So what exactly is a foam roller? A foam roller is a long, log like tool made of foam that is used to loosen tight spots in muscle. In my opinion, a foam roller is one of the best tools to incorporate into your exercise routine. It’s not just for injury rehab! Instead, use it to prep your body for exercise and to recover. Foam rolling has many benefits including;
- improving circulation,
- breaking down tight spots in muscles
- improving range of motion
By improving circulation, blood flow is increased to the area, which helps warm the body up for a work out, and in turn reduces injury risk and helps recovery afterwards. When your blood flow is increased, so is your body’s ability to remove toxins and waste. This also aides in recovery. Breaking down tight areas within muscle before working out improves your range of motion and therefore aids in efficient movement and form while you exercise. Improving your range of motion also helps to prepare your body for stretching.
Which foam roller should you buy?
But there are so many foam rollers out there on the market! So which one should YOU buy? This is a question we as therapists get asked all the time. And a fair question at that!
There are three types of rollers out there on the market, and its construction will determine its cost, durability and comfort. Generally, those super cheap rollers that you can find in Kmart or Big W are made of a low density foam. The pressure won’t be intense but it won’t last too long, losing its shape within about six months if you use it regularly.
The rollers you can buy at your local therapists’ clinic (if they stock them), will be a high density foam. This is the roller I recommend people buy as the intensity of this roller is perfect for beginners to more advanced users. While it is more expensive than the department stores, it will last you a very long time before it loses its shape. I’ve had mine for 8 years!
The third option is a trigger point grid roller. These rollers are made from high density foam as well, but they also have grooves or rugged edges that are super intense to roll on. They are very effective at releasing deep stubborn knots. I generally recommend this type of roller to a more advanced exerciser, as jumping straight onto one of these rollers without prepping with a standard roller will just hurt.
This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.