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People use foam rollers for self-myofascial therapy. Some of the reported benefits of foam rolling include aiding recovery, improving range of motion, and preventing injury to the tissues that surround and support the body.

A quick look at 9 of the best foam rollers

Exercises that involve a foam roller may also improve core stability. However, experts still need to confirm the benefits of using a foam roller.

There are various types of foam rollers to choose from. Some have a smooth texture, whereas others have a textured surface. Foam rollers may also differ in density and size. Each provides different intensities of self-myofascial therapy.

Keep reading to learn more about how foam rollers work and for details on some of the top foam rollers available for purchase.

Foam rollers consist of a solid foam cylinder. Each foam roller has a different degree of density and size. To use a foam roller, people roll their body weight over the affected muscle area. This helps loosen tight areas of a muscle.

Another possible effect of foam rolling is an improvement in the hydration of the muscle and surrounding tissues. Experts suggest that squeezing the soft tissue like a sponge soaks the tissue in the fluid surrounding the muscle, which improves the motion between the different layers of connective tissue.

Researchers have not yet confirmed the benefits of foam rolling on training effects. The available studies on the effects of self-myofascial therapy focus on the short-term benefits.

One study tested the benefits of foam rolling as a warmup activity and a recovery strategy. Overall, the researchers conclude that foam rollers had a minor effect on performance and recovery.

In some situations, foam rolling increased sprint performance and flexibility and reduced the sensation of muscle pain. However, the study also found that foam rolling may be a better warmup activity than a recovery tool.

A person must tighten their core to maintain stability and balance due to the unstable surface of the foam roller. Researchers indicated that some people might notice improved core stability, power, and balance with regular use of a foam roller.

Currently, experts have not agreed on an optimal foam roll program describing the duration, pressure, and roll rhythm necessary to improve recovery and range of motion.

To confirm the benefits of foam rolling, researchers need to conduct high-quality experiments. High-quality studies require larger populations that evaluate the effect of specific programs and assess the same outcomes.

Foam rollers available on the market have different characteristics.

Each feature has a different function, and people should learn about these differences before selecting the best foam roller for their needs.

Shape

Foam rollers come in various shapes and sizes, including:

  • Cylinders: These may be useful for larger areas of muscle, including the thighs.
  • Half-round: A person can use either the flat or rounded side, depending on their needs.
  • Balls: These may be useful for smaller areas of the muscles, such as the arch of the foot or between the shoulder blades.

Density

Another factor to consider is the density:

  • Standard density: These rollers have a medium firmness, which may help with deep massage and exercise while providing some cushioning.
  • Soft density: These rollers are softer. Those who want a higher level of comfort as opposed to a deep massage may choose this standard of density.
  • Firm density: These may be more suitable for those looking for a deeper and more intense massaging effect.

Texture

Foam rollers can come in a variety of textures. Some may be smooth, while others have ridges or small spikes.

Ridges and spikes may help provide a deeper massage on tight muscles.

Size

Smaller, textured foam rollers provide deeper tissue compression.

However, longer foam rollers may be more appropriate for larger muscle areas, such as the back. They also provide more stability when people foam roll their leg muscles.

People may find better precision with a small foam ball roller.

Medical News Today chooses fitness equipment that meets the following criteria:

  • Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Size and capacity: MNT selects products to suit people of different heights, weights, and strength.
  • Ease of use: MNT selects simple-to-use products that have clear instructions. If set-up is complicated, MNT chooses brands that offer a set-up or installation service.
  • Quality: MNT chooses companies that adhere to high quality manufacturing processes that ensure its products are safe for personal use.
  • Reputable: MNT chooses products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices and that offer reliable customer service and support.

Below are some foam rollers available to purchase online.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

For a high-density material: AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller

AmazonBasics does not focus on fitness or medical products. It is a private label developed by Amazon that manufactures different products, including household, home improvement, and office items.

The AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller is 6 inches (in) in diameter and is 12, 18, 24, or 36 in length. According to AmazonBasics, this foam roller consists of high-density molded polypropylene.

It maintains its shape with moderate-to-heavy use. It is a suitable foam roller for people with different body types.

Pros and cons

This foam roller offers various sizes, making it suitable for different areas of the body. Additionally, the company claims that it holds its shape well, which may make it more durable.

However, some reviewers state that the foam roller may dent while in use.

Price: AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller has a list price starting from around $21.

For a range of colors: Gaiam Restore Muscle Massage Therapy Foam Roller

Gaiam is a lifestyle brand that provides different yoga and fitness products. Some of the available product categories include yoga mats, yoga gear, and fitness equipment. Gaiam also manufactures fitness, yoga, and lounge apparel.

The Gaiam Restore Total Body Foam Roller is 18 or 36 in long with a 6-in diameter. This size is ideal for working the entire body. According to Gaiam, this foam roller loosens and soothes tight and sore muscles.

People can use this foam roller to stretch, align, and massage the body. Balance training is another potential benefit of using this product.

Pros and cons

The roller may be a good option for persons who wish to choose from different colors. This may be a good option if they are also buying a roller for a family member.

However, according to reviews, this foam roller may lose shape after several uses.

Price: Gaiam Restore Muscle Massage Therapy Foam Roller has a list price starting from $19.

For a textured roller: TriggerPoint Core Foam Roller

TriggerPoint provides different at-home massage therapy tools that empower people to move and feel better. The company designs products that mimic the touch of a massage therapist for people of all ages, sizes, and athletic abilities.

The TriggerPoint Core Foam Roller contains an ethylene-vinyl acetate foam with a patented GRID pattern.

The foam roller comes in three different sizes:

  • 4 in by 12 in
  • 5.5 in by 18 in
  • 5.5 in by 36 in

This foam roller has a 325-pound weight limit.

Pros and cons

According to TriggerPoint, the multidensity GRID pattern provides compression to the affected muscles that are ideal for self-massage, pain relief, and improved flexibility.

However, according to reviews, this foam roller may have an unpleasant odor.

Price: TriggerPoint Core Foam Roller has a list price starting from around $22.

For lower budgets: ProsourceFit High Density Speckled Foam Roller

ProsourceFit focuses on manufacturing affordable and professionally sourced fitness products that anyone can use to improve their health.

The ProsourceFit High Density Speckled Foam Roller is 6 in diameter and either 12, 18, 24, or 36 in length. This foam roller contains an eco-friendly, high-density expanded polypropylene.

Pros and cons

According to ProsourceFit, this foam roller reduces back pain, leg cramps, and muscle tension. People can use this product for self-myofascial release, stretching, and Pilates exercises.

However, some reviewers state that this roller is too hard to use comfortably.

Price: ProsourceFit High Density Speckles Foam Roller has a list price starting from around $12.

For traveling: Brazyn Morph Foam Roller

Brazyn offers this foam roller in two styles: a traditional roller and a deep tissue roller with thumb-shaped nubs that may be beneficial for deeper massages.

The Brazyn Morph Foam Roller measures 5.5 in diameter and 14.5 in length. It contains bamboo and recyclable aluminum.

The company states it is suitable for use in people who weigh up to 350 lb.

Pros and cons

This foam roller flattens into a rectangle and comes with a travel pouch. It may be suitable for people who intend to travel.

However, according to reviews, this foam roller may collapse while in use.

Price: Brazyn Morph Foam Roller has a list price of around $70.

For a warranty: LuxFit Foam Roller

LuxFit focuses on manufacturing foam rollers, massagers, and exercise equipment.

The LuxFit Foam Roller has an extra-firm design that may help it retain its shape after use. It is 6 in diameter, and people can choose between lengths of 12, 18, and 36 in. This roller contains water-resistant and firm molded polypropylene foam.

Pros and cons

LuxFit offers a 1-year limited warranty on this product. Additionally, the water-resistant material may make the foam roller more durable.

However, some reviewers state that this roller is too hard and uncomfortable to use.

Price: LuxFit Foam Roller has a list price starting from around $14.

For a thinner foam roller: Tiger Tail Massage Stick Portable Roller

Tiger Tail focuses on manufacturing foam rollers, handheld massagers, massage balls, and hot and cold therapies.

The Tiger Tail Massage Stick Portable Roller measures 1.62 in diameter and is available in lengths of 11, 18, and 22 in. The company states it contains medical-grade foam and plastic.

Pros and cons

This roller has a firm and non-flexible design, which may help provide a deeper massage. Additionally, it has ergonomic handles on either end of the roller to provide better grip.

However, the smaller diameter may mean that this product is not suitable for those who wish to use a roller over a wider area.

Price: Tiger Tail Massage Stick Portable Roller has a list price from around $35.

For improving blood circulation: OPTP LO ROX Aligned Foam Roller

OPTP focuses on manufacturing foam rollers, massage balls, and yoga, pilates, and stretching equipment.

The OPTP LO ROX Aligned Foam Roller has a diameter of 6 in and a length of 36 in. It contains durable EVA foam.

Pros and cons

OPTP claims that this roller may help improve blood circulation. Additionally, according to reviews, it has more cushioning than other options.

However, this roller is more expensive than some other options on this list.

Price: OPTOP LO ROX Aligned Foam Roller has a list price of around $82.

For a vibrating roller: Hyperice Vyper 3

Hyperice focuses on manufacturing vibration and percussion technology. The company also manufactures the Normatec system.

The Hyperice Vyper 3 has a diameter of 5.4 in and a length of 13 in. It features three vibration speeds, a 34-watt motor, and two-hour battery life.

Pros and cons

This foam roller has a contouring design, which the company states mean it does not place pressure on the spine or other sensitive areas.

However, this roller is more expensive than the other options on this list.

Price: Hyperice Vyper 3 has a list price of around $199.

The following table compares the foam rollers in this article.

DiameterLengthList price
AmazonBasics6 in• 12 in
• 18 in
• 24 in
• 36 in
from around $21
Gaiam6 in• 18 in
• 36 in
from around $19
TriggerPoint• 4 in
• 5.5 in
• 12 in
• 18 in
• 36 in
from around $22
ProsourceFit6 in• 12 in
• 18 in
• 34 in
• 36 in
from around $12
Brazyn5.5 in14.5 infrom around $70
LuxFit6 in• 12 in
• 18 in
• 36 in
from around $14
Tiger Tail1.65 in• 11 in
• 18 in
• 22 in
from around $35
OPTP6 in36 inaround $82
Hyperice5.4 in13 inaround $199

One alternative is a muscle roller stick. This differs from a foam roller in the way a person applies pressure.

Foam rollers use a person’s body weight, whereas muscle roller sticks rely on a person’s hands to apply the pressure. Muscle roller sticks also come in a variety of sizes and textures.

Another alternative is a foam massage ball. These may suit people targeting specific muscle areas. Similar to foam massage balls, people may also use tennis balls.

People may wish to consider speaking with a doctor before using foam rollers or an alternative to ensure they use the equipment correctly.

Learn more about myofascial release tools here.

People may develop sprains and strains during physical activity, especially if they do not warm up or cool down after exercising.

The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom recommends contacting a doctor if a person has an injury that does not get better with over-the-counter treatment and rest or if the pain does not improve.

Here, we answer some common questions.

Why shouldn’t you use a foam roller?

While foam rollers are generally safe for use, a person may wish to contact a healthcare professional for advice if they have intense or long lasting muscle pain.

Healthcare professionals may recommend other remedies for muscle pain, such as physical therapy.

Is it okay to foam roll every day?

There is very little research on the effectiveness of foam rolling.

However, it is generally safe for people to foam roll every day. People should stop if they experience intense muscle pain.

How long should you foam roll for?

There is little information on the optimum amount of time to foam roll.

A 2015 study found that foam rolling for 20, 40, or 60 seconds effectively improved knee range of movement.

Foam rolling is a popular method for recovering after exercise. Researchers have not confirmed the reported benefits of foam rolling, however.

Some people report that foam rolling can accelerate recovery, strengthen core muscles, improve flexibility, boost balance, expand the range of motion, and prevent injuries.

Different types of foam rollers exist, and the best product depends on a person’s individual needs. Some foam rollers are smooth, whereas others have a textured surface that provides a deeper and more intense sensation.