What is a foam roller? What’s the difference between a smooth foam roller and a spiky foam roller? Does foam rolling make you more flexible? If you’re anything like we were when foam rollers became popular recently, you’ll be asking these questions and more. Read on to find out all of the answers to these questions and more.
Firstly, lets discuss the features that must be considered when buying a foam roller.
You might pick up two foam rollers of equal length and diameter, but find that one is significantly heavier than the other. The density of the foam roller is determined by the material it is made from. Traditionally, foam rollers are made from… you guessed it… foam. But lately, companies have been mixing things up with rubber and other plastic coatings to make their product stand out. This influences the density of the foam roller.
The density of the foam roller you pick will directly impact the effectiveness of the massage it can give you. A less dense foam roller will collapse under the pressure of your limb as you press down on it.
If you find that your muscles are particularly tight, it might be worth starting off with a less dense foam roller like this BodyMate product, which comes with a free e-book for just £15/€17/$18.
If you find that you require a deeper massage from a foam roller, you might wish to go with a harder foam roller like this Reehut Foam Roller which is priced at £14/€16/$17.
Do you travel to run races? Do you plan on foam rolling at the gym? Do you regularly move from college accommodation to your family home? If so, you’re going to need a compact roller that will fit in your gear bag.
Remember, the longer the foam roller, the more surface are you can cover. So if you’re planning on rolling out both of your hamstrings together, you’ll need at least 30 centimeters/12 inches of length.
For a super small gym bag friendly option, you might like this 5 inch option from TriggerPoint. It’s super neat, and it’s even hollow, which further reduces the room it takes up in your bag.
If you’re not a fan of smooth foam rollers, or you think you would benefit from a raised pattern that will really dig in to your tight calves, make sure you read on.
The surface texture that you opt for is a very personal thing, so we here at RunWay Running are going to lay out your options.
Some foam rollers have a raised pattern on them. The raised patterns vary, as in the image below.
Smooth ridges are not our favourite, but if you like them, your best option is this TriggerPoint Grid. The trigger point gets a huge thumbs up from RunWay for being a compact, deep massager.
With spikes all over, you’re sure to tease out the knots with this HCFGS option. The rigid spines are not to everyone’s liking, as they make the rolling motion slightly less smooth.
But our favourite product on the foam rolling market has got to be the mother of all foam rollers…
The Urban Fitness Equipment Massage Roller. It’s cheap, at just £17/€19/$21 and it has all of 3 surfaces in one roller. There are smooth parts on the outer edges but it also has some ridged lines and raised bumps.
The Urban Fitness Equipment Massage Roller can be purchased with the Urban Fitness Equipment Massage Ball, Peanut Roller and Foot Massage Ball for just £29/€32/$35 and your entire body will be thanking you in no time.