrical lengths of roam that you roll over to help loosen muscles and fascia.
Foam rollers may save you from injury, help you as part of your rehabilitation or just keep you supple and feeling good. They work by releasing tight muscles and fascia throughout the body, a little bit like having a deep tissue sports massage, especially if you are less flexible than ideal.
How Do You Use Foam Rollers?
Imagine the foam roller is a rolling pin and your muscle is a lump of dough. You wouldn’t just roll straight over the dough because this wouldn’t be very effective and the rolling pin would just go straight over to the other side.
Instead you would roll into the dough, then back off, and then back into the dough again repeating until all the dough is flat. The same goes for foam rolling your muscles.
To use them you place the muscle you are trying to roll on top and roll over it slowly and with control.
There are usually various points along any given muscle that will be painful (incredibly painful in some places for the first few times but the pain does get less). It is these painful points that you want to focus your efforts on so they loosen up.
The method we use is to roll along the muscle slowly until you can start to feel the tight spot coming and then stop. Roll off, away from that point to relieve the pressure and reduce the discomfort and then slowly roll back on to that point; but this time just a little bit further in onto that tight spot and hold it there.
Repeat this process until you get all the way over that tight spot and keep going along the muscle. Each muscle should be rolled back and forth a few times, we say 5 times as this is enough to do create a change but not so many that you will be there for a long time or get bored.
Types Of Foam Rollers
Foam Rollers Review
There are different types of foam rollers on the market with many different brands and styles; the quality and longevity is often reflected in the price, so your choice of foam roller should be based on how often you intend to use it and how long you want it to last.
Foam rollers come in different densities and different lengths. The length isn’t too important, although the longer ones are easier to use as you can fit more of yourself on, but instead the density is more important as this will determine how long the foam roller will last; the cheaper models will often lose their shape and hardness the more they are used.
Discussed below are two of the most basic types of foam roller (the Pale Blue 66 Fit one and the Reebok foam roller), plus two of the most popular contenders in the fitness industry (the Trigger Point Therapy Grid Roller, and the Rumble Roller). The first two pictures of foam rollers are the long versions and the latter two are the half versions. Both lengths are very usable (although we personally prefer longer ones) so comes down to personal preference and also the need to transport them.
The best prices seem to be on Amazon.co.uk because there is no delivery on orders over £10. Other companies seem to lure you in with what looks like a lower price for a certain product, only to add on £5-10 extra for delivery.
Roller 1- Basic Foam Roller
Pictured to the right in sky blue. A good investment to start with if you are unsure about foam rolling. This will be good for occasional rolling, but after a while the roundness will start to be lost, thus making the pressure on your muscles less even throughout the movement.
The best prices we could find for this type of roller were from Amazon.co.uk;
Roller 2- Reebok Foam Roller
Pictured to the right in green., the Reebok foam roller is a denser foam than the entry level rollers and will last a while longer. However by the nature of it being foam, it is not expected to last for probably more than 1 year (if it is being used regularly).
If you are going to buy this, then make sure you shop around. Because of its brand name prices can get quite high. The best place we have found is via Amazon.co.uk because you get free delivery.;
Roller 3- Trigger Point Therapy Grid Roller
The Trigger Point Therapy Grid rollers are different to the other foam rollers mentioned above because these have a solid inner core designed to withstand 500lbs of pressure rather than being solid foam all the way through.
The outer is made from an EVA foam with different “zones” designed to simulate different types of massage, similar to that of either the forearm or thumbs of a deep tissue massage practitioner. However, we feel that there is actually little noticeable difference when you’re rolling over it- it just feels like a normal roller.
Overall though this is a fantastic investment; solid, lightweight and easily transportable. A must have product due to its solid construction and longevity.
The best price we found was again via Amazon.co.uk and comes in four funky colours; Black, Orange, Lime Green or Camo.
Roller 4- The Rumble Roller
The difference between the Rumble Roller and the previous three rollers obviously the savage looking raised nodules along the entire surface. The nodules are a firm rubber foam which look like they could be painful to roll over. They are actually not that bad at all, especially if you are used to foam rolling. The nodules are a bit like the thumbs of a deep tissue therapist and they are designed to work deep into the muscles and find any trigger points. unlike with the Trigger Point Therapy Grid roller mentioned above, you will actually feel like these nodules are doing something.
This product is great! It really gets in deep too. The styles of roller like the previous three will work more on the fascia and like a rolling pin to the muscles whereas the Rumble Roller will work more like a trigger point therapy pressing into the muscles rather than flattening them.
This is another MUST-HAVE product, BUT (and this is a BIG BUT) if you are new to foam rolling, or it is still painful with the normal rollers then this product is probably going to be TOO aggressive for you at this stage! However once you have gotten used to normal rolling then this will take you one step further.
There are two versions of the Rumble Roller; Blue and Black. The blue roller is the normal version, and the black is the firmest of the two. In all honesty, there is not that much difference between the two in terms of firmness, and neither of them are too firm that they are painful.
The best prices we found were again via Amazon.co.uk below;