There are many reasons to take up foam rolling, which is a great way to get the benefits of a massage from the comfort of your home. Rolling out your muscle groups before or after working out can help increase your range of motion and flexibility, reduced muscle stiffness, and improve blood flow. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork has been using a foam roller to help him stretch out his IT bands for over 15 years, and recommends using it to break up the tissue in your legs.
How It Works
The goal of foam rolling is to gently move your body weight over the foam roller to target muscle groups like calves, glutes, lower back and thighs to help loosen up tight muscles. If you're doing it right, it should feel like a deep-tissue massage that you can get from the comfort of your own floor.
Finding the Right Foam Roller
There are a couple important decisions you need to make: smooth vs. textured, density, and length. A beginner will want a smooth, low to medium density roller. A long roller (usually 36 inches) is a versatile and more stable choice for beginners. Someone with more experience or serious athletes might want to consider a high-density, textured roller.
Best Overall: This highly-popular 13-inch TriggerPoint textured foam roller comes with free instructional videos, and is easy to store.
Best Beginner: A great beginner foam roller will have a smooth surface and have a little give to it like this highly-rated Gaiam Restore roller. Because myofascial release using a foam roller can be uncomfortable as your roll out knots or trigger points, this medium density roller is good for people new to the practice,
Runner-Up Beginner: This semi-firm Gaiam roller provides helpfully designed instructions right on the surface.
Best Textured: The textured RumbleRoller is best for someone who is already in love with foam rolling. The bumpy surface can provide more targeted work on your trigger points and muscle knots, like a masseuse would.
Best for Travel: Once you've decided you cant live without your rolling routine, this Brazyn Morph Trek roller folds flat for easy self-care on the go.
*CBSi may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase something through featured links above.