What is a foam roller?
Foam rollers are a performance and recovery exercise devices that are used for many reasons like reducing tension, eliminating muscle knots, massage or fitness, either a pre-workout warm-up or post-exercise active recovery. Now, if you are interested in buying foam rollers now, questions will arise in your mind that What to Look for in a Foam Roller.
Whether is it for performing exercises or giving you a massage, you have to know what types of a foam roller is best for you and what are the different features to consider of a Foam Roller.
Types of Foam Rollers
When it comes to material, most foam rollers are made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam or polyethene foam or reinforced plastic cores foam which is a unique type of foam specially made for doing foam rolling technique smoothly. Each kind of Foam Rollers promoting specific benefits.
- Regular Foam Rollers
This type of foam roller is ideal for those who are first in this Foam rolling technique. This Foam Roller has a smooth surface area, lighter, softer end of the density spectrum and is about under a meter in length.
- Textured or knobbled Foam Rollers
This type of foam roller is similar to a regular foam roller. But the external surface of this foam roller has different combinations and patterns or grooves that places pressure on different parts of the tissue.
- Compact Foam Rollers
This type of foam roller is ideal for those who like to practice foam rolling technique at the gym. These types of foam rollers are small than regular-length foam rollers, has a smooth, densities and textured variants.
- Half-Moon Foam Rollers
Half-moon foam rollers are recommended for those people who are struggling to practice foam rolling technique at first due to a lack of body strength. As, These foam rollers stay in one place, so without having to get the rolling motion right, it allows the user to pinpoint specific sore muscle groups.
Features to consider to choose the right foam roller
Besides Types, some essential features to consider when choosing a foam roller. These Features are-
Densities or firmness of a Foam Roller shows how firm your roller is and how the roller will feel during use. Using a hard roller can cause injury and trauma while a too soft foam roller can provide inadequate pressure in your muscles. The colour of a Foam Roller gives a hint of density though scale can vary by brand.
- Soft density rollers
Typically, Soft density foam rollers are coloured as White made from polyethene foam and will allow some movement between the muscles, bones, and the roller. If you’re Beginner with using a foam roller or have painful muscles or prefer a less intensive massage, choose Soft density rollers because it will provide a gentler massage and produce less pressure and less pain.
- Standard or medium-density rollers
Generally, medium density foam rollers are the colourful type like Blue, red, green, etc. made of polyethene foam or EVA foam and use in core strengthening exercises such as Pilates and yoga. It is also the right roller for those who are looking for a firmer amount of pressure.
- Firm Density rollers
It is also a right foam roller for those who are looking for a deeper, more intense massage. Usually, Firm density foam rollers are black type, made of polyethene foam and used by Athletes and highly active individuals who have tight, tense muscles.
Foam roller’s surface is another essential feature to consider.
- Smooth rollers
Smooth foam rollers are an excellent choice for beginners, because it has a large, flat surface on which into rolling, and smooth surface distributed among few different neighbouring muscles, even pressure across the length of the massage.
- Textured rollers
The textured rollers have Nobs, bumps, ridges, notches, and spikes, to provide more precisely targeted massage on a specific area with higher intensity by helping to soothe muscles. Textured rollers are varying by brand, but a general rule is, rollers with higher ridges and more defined points will offer a more intense massage.
Shape and size
There are also various shapes and sizes of foam rollers available in the market.
Longer foam rollers are typically around 36″ long, are recommended for beginners and great to use on larger areas of the body, like the back, quads and hamstrings.
Short foam rollers are typically around 24″ or smaller in length, and great to use on smaller parts of the body, like arms, calves and other small areas.
- Half-round foam roller
Flat Half-size foam roller is cut in half the long way, and typical size is a 36” length x 3” height. This shape is useful for leg and foot stretches, Feldenkrais, physical therapy, Pilates, yoga, and general core strength exercise.
Usually, The Diameter of a foam roller is 5 or 6 inches, is useful for ageing users, physical therapy patients or those with a compromised sense of balance for giving a more controlled rolling experience.
- Ridges or Bumps foam roller
This uniquely designed foam rollers provide a deeper penetrating massage for those that like a more invigorating massage or want the ability to target most tight, compact areas.
- Foam-covered foam roller massagers
This type of massagers are like a rolling pin and used primarily on legs for more précises pressure regulation and muscle targeting.
Now in the meantime, you got your answer about what to look for in a Foam Roller.
Foam rolling technique, also known as self-myofascial release (SMR) technique, is the use of foam rollers and one of the most popular and familiar everyday techniques by professional athletes, coaches, therapists or people at all levels of fitness. When going to purchasing foam roller, must consider these factors.