Whether you’ve seen these strange, tubular objects sitting along the wall of your favorite gym and wondered what workout they’re used for, or you’ve been using one of the best foam rollers for years, there is a lot to learn and appreciate about them.
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In a nutshell, foam rollers serve as a tool for giving yourself an effective, strong, and accurate massage that targets all of your sore areas. Although a good foam roller itself is pretty simple in nature, what it does cannot be underestimated, as they are used by everyone from physical therapists to personal trainers to provide pain relief to those who need it.
As you peruse the terms, brands, and traits associated with some of the best foam rollers, we hope to help you arrive at a decision on an optimal purchase to complete your home gym.
Now that you’re familiar with a lot of the popular issues surrounding the use and designs of the notorious foam roller, perhaps you’re getting close to a buying decision. The foam rollers on the top ten list have significant differences that justify their placing, but each one is worth perusing.
As you’ll see most foam rollers are available for under $25! Which means doing foam roller exercises will not break the bank. When going down the list of these reviews, it’s definitely worthwhile to take your time and dwell into the ones you like a little deeper. Since the appearance of each foam roller will vary greatly from plain and low key, to spiky with wild colors.
By examining the key advantages that set each roller apart, and by having a base knowledge of the company who makes it, this list aims to make your purchasing decision for the best foam roller a little easier and more convenient.
#10 – Black High Density Foam Roller
- Two Sizes: 6x12in and 6x18in
- Made of Expanded Polyethylene
- Density: 1.9 Pound per Cubic Foot
- Small, Smooth, and Inexpensive
- Available in Black
Designed to be tough enough to target the trigger points in your back and limbs, the aptly-named Black High Density Foam Roller is simple and sufficient.
The absence of penetrating bumps and grooves makes for a less penetrating massage, but at a highly-affordable price, a solid round foam roller can do a lot to get your knots out.
The durability is tougher than average, and should be able to survive regular use for a long period of time.
Who Makes It?
A company called Black Foam Roller sells four different products, and each one is a variation of their flagship product, the black foam roller. In addition to round versions, the product is also available in “D-shape” for those who prefer it.
If you need a simple black foam roller that lacks fancy grooving, but has the price to reflect it, than this one is worth your investment.
|$10.99 – $15.49||More Info|
#9 – The Foam Roller – Great Back Roller for Muscle Therapy
- Made from Professional Grade EVA Foam
- 100% Recyclable
- Three Sizes: 13×6, 18×6, or 36×6
- 100% Money Back Guarantee
- Bright Blue Appearance and White Logo
With a light blue color and ultra-smooth texture, The Foam Roller by Rolling With It really sticks out over more plain colored competitors.
EVA Foam is a popular material among top-quality foam rollers, and the three size variations ensure that you can get one that’s small or large enough to fit your needs.
Since foam rollers typically lack personality, the Rolling With It logo on the side is a unique touch that sets this one apart.
Who Makes It?
Rolling With It is the company behind this blue, smooth, high-density foam roller, which appears to be their only product. One advantage of buying from a company that focuses on a single product is that they often have solid purchasing options, and that is the case here as well.
In addition to showing a lot of workout suggestions and details on their website, Rolling With It is enthusiastic about offering their 100% Money Back Guarantee to ensure customers are satisfied.
If you prefer a smooth foam roller over one with a lot of rivets and bumps, then this blue foam roller from Rolling With It is an excellent option, especially considering the 100% guarantee.
|$17.95 – $39.97||More Info|
#8 – NewCell Integrate Foam Roller with Massage Acupressure
- Bi-Directional Rivets for Spine Comfort
- Trigger Point Zone for Deep Penetration
- Two Sizes: 12×4 and 24×4
- Soft Exterior, Strong Interior
- Unique Half-blue, Half-Black Design
Designed by a structural integration specialist, the Integrate Foam Roller by NewCell is truly unique in both appearance and function. Unlike more basic foam rollers with a smooth surface, this one has numerous soft bumps protruding out of it for a deeper penetration of your trigger points.
To help spine comfort, these are made to be bi-directional, so you don’t have to worry if you’re rolling the right way or not. With its blue and black appearance and strategic texturing, the Integrate Foam Roller will spice up your home gym while getting your kinks out.
Who Makes It?
Based in a city with tons of athletes, Boulder, Colorado, New Cell Fit is dedicated to innovative foam rollers that help relieve pain for athletes. In addition to their intelligently designed Integrate Foam Roller, New Cell Fit also sells a Rock and Roller Massage stick which serves a similar purpose.
For a deep, penetrating massage experience, the Integrate Foam Roller is strategically designed by experts to hit your hard to reach knots and relieve pain.
#7 – ProSource Sports Medicine Foam Roller
- New and Improved Design
- Tough EVA Interior
- Two Different Density Zones
- Measures 24×6
- Three Color Options: Black, Blue, and Orange
With two separate density zones that simulate palms and fingertips respectively, the Sports Medicine Foam Roller by ProSource is made with a focus on relieving the pain of athletes. The center is a hard material, while outside is a soft yet durable foam with strategically placed grooves.
To ensure happy customers, ProSource includes a limited lifetime warranty, so you really can’t go wrong by trying the Sports Medicine Foam Roller.
Who Makes It?
In addition to the Sports Medicine Foam Roller, ProSource makes a wide array of other fitness gear, including cross training equipment, Yoga mats, and dumbbells. For fans of therapeutic equipment, ProSource has a slew of other options, ranging from kinesiology tape and acupressure mats, to massage balls and an arched back stretcher.
If you want a foam roller that offers deep bumps as well as flat ones, the Sports Medicine Foam Roller comes with three colors and has a lifetime warranty to keep you happy.
- Built for Heavy Use in Gym Settings
- Smooth, Lightly Textured Surface
- Measures 36×6
- Exclusive Heat Molded Technology
- Stylish Blue Marble or Green Marble
Larger, tougher, and more expensive than most others on the list, the OPTP PRO-ROLLER is specifically designed to withstand rigorous use in a professional setting. The look of these foam rollers is different, with a unique blue and white or green and white marble that’s very stylish.
Also, they appear to be extremely smooth and soft, with a round look and only very light texturing. Also available in semi-circle shape, the OPTP PRO-ROLLER is made to be exceptionally easy to clean.
Who Makes It?
Standing for Orthopedic Physical Therapy Products, OPTP is unlike any other company on this list.
For over three decades, OPTP has been finding the best products to include in their catalogue, and like the OPTP PRO-ROLLER, they pick durable products that they deem to be of professional quality.
OPTP sells an unbelievable array of products, spanning the gap between stability balls to heat therapy products.
If you’re a pro trainer or gym owner, then the OPTP PRO-ROLLER is the quality of foam roller you’re going to want. At a little bit higher of a price, the PRO-ROLLER also brings enough toughness to survive heavy consistent use.
#5 – Muscle Mauler
- Dual Pressure Zones
- Designed for Sports Injury and Recovery
- Quick Guide and Ebook Included
- Portable: Only 13 Inches
- Bright Red Color
Sold in a bag with a handle and including a quick guide with suggestions for use, the Muscle Mauler is a foam roller with a lot of character.
The two different pressure zones provide mutually exclusive experiences, with one meant to simulate a strong palm massage, while the other is intended to hit you deep like a masseuse’s fingertips.
The bright red color and wild design make it more of a conversation piece than most foam rollers, but the variety of durable foam protrusions will make it easy to find your sweet spots.
Who Makes It?
Offering fitness and recovery equipment like massage balls, jump ropes, and kinesiology tape, Master of Muscle brings their innovative perspective to a series of fitness equipment. With bold coloring and catchy names on most of their products, Master of Muscle clearly makes an effort to stand out in terms of style and quality.
Master of Muscle also offers a “Better than money back guarantee” where you can send the product back for any reason and get anoter.
The Muscle Mauler is an attractive foam roller that attempts to take the place of a masseuse by offering two distinct zones that apply different types of pressure.
#4 – Exercise Foam Roller by Product Stop Inc.
- Hollow Roller Designed to Hit Trigger Points
- Combines High and Low Density Foam
- Measures: 13×6
- No Questions Asked 100% Money Back Guarantee
- Five Color Varieties Including Pink and Light Blue Bumpy
In addition to two types of foam and a nice variety of styles, the Exercise Foam Roller also comes with a PDF guide detailing useful techniques. Including five styles and a 100% satisfaction money back guarantee, Product Stop, Inc. offers a lot of options to please customers.
The combination of durable and less durable foams produces a strong foam roller that is built to seep into your trigger spots. The smaller roller actually pulls out, allowing two distinct sizes and densities of foam roller. The fact that it pulls out to form two rollers was popular among a lot of customers, and adds notable amount of value to the Exercise Foam Roller.
Who Makes It?
The number one best seller on Amazon, Product Stop Inc. began with a bold vision. Seeing a lot of incompetence among other retailers, the Harvard grad started the company to find the best products and provide top-level service.
That vision has led to a lot of success, and the Exercise Foam Roller is among the products that met the high standards of Product Stop Inc.
For a high-quality hollow foam roller that’s essentially two rollers in one, the Exercise Foam Roller comes with five colors and solid buying options so you can be confident you’re making a smart purchase.
#3 – PERformance Roller
- High Density: 1.9 Pounds per Cubic Foot
- Three Sizes: 12×6, 18×6, and 36×6
- Keeps Shape After Heavy Use
- Made with EPE Foam
- Professional Looking Black Roller with White Logo
A lot of people prefer a smooth, simple, foam roller made of durable foam. If that’s your preference, then the PERformance Roller by EPE is a highly-affordable and durable option. With three size options which are all less expensive than most others on the list, this EPE foam roller has a very dark, simple appearance.
Who Makes It?
EPE provides a specific website for their Black High Density Foam Roller. It details the six advantages of the product, including the fact that it’s made in the USA, and made from molded EPE foam.
For a tough, simple foam roller that’s one of the least expensive on the list, the PERformance Roller is well-worth the price.
#2 – Athren Foam Roller for Muscle Massage
- Three Different Pressure Zones
- Measures 13×5
- Durable Foam Wrapped around Hard Plastic
- 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
- Three Colors: Black, Lime, and Orange
A truly innovative foam roller, the Athren Foam Roller is the only one on the list that uses three different density zones. Available in only one size, 13×6, the Athren Foam Roller is highly-portable, and fits into most gym bags.
What it lacks in size options it makes up for with interesting colors, and is the only foam roller on the list to have a lime green color variation.
Like a few others on the list, this foam roller by Athren also comes with a no questions asked, 30 day money back guarantee, so you can make the purchase with confidence.
Who Makes It?
Athren is a highly rated company that sells four products on Amazon, including the Athren Foam Roller. Their products fall into the fitness and recovery category, and include an exercise ball, massage stick, and premium quality jump rope.
Arguably the best value on the list, the Athren Foam Roller offers three different massage surfaces and cool color options, all at a reasonable price point.
- Highly Portable: Measures 13×5
- Innovative Distrodensity Zone Designed to Hit your Trigger Points
- Includes Level 1, 2, and 3 Smrt DVD’s with Advice for Use
- One Year Warranty
- Available in Orange or Black with TriggerPoint Logo
A premium foam roller with by far the highest price tag on the list, the GRID Foam Roller by TriggerPoint is unlike any other. What sets it apart is its distrodensity zone, a grid of various sizes and shapes of padding that is specifically designed to massage all of your trigger points.
It’s also portable but tough, with a huge max weight limit of 500 lbs. Also notable is that it comes with a three DVD crash course on how to use the foam roller, with lessons divided into three different skill levels.
Who Makes It?
Founded by a bio-mechanical specialist who focused his expertise on sports fitness, Trigger Point Fitness sells a variety of unique products.
These range from a Cold Roller to instructional DVD’s, with all of the products geared towards helping your muscles recover and massaging your trigger points. Their website has an impressive array of useful info for learning about the human body and how massage works.
If only a top-notch, premium foam roller will work for you, then the GRID Foam Roller is the ideal choice. From its innovative distrodensity zone that gives a varied massage experience, to the three instructional DVD’s it comes with, the GRID Foam Roller offers a complete package for effectively hitting your trigger points.
Click on a section below to jump right to it.
- What is a foam roller?
- Things to know
- Benefits of foam rollers
- How do they help?
- Who should use them?
- Should you get one?
- How to use a foam roller
- How to pick a good one
–or jump back up to the list–
- Jump Up to the List of Foam Rollers
If the term “foam roller” doesn’t bring anything to mind, you’ve probably seen them laying around a gym without realizing it. Foam rollers are cylindrical in shape, and made of tough, high-quality foam.
The general idea is that you can use a foam roller to get the effects of a massage for your back, calves, thighs, and other areas that may feel sore or tight. Although they resemble a pool noodle, foam rollers are made of much more durable material, and are usually small enough to fit in a gym bag.
While a lot of people appreciate a smooth, simple foam roller, a lot of them have elaborate bumps, grids, and rivets aimed at hitting your hard to reach areas.
While a lot of fitness exercises, equipment, and supplements may not have research supporting their benefits, foam rollers are heavily used for medical purposes, so there have been a lot of research studies that prove their effectiveness.
The value of proper research is that it is the only true way for a product or idea to build credibility. While people will still use a product or supplement if the marketing is catchy or if people recommend it, research studies are expensive endeavors that involve multiple academics, and focus on a specific aspect of whether a product works.
For example, one peer reviewed study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that foam rollers had a significant impact in reducing arterial stress and stiffness and improves vascular endothelial function. The fact that numerous studies support the advantages of foam rollers adds a lot of credibility to the product.
Since foam rollers are closely linked to therapy and recovery, there are a few massage-related terms that will come up periodically when researching foam rollers. Learning these few terms will help you converse with physical therapists and masseuses, and will help you understand what these products mean when they say they massage your trigger points.
Since these are frequently used in the marketing of typical foam rollers, understanding what they mean will make you better equipped to make a wise purchase.
Most foam rollers are designed for myoscial release, which essentially means to find your tight spots and massage them out. If you’ve ever gotten a massage, then you’ve experienced myoscial release, and the numerous benefits of it include the relief of pain and muscle tension.
If you don’t have access to a foam roller, you can still use self-massage to get the benefits of myoscial release, at least in the parts of the body you can reach.
We’ve all had tight areas in our muscles but may not realize that those spots have a name. In massage lingo, a trigger point is a tense spot within your muscles that is tender when touched, and causes pain in another area of the body. Trigger points are the reason a lot of foam rollers have protruding bumps of varying shapes and sizes.
The deep penetration they provide can have the effect of a masseuse focusing on your tightest spots, otherwise known as trigger points.
Density zone is the widely accepted term for the surface of the foam roller. As you peruse the top ten list, you’ll find that almost every single one of them has a different density zone, with some products having three on a single foam roller.
Through practice and experience, you’ll learn if you like one with aggressive bumps or a more flat and durable roller, but know that there are a massive variety of foam rollers on the market, some with very unique density zones.
Below we explore some of the benefits of foam roller exercises. Whether you use it as a back roller, a muscle roller, or just as a massage roller from time to time, this little piece of workout gear has tremendous healing benefits for your body. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of doing foam rolls.
When you have a sore area in your muscles, it is often a matter of excessive tension. If you don’t have regular access to a masseuse, then self-massage is one of the earliest forms of medicine, and can do a lot to relieve these kind of trigger points.
Foam rollers can be seen as a major accessory for giving yourself a massage, with the power of the massage coming from your own body weight focused on the foam roller. The reason this can work lies with the durability of the foam roller. Even though they appear like soft foam, foam rollers are very tough, and typically can support a weight limit of 300-500 pounds.
The most common places to find foam rollers are in Yoga studios, gyms, and Cross-Fit gyms. That said, the inexpensive and compact nature of a foam roller makes them popular in gym bags and home gyms throughout the world. Physical therapists also employ foam rollers as a safe, low risk method of relieving the pain of patients.
These are a few of the common groups that can see great benefit from using a foam roller.
Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts
The very nature of working out is brutal on the muscles. If you lift weights, your muscles are stretching and being broken down, only to be regrown with your next dose of protein. Runners often endure muscle pain in their legs and hips, while swimmers and boxers are likely to get pain in their upper bodies.
Whatever the source and cause of your pain, the right kind of foam roller can work wonders for targeting all of your sore spots.
Anyone with Pain Issues
As mentioned, the use of foam rollers goes far beyond the world of gyms, Yoga, and fitness. Doctors can recommend the use of a foam roller in combatting the pain of their patients before resorting to medication, and it’s fairly common for physical therapists to have foam rollers in their facility.
Whether you’re an executive who’s sore from traveling a lot, or a computer scientist with back issues, anyone who deals with personal pain can benefit from the use of a massage roller.
As a valuable addition to their athletic training, most personal trainers will have at least one foam roller in their fitness toolbox. There are actually a lot of different techniques for properly using a foam roller, so a personal trainer who is qualified to help you out is a valuable resource.
If you happen to be a member of a gym, it’s highly likely that someone there can assist you with using the foam roller.
If pain relief is a regular part of your life, and you have a desire to get more in depth into the art of foam rolling, then you’ll find that myofascial release is a deep rabbit hole you can delve into.
Knowing the major trigger points of the body, and how each can be best relieved with a massage roller is a good place to start, as it will provide you with a strong knowledge of the functionality of the foam roller.
More in depth knowledge will focus on how the myofascial release works, where common pain relays lead to, and how to best use the various types of foam rollers.
For those who love foam rolling and are interested in attending seminars and finding more info, then John F. Barnes is considered an industry expert, and has 50 years of experience in the field of myofascial release.
At first, you may have only one or two techniques in mind for using your new foam roller, but with a little investigation, you’ll see that there are dozens. Both the upper and lower body can benefit greatly from using a foam roller, with key upper body spots including shoulders, upper back, upper arms, and the side of the torso.
Among the lower body areas that benefit from foam rolling are the buttocks, hips, and both upper and lower legs. If the foam roller you purchase does not come with a guide to give you a tutorial on how to use it, then supplementary books and posters are available, including this highly detailed picture poster by OPTP.
Aside from the widely varying density areas, there are several common ways that popular foam rollers differentiate from each other.
While using each one will be a slightly different experience because of their textures, other factors like material, design, and accessories can influence your buying decision as well.
A quick review of these major traits of foam rollers will give you a solid idea of what to expect from the top ten.
While a fair amount of foam rollers are plain black or blue, many are bright colored, and some even come in innovative designs. One example of a foam roller with a unique look is the black and blue Integrate Foam Roller by New Cell.
The 50/50 mix combined with its varying bi-directional density zones really makes it stick out above plain options. For another really cool design in a smooth foam roller, check out the OPTP PRO-ROLLER on our list above.
It’s smooth, marble white and blue, or marble white and green foam rollers are pretty stylish looking, and will do a lot to spice up your home gym. Other colors available from foam rollers on this list include lime green, tangerine, bright red, and plum, so even if getting a plain one, a lot of color options are out there.
A foam roller provides a lot of functionality and value in and of itself, but a lot of them will come with accessories. For the most part, the accessories offered by foam roller companies are of the instructional nature, and include ebooks or a quick guide to the many techniques you can use with a foam roller.
The Muscle Mauler is one such foam roller that not only comes with a cool carrying bag, but also a quick guide and ebook that details tips and suggestions for use. For even more instructional materials, the TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller goes far beyond the rest, as they include three DVD’s that each provide a different level of instruction for their foam roller.
Deals & Warranties
Another difference to notice while comparing products on the list is that many of them come with excellent purchasing options and money back guarantees. While no one purchases a product to take it back, knowing these options are there can provide a lot of piece of mind when making the buying decision.
Luckily, the majority of the top ten foam rollers have some kind of warranty, ranging from limited lifetime warranties, to no questions asked money back guarantees. Since foam rollers can be painful, and a particular type may or may not work for a certain customer, these money back options are useful, and can do a lot to sway someone’s choice in which foam roller to purchase.
Smooth vs. Bumpy Textures
While all foam rollers can be effective if properly used, there is a vast difference between those with flat surfaces and bumpy ones. The differences in experiences is comparable to the difference between a soft, gentle massage with a masseuse’s palms, versus a deep, hard, penetrating massage with a masseuse’s fingertips.
If you don’t have a strong preference between the two, several foam rollers on the list have both options, so you can use the density zones for a palm-like massage, or a more focused, intense one. Ultimately, foam rollers are inexpensive for the most part, so there are a lot of ways that you can have both of the best aspects of foam rollers.
If you’ve decided you need a good foam roller, then the one that’s perfect for you will depend on your priorities. If budget is a concern, then the fact that most of the best foam rollers on the list are available for less than $25 will make the choice easier.
It’s worth mentioning that just because a foam roller has more elaborate features or is more expensive, does not mean that it will necessarily work best on your body.
If you have the opportunity to try a foam roller, either at a gym, or at another fit friend’s house, then determining whether you like a bumpy grid type density or a flat one will help your purchase.
Whatever your main concerns in a foam roller, each of them are designed to alleviate muscle pain, and to hit all of the spots that’ll leave you fresh for your next workout.
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