Ever finish a tough workout and think to yourself, “I wish I could afford a nice massage” because your muscles before or after running feel like they are detaching from the rest of your body?
Not many people have the time or money for that kind of luxury. In fact, most people barely have the time and luxury to actually workout, let alone more time afterwards to try and feel like a whole human again after pushing your body passed its limits.
Luckily for you, the foam roller exists. This piece of equipment helps your muscles, not just after the workout, but before.
Read on to find the best foam roller for runners out more about this new addition you should add to your routine.
Top Rated Foam Rollers
Black High Density Extra Firm
One of he most basic exercise rollers but it delivers. This can be ordered in various lengths and half or full rolls. It’s made of a molded polyethylene material. It is higher density material equipment and is only really recommended for people with experience.
One benefit to this version is the ability to remove higher levels of muscle tension that people get from jobs that keep them in a desk for hours. B
ecause it is made of high density materials, this equipment can retain its shape for longer than many other brands and maintains its firmness.
This version gets high points for the ability to get deep into the tissues for a good massage making it the best foam roller for back. It also is very lightweight, but do not let that fool you.
It’s still a mostly durable product. However as it’s a lower priced version, it does come with its flaws. The material is similar to Styrofoam and can easily flake off, which is both undesirable and can cause a safety issue if there are young children or dogs around. At that price, you can’t expect perfection. Overall though, this product does come highly recommended because of its retention of firmness and the low cost.
Trigger Point Performance The Grid Revolutionary Roller
A top selling item among items in our foam roller reviews. This type comes in 5, 13, and 26 inch lengths.
The material used to make this with is durable EVA materials and has a hollow core, which makes it more lightweight than other varieties, which makes this a great option for beginners.
The company gives you a 1 year warranty and comes recommended by professionals. It’s the most expensive version on the list, but you will find that it’s worth the price.
The massage your receive using this is said to be incredible and comes highly recommended by everyone that used it, even for the hardest of muscle tension. The lightweight feel of this product makes it great for travelling.
The material also provides for good durability, but again, you are paying for the quality of materials used. Some complaints about this product include the quality of construction.
There have been complains that the product has split at its seams, creating two half rolls instead of one complete piece. The other complaint about this one involves the price. It’s said that you can find other rollers for a lesser price, but you get what you pay for. This brand provides a durable and versatile option.
ProSource Ultra Deluxe Revolutionary Sports Medicine Roller
This is a textured 13 inch piece of gear. It’s lightweight and perfect for travelling. The textured grooves on this brand’s version make it perfect for deep tissue massaging. It has very firm foam covering a firm PVC pipe.
This comes recommended for use after a workout, or for people with muscle pains in their daily life. It is also our pick for best foam roller for runners (amazon is the cheapest to buy as of time of this review). It is also works great for shin splints or if you are having a runners knee (make sure you do right rolling - internet is your friend here)
It works the muscles nicely, giving a loose and relaxing feeling without the pain you can get with some of the similar equipment. Its size makes it not only great for your back, but for other muscles in your body. This does not come without some serious complaints to consider.
There are some negatives to consider when looking at exercise roller reviews. The biggest complaint people have with this version has to do with the PVC pipe in the center of the equipment.
It has often cracked through from side to side, making the product unusable. Other people have complained of an intensely overpowering plastic smell coming from this brand’s version, but it does go away after a while.
Some have complained that the material used to make it was not as firm as other types. Also, keep in mind it only comes in 13 inch variety. Most people prefer a longer piece of equipment, and did not pay attention to the size it’s available in.
OPTP Soft Pro – 36″ x 6″
OPTP is a unique entry in our roller reviews. This piece of equipment only comes in the 36 inch length. It’s made with softer foam than other brands, so it is a good option for beginners.
It can be easily cleaned after each usage. It’s well liked by users as it provides a more relaxing massage than other varieties of this equipment. It’s said to feel like it was constructed to have softer foam covering very firm foam, so you get the benefits of a very firm roller but the comforts of a lower density version.
It comes highly recommended for people who need to do MELT routines.
This is a great one for massage and relaxation, but it is not recommended for exercise use. It does not hold up to the standards needed for such exercises as Pilates. Its softer material makes balance and core exercises very difficult. Another frequent complaint is that it easily bends, and can be a problem with its effectiveness. This one is overall, well recommended by its users.
j/fit Super High Density
j/Fit rollers are one of the most versatile options in our roller reviews. This is a high density, molded product that comes in 12, 18, and 36 inch lengths. It has a firm material, and ideal for exercises.
It also is excellent for those with deep tissue needs, as this equipment is very firm. Because of the high density foam, this product receives excellent marks in durability.
This version really gets into the muscles and people happily report how it relieves many aches and stiffness that athletes, people who work out daily and average people with pains alike.
This equipment is not recommended for the beginner or people with weaker muscle tone, as the firmness can cause a lot of discomfort or pain. When you choose a longer length, be aware that travelling with this gear is not ideal.
One of the major complains about this equipment is the material used from. They say it looks like it’s made from a hard Styrofoam that looks like it can be broken at any given moment, and sometimes does flake.
Another common complaint seems to come from the 12 and 18 inch length rollers. Many complaints say that these shorter versions look like they took a 36 inch and cut it down without softening the edges. The positive news is that you sometimes get the vendor to respond to the negative reviews in a helpful manner.
Why You Should Have One in Your Life
I know I am not the only one that often forgets that you are supposed to warm up before any workout. Warming up and cooling down from your workouts are just as important as the workouts themselves, and using one of these pieces of equipment can help you warm up your muscles before exercise. So why should you use one?
There are many reasons why you need to own one. One reason is that using it can help break down certain tissues and increases your flexibility and mobility.
Using this product before working out can help warm up the muscles and increase self-awareness. When you use one after working out, it can give the same benefits as a deep tissue massage. It can also help you relieve muscle tension. Another great usage is that it helps improve your core, which also helps your posture.
All of these uses are great, but what does it all mean in the long term? The biggest reason for owning one is that it can help reduce injury with continuous use.
The other purpose for long term is that you will notice a shorter recovery time. Why is that the case? This type of equipment can increase blood flow to the muscles and helps to activate them. Increased blood flow is important because this is how the oxygen and nutrients get to your muscles. Imagine how this will make you feel in the long run.
There are a few different varieties of this gear out there. They come in different sizes, textures, and materials. I will get into more detail about each later on.
There are muscle roller stick for runners, which are portable and best used for leg muscles. These varieties are commonly used by runners for their focus on the legs. High density with a smooth texture are the most popular variety of this equipment currently, and the most recognizable. Finally, you have the high density textured rollers.
These are very similar to the smooth version, but used more for reducing pain. Those are just the most common varieties; there are more choices that you can choose from outside of these 3 options.
The stick rollers are small, and the most portable of your options. Not only is this variety fantastic for your legs, the shaping of it can help you get into areas like your hip flexors that the other options have a difficult time getting into because of their size.
Unlike the other types, this one requires you to use your arms to roll on your body. The fact that you do not use your entire body on it makes it less effective.
Also it is not as durable as the other types, so it is not recommended that you lie on it. Be wary which stick roller you buy, because there is a difference in quality that makes it not worth having one because you are not getting the full benefits of foam rolling.
High density, smooth surface versions are the standard today. This is a recommended variety of this gear for beginners because they are not as expensive as other types.
These are used for your entire body, so you would lay your body on it and roll it along your muscles. They come in various sizes, depending on need and body part that you are using it on. The longer varieties are more for the larger muscle groups, but the smaller ball size varieties are perfect for smaller areas, like your gluts.
Then you have the high density, textured varieties of this exercise gear. These are the most expensive varieties. The textured surface of this type is perfect for replicating a deep tissue massage, which the other varieties cannot achieve. The downside to this variety is that some types of textures are very hard on the muscles and can cause pain. This can be bad because it defeats the purpose of having one to improve yourself if it hurts too much to use the product.
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Selecting the Top Roller for You
Like when you buy any product, the most important question you should ask yourself is “what do I need this product for?” How you answer this can help you decide the best equipment type for your lifestyle and needs.
Because they come in so many different varieties you need to select the best one based on fitness level, purpose of usage, and body weight. Failing to choose the right one can result in injury and not improve how you feel after using one.
This is important. No matter which type of gear you use, it is important that you get a high density material that is non-slip. You can go to your local gym or sporting goods store and try out different types before you take the plunge.
As I said earlier, the intended usage of this equipment will be the best indicator on what type you should purchase. Are you trying to improve your core?
Do you just want the massage after a workout? For instance, a half roll can be used to stand on to help improve your core and balance. A half roll is also a great recommendation for those with weaker muscle tone, as it balances on its own and requires less muscle strain to use. A full, textured roll is more ideal for massaging needs.
The amount that it will be used is also a factor when choosing your particular piece of equipment. A more expensive, higher quality material is ideal for everyday usage.
This gear can come in a variety of firmness. This is based on your familiarity with the product. If you are searching for the best foam roller for beginner, you are looking for lower density foam made of polyethylene.
The lower the density the more movement that is allowed between the muscles which is important for the beginner, because this means it will be less painful than the other types of roller while you are starting out.
The EVA material varieties are the next step up. EVA is for better core improvement and better massaging effect than the polyethylene varieties. The highest density, black variety is only recommended for the experienced user. The higher density the material, the more firm version is. This provides a harder pressure when used for massaging purposes.
You also need to consider how often you are using this product. If it will be used frequently, you will want to use the black variety of roller because the high density of the material on this product makes it the most durable product.
The other varieties of this equipment are less durable, which means they warp over time. If you need to get an EVA or polyethylene variety, make sure you get one that does not warp as easily as others because these will warp easily over time. Certain brands have a “no-warp” guarantee, so look for those when purchasing your lower density roller.
The final two considerations are budget and size of the equipment. You will want to do your research to get the best quality for your money. This usually means that the lower the density, the less expensive the product. Like I stated earlier, you can try out the different varieties which can help you chose the right one within your budget.
Another consideration is the size of the equipment. Usually all types have the same diameter, so you are going to be concerned with the length. Longer ones are better for your back for proper alignment and helping your balance.
The shorter ones are better used for the other parts of your body, so usage is very important when picking your roller’s size.
Best Foam roller exercises
Time to Decide
I have given you all the tools you will need to find out if this exercise gear is right for what your needs are, and what type you should invest in. Remember, you can try out the varieties at local sporting goods stores or your local gyms.
The benefits are many, and if you are on the fence about trying one you should take the plunge.
These can improve your capabilities working out and improve your recovery time. It will be worth the investment to improve your health.
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