Which Foam Roller should I Buy?

Today’s video will focus on foam rollers as well as how to find one suited for your needs. Foam rollers help you on deep-tissue massage, also known as “self-administered myofascial release” (SMR). The process lets you use your own body weight, precisely controlled, to help stimulate and relax your muscles.

If you’ve already tried using a foam roller, you may have a love/hate relationship with it. The process of using the roller can be uncomfortable, but massaging knots (also called trigger points or myofascial adhesions) may help free your muscles of their grip. Some athletes report increased range of motion, improved blood flow and decreased recovery time after foam rolling.

Choosing a foam roller by density

Foam rollers come in different densities, which is a primary factor in how effective they are at deep-tissue massage. Using a roller that is too soft can provide inadequate pressure while a foam roller that is too hard can cause bruising and trauma, which can result in pain and have a negative effect on your performance.

If you’re just starting out with using a foam roller, choose one that’s on the softer side. As your technique improves and your muscles adapt you can progress to using a denser (harder) roller. Denser rollers are also better for long-term use because they’re more durable. Softer rollers can get permanently deformed after lots of use, which is an indication that it’s time to replace the roller.

Buying by Color

The color of the roller can give a hint to its density, with white being softest and black hardest. Blue and red rollers typically are medium density. This can vary by brand, though. A simple way to test is to squeeze rollers to assess their relative firmness.

“Ultimately, which roller you decide to use is based on your ability to tolerate pain,” says Camperlengo. “If you’re sore, it won’t be detrimental for you to use a firm or deep-tissue roller, but it will be slightly painful. [What] happens when you hit a trigger point can be uncomfortable, but it’s just an acquired taste—the more you do it, the less noticeable it will be.”

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