10 Best Foam Rollers to Ease Your Aches
Find the best foam roller for you
If foam rolling isn’t a part of your workout routine already, give it a try. It’s the cheap and easy way to get a deep tissue massage without visiting a masseuse and its benefits range from pain prevention to speedier recovery. By slowly rolling over different parts of your body, you will help break up scar tissue and prevent muscle soreness and injury. Watch the video for five simple and effective ways to use a foam roller from fitness expert Lauren Williams.
To buy: $50; amazon.com
Who needs it: Gym-goers
Way to roll: With a detachable strap and interior locker, this foam roller can double as your gym bag, making it a great portable option to bring with you to the gym.
Rove Roller 01
To buy: $129; rovegoods.com
Who needs it: Travelers
Way to roll: Cramped plane? Workouts on the go? No problem: This easy-to-pack foam roller opens flat for simple transport.
To buy: $40; amazon.com
Who needs it: Minimalists
Way to roll: Stay limber and hydrated with this water bottle-roller hybrid.
To buy: $70; amazon.com
Who needs it: Folks who like to go deep. Word to the wise: If you prefer a soft massage or have a very low pain tolerance, you should steer clear.
Way to roll: Use the bumps on this gadget to unwind super-tough knots. But don't dig into one for too long: If it hasn't relaxed after a minute, move to another area, suggests Reavy—staying put for longer can cause even more soreness.
MELT Soft Body Roller
To buy: $70; meltmethod.com
Who needs it: Beginners; anyone who prefers a soft touch.
Way to roll: Gently massage the major muscle groups in your back and thighs with this cushy roller. "The bigger the tool's surface area, the more tolerable rolling will be, since the pressure is dispersed," says David Reavy, a physical therapist and founder of React Physical Therapy in Chicago. Start with larger-diameter rollers and switch to smaller, more targeted ones once you're ready for more intensity.
SKLZ Cold Roller Ball
To buy: $31; amazon.com
Who needs it: Anyone with aches or nagging injuries.
Way to roll: Feeling sore or swollen post–sweat session? Pull this stainless-steel ball out of your freezer and use it to target a specific area while reaping the benefits of icing: less inflammation and faster recovery. Easier than an ice bath!
Franklin Textured Ball Set
To buy: $25; amazon.com
Who needs it: Those who want to ease sore or tense spots but don't like strong pressure.
Way to roll: Use these orbs around your hips and any small muscle groups for targeted pressure, says New York City personal trainer Sulyn Silbar, founder of Body + Mind NYC. You can make them more or less firm (depending on how tight you are) with a needle inflating pump.
Gaiam Adjustable Massage Roller
To buy: $20; amazon.com
Who needs it: People with knots in their quads, hamstrings or calves.
Way to roll: Holding the ergonomic handles of this contoured roller, push the bar up and down muscles as gently—or firmly!—as you want; the disks rotate to work out kinks. Don't forget to breathe when you hit a trouble spot, says Silbar; deep breaths help alleviate pain.
TriggerPoint NANO Foot Roller
To buy: $25; amazon.com
Who needs it: Runners; people with tight soles.
Way to roll: Move this mini tool with dense knobs (designed to mimic a massage therapist's fingertips) back and forth under your feet—or calves, or any other small area. But tackle lower legs and feet last. "You might want to go straight to the tightest muscle, but often it's so restricted that rolling is less effective," explains Reavy, meaning it's tough to get a muscle to relax if another tight muscle is tugging on it. Start with hips and back using a lacrosse ball, suggests Reavy, as tension here tightens the whole body. Then move out from the torso.
Tiger Tail Classic
To buy: $35; amazon.com
Who needs it: Runners; those who want to control pressure with their hands.
Way to roll: Massage your quads, hamstrings, calves or IT band with the squishy strip of foam on this traditional wand. Just don't rush it: "Rolling slowly gives muscles and the surrounding tissue, called fascia, more time to loosen up," says Silbar.