12 Foam Rollers That Trainers Can’t Live Without
Muscle soreness following a tough workout can throw off your entire exercise routine, but the best foam rollers should guide you back on track. Foam rolling, a form of self-myofascial release, uses friction to warm up the muscles and fascia (or the tissue surrounding muscle fibers) for a deep tissue massage. At around $20 a pop for the most basic ones, they’re some of the most accessible recovery tools out there and are so easy to use (you virtually just use pressure to roll them back and forth over your sore muscles) that they’ve become an essential tool for athletes to prepare for and cool down from a workout.
Beyond helping alleviate muscle soreness, foam rolling offers a laundry list of potential health benefits, including an increased range of motion, expedited recovery after workouts, and even increased lubrication of the muscles if you roll them out before a workout.
From soft, foamy tubes to plasticky cylinders with a hollow core, they come in a range of different sizes and densities to target different muscle groups (and will feel more or less intense on the body depending on just how thick they are). Soft, low-density rollers are ideal for newbies, people who have supertight muscles, or those who are experiencing tenderness in areas of the body that could use a gentler touch, like the glutes. A more dense, firm roller (or a notched, ridged, or spiked one), can dial the pressure up if you’re trying to target deeper muscle groups like those around the hips and scapula. (Percussive therapy devices like the Theragun and Hyperice, can also help ease tension in deeper muscle groups, as SELF recently reported.)
Depending on what shape, size, texture, density, and price point you’re aiming for—you have options. To get a closer read on the best foam rollers at every price point, we sourced some recommendations from folks you can trust—and who better to ask than fitness pros who use them day in and day out on themselves and their clients? Below, 12 foam rollers that trainers can’t live without, including some unusual, heated, rocking, and vibrating options.
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