Foam rollers have gone from being a tool used by physical therapists to becoming an essential home workout tool. Lets talk about what foam rollers are and what you should look for when you are purchasing one for your home gym setup .
What are Foam Rollers?
Foam rollers are cylindrical pieces of hard foam that can be used for self massage of different muscle groups in your body. The way to use foam rollers is to use your body weight to move the foam roller over different muscle groups. During this motion, the muscles get squeezed and stretched under the roller. Any pressure points in the muscles are gradually released and the muscles end up more stretched and relaxed.
Who should use foam rollers?
Foam rollers can be used by absolutely anyone. Whether you workout regularly or if your only workout is walking, a foam roller can benefit absolutely everyone. Even a few minutes of using the roller everyday can improve your flexibility, reduce your chances of injury and leave you feeling more relaxed.
If you workout regularly however, a foam roller can be an invaluable piece of equipment in releasing tight muscles. Runners use it often for releasing tight leg muscles that are not adequately released just by stretching exercises. Those who lift weights use it for keeping muscles supple and loose. Lifting weights is a form of contracting the muscles so stretching them out with a foam roller is the best cure for tightness.
What are the different types of foam rollers available
There are a few different type of foam rollers available for home use. Some of the main differences between them are
- Size of the foam roller
- Shape of the foam roller
- Surface of the foam roller
The first important distinction is the size of the foam roller. The most common sizes available today are 30 cm, 45 cm and 90 cm. Longer length rollers can be effectively used for larger muscles like the back while shorter ones are great for small muscle groups like calves. Foam rollers can also be fully cylindrical or half cylindrical. Half cylindrical foam rollers have one flat surface so they can be placed stationary on the ground. They can be used for static stretching.
Finally, many foam rollers today are available with different shaped projections on their surface. These projections mimic the feeling of being massaged and provide a deeper tissue release.
What to look for when buying a foam roller?
Based on what you already know about foam rollers, there are a few important considerations for purchasing a foam roller.
Full Foam Roller or Targeted Massage?
If you are looking for targeted massage in problem areas like your spine, shoulders or small muscle groups, there are more compact options available. Massage balls or massage sticks can provide targeted relief and pressure release. A regular foam roller cannot get deep into a muscle which might be something that you might need.
Large size or more portable
If your gym doesnt have a foam roller, it might be a good idea to take the foam roller with you to use in the gym after your workout. Taking a large foam roller might be impractical in such cases. On the other hand, if you plan to use the roller mostly at home, getting a larger size will make workouts more comfortable and easy to complete.
Smooth or Projections?
The next thing to consider is whether you want your foam roller with projections on its surface or whether you would like it to be smooth. Projections mean that you will get a deep and targeted massage. This also means that you will end up sore the next day. Smooth rollers are better for starting out but will not go deep into the muscle tissue. I would say that runners and walkers might prefer a smooth foam roller while those playing other sports and lifting weights will benefit from a foam roller with projections which can go deeper into the muscles.
Foam Roller Buying Guide – Wrap Up
That was our quick buying guide for foam rollers in India. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.