Foam rolling is an effective way to massage tight and sore muscles before and after a workout. Although it’s unclear how foam rolling works exactly, research shows that it’s most effective to foam roll before a workout as part of a warm-up to increase flexibility and to relieve muscle soreness post-workout.
I’ve mainly used foam rolling as a way to loosen up a tight back before a workout, massage my calves and quads after a run or as a way to unwind after a day of traveling. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial therapy and most people like it because it’s an inexpensive recovery option. Many popular brands make foam rollers and some now even offer unique features. If you’re looking to purchase a foam roller, but don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. We tested various foam rollers and narrowed down our favorites based on their design, efficiency and experience. Take a look at our top picks below.
Read more: These Percussive Massage Guns Can Get Rid of Any Muscle Knot
Best Foam Rollers
Other foam rollers we tested
Hyperice Vyper 3: I found the larger version of the Hyperice Vyper Go to be more intense than I would like for a vibrating foam roller. Once you turn it on, it starts to vibrate and roam all over the place. The Vyper Go incorporates vibration in a reasonable manner.
How we tested
Design: We observed the design of the foam roller and how it was manufactured to help target certain muscle groups. We also looked at the size and quality of the material.
Experience: While using the foam roller, we determined if it functioned as promised and if there was any room for improvement. We tested the foam rollers to determine how they might benefit certain users and not others.
Versatility: We observed them to see if any foam rollers had multiple functions or purposes.
Factors to consider
- Decide how much you’re willing to spend and if you want any unique features. The most basic foam rollers can be inexpensive, while those with extras cost more.
- Determine if you’ll be using a foam roller to coincide with your workouts or everyday aches and pains.
- If you have certain areas that tend to get tighter than others, research foam rollers that specialize in those areas.
- Foam rollers come in different types of firmness so decide if you want it to be extra firm, semi-firm or on the softer side.
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