Foam rollers – They’re flying off of the shelves into locker rooms, gym, training rooms, and even homes at a rapid pace. This popular trend has been gaining quite a bit of steam in the world of athletic performance over the past couple of years and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Why? Because it helps with recovery, alleviates pain in your muscles, and most of all, its inexpensive.
What exactly is foam rolling?
Foam rolling is known as myofascial release – which is widely known as a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue to eliminate pain and restore motion. In layman terms, its applying pressure to your muscles to get that hurt out of them. And, foam rolling is one of the most popular self massage exercises that athletes can perform on themselves to achieve myofascial release.
In order to experience the benefits of foam rolling, you need to get your hands on a foam roller. Foam rollers are a high density foam cylinder that athletes place under their muscles while rolling back and forth to massage or “roll out” their muscles. However, foam rollers allow athletes to experience many other benefits as well. These amazing devices help prevent injuries from overuse, improve circulation, break up scar tissue, reduce stress, and improve your flexibility. And, it’s working for a ton of athletes around the world.
Simply put, foam rolling is an imperative exercise if athletes want to return to their peak performance as quickly as possible. And, rolling is not a major expense either. Foam rollers can be inexpensive and have a long shelf life, making them the perfect piece of equipment for athletes.
You need to keep a few things in mind when purchasing a foam roller:
Picking up the right foam roller for you depends completely on your preference. Foam rollers come in a wide variety of variations when it comes to their exterior and rigidity. Basic foam rollers will cost you anywhere between $20-$30, with an intermediate foam roller landing in the $30-$70 range, while the most advanced foam rollers with vibrating options costing anywhere between $75-$200.
For athletes with no experience in foam rolling, we recommend starting in the basic to mid level price range while keeping a few key factors in mind. While purchasing a foam roller, we suggest that you keep several key factors in mind including your height, weight, coordination level, and desired type/intensity of massage you want to receive from the foam roller.
If you’re looking for a more intense massage, you can opt for a roller that features a stiffer core and a grooved or spiked exterior. And to target harder-to-reach muscle groups in your hips and shoulders, you may prefer using a massage ball. These products tend to cost a bit more than the basic roller, but Amazon actually has several advanced rollers on sale right now. Check out your best bets below, along with a few other discounted recovery aids we’re eyeing.
THE 8 BEST FOAM ROLLERS FOR ATHLETES
AmazonBasics High Density Foam Roller
If you’re looking to pick up a basic foam roller, you can’t go wrong with picking up the AmazonBasics High Density Foam Roller. This roller from Amazon comes in three different lengths: 12″, 18″ and 36″. We recommend going with the 36″ roller if portability isn’t a requirement for you because the 36″ version gives you the ability to run the roller parallel down the length of your spine for support. If you want portability, it would be best to go with the 12″ or 18″ version. This basic foam roller is a dense roller that rolls extremely well on any surface. This roller will do the job for a majority of athletes and we love that it is extremely lightweight.
Trainers, coaches, and athletes will confirm with you what you already would know when it comes to picking a basic foam roller: high density foam rollers are pretty basic and made of an expanded polypropylene that you will find across all brands. Foam rollers may very in density a tad from brand to brand, but they are all pretty close to each other. So, then why did we choose the AmazonBasics High-Density Foam Roller? Well, for first, the roller is a fantastic price. Secondly, the roller is extremely safe for beginner athletes that are trying to adopt foam rolling because of the roller’s grippy texture.
Amazon makes foam rollers? We know, it was a little hard for us to absorb at first too. But, the AmazonBasics line is building a reputation amongst shoppers for having high quality programs at a reasonable and fair price. Nothing about this foam roller is remedial and the nearly 2,000 reviews on Amazon from customers are reassuring proof that you’re buying a quality product. Everything that you would want from a basic foam roller, you get with the AmazonBasics foam roller. It’s dense, it’s tacky, comes in a variety of lengths, and its black – which means that it won’t get dirty.
PowerPro 2-in 1 Foam Roller
The PowerPro 2-in-1 Foam Roller made the list for our 8 Best Foam Rollers For Athletes for two simple reasons. First off, the PowerPro is a high quality roller. Secondly, the unique design of the PowerPro is a softer foam roller packed into a high density foam roller.
With the PowerPro, athletes will be able to experience two foam rollers in one product. This is a great feature for athletes, yoga, pilates, and exercise enthusiasts that want to experience the benefits from both a soft foam roller and a high density foam roller. If you’re new to foam rolling or like to switch up your routine, the PowerPro allows you to interchange between both rollers depending on your experience or needs.
As mentioned before, the PowerPro’s soft inner roller is perfect for athletes that have back conditions, that are in rehab from an injury, or that are new to foam rolling. We recommend that those who are starting out with foam rolling to use the inner layer first and then graduate up to the high density shell after a couple weeks of use. The inner layer of the PowerPro gives a solid massage with its high-quality EVA foam, and we love the fact that the roller won’t run away on you with it’s anti-slip coating.
The high-density outer roller is for athletes that have experience in foam rolling and want to get a deep tissue massage. If you’re a beginner, don’t start out with this layer – you will regret it. The outer roller of the PowerPro is rigid, strong, and can withstand a beating. It’s more for athletes that have experience in foam rolling and want a dense, deep massage to their muscles (which you will get with the PowerPro’s firmness and foam grid pattern).
Not only do you get a foam roller with the PowerPro, you get two. Plus, when you purchase the PowerPro, you’ll receive a 17 page e-book on how to properly use your foam roller and a convenient carrying bag. This whole package is what makes the PowerPro one of the most versatile and best foam rollers for athletes on the market today.
Muscle Mauler Foam Roller
The Muscle Mauler from Masters of Muscle is a 13″ foam roller that packs a ton of punch for athletes that want a solid massage. Sometimes, smooth foam rollers cannot reach those pesky knots throughout the body. It’s not because smoother rollers are an inferior product, its just because physiology of our bodies won’t allow it to happen. In order for these areas to release the tension that has been built up, they need to be under a deeper pressure to be broken up. That’s where deep tissue massage rollers come into play, and the Muscle Mauler is not a product that will shy away from giving you that experience.
In order to loosen up the tight areas of the body, the Muscle Mauler has flexible foam nodules along the entire surface of the foam roller, which help you control the pressure and the location of where you need to focus. If you need to relax still muscles, increase your flexibility, or have scar tissue that needs to be broken up, the Muscle Mauler will help you target and alleviate those problems.
Intensity it the name of the game with the Muscle Mauler, which is a more compact foam roller at 13″ in length. However, its compactness makes the roller extremely lightweight and portable, allowing you to take it with you anywhere you need it. Keep in mind before purchasing this foam roller that the massaging nodules don’t allow it to roll as smoothly as a smooth roller. It takes a little more effort on your part to get the roller moving, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem with users as nearly 80% of all users of the product give the Muscle Mauler 5 stars on Amazon.
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
Quite arguably the best foam roller on the market, the user tested and widely trusted TriggerPoint GRID foam roller is a solid purchase for anyone looking to pick up a foam roller. TriggerPoint’s patented design is a favorite amongst athletes, physical therapists, and trainers around the world. The simple reason is because of the balance that the TriggerPoint provides between serving as a basic foam roller and a deep tissue foam roller. The roller provides solid, dense massage with a balanced rigid foam that targets the hard to reach areas that need special attention.
TriggerPoint’s unique design is made up of a foam covered PVC cylinder that is layer out in a unique surface pattern that surprisingly hits tight muscles, knots, and especially does a fantastic job rolling out the legs and breaking up scar tissue. The GRID’s durable, hollow design is extremely impressive as well because it is able to withstand 500 pounds.
The GRID is lightweight, extremely durable, and it’s technology comes in a variety of sizes and gives the user two density options. Athletes that want a larger foam roller will want to pick up the 26″ version TriggerPoint 2.0. Although the 26″ version isn’t ideal for travel, it is perfect for foam rolling at home and provides you with the opportunity to roll parallel with your spine. Lightweight travelers can pick up the TriggerPoint GRID mini, which is a 4″ mini foam roller with a 250 pound weight limit. And, athletes that want to pick up a higher density version can do so with the TriggerPoint GRID X, which is the same design at the GRID but with extra dense foam.
Between all of the different options, TriggerPoint has a foam roller for everyone, which is why it is one of the best foam rollers you can buy on the market today. TriggerPoint’s patented, multi-density design is the perfect balance for athletes that want to get the most out of their foam roller. Plus, when you purchase GRID, GRID 2.0, GRID X, or GRID mini, Tiggerpoint gives you access to their free online instructional video library so that you can learn how to get the most out of your foam roller. With over 3,000 total customer reviews and 80% of them being a 5-start rating, you can’t go wrong with the TriggerPoint GRID foam roller.
What would a list of the best foam rollers for athletes be if we didn’t have some options that vibrate for you? It wouldn’t be much of a list at all. If you want to get the most out of your massage or just take your foam rolling game to the next level, you should consider the Hyperice Vyper foam roller. Just a fore-warning, the Hyperice Vyper isn’t a cheap foam rolling product at $179.99. Although the Vyper comes with the high price tag, this foam roller lives up to the hype when it comes to performance and it’s back by professional athletes that swear by it.
The Vyper is one of the most cutting-edge foam rollers on the market as it combines myofascial release with vibration to get a deeper massage that relaxes the muscles. The 28-38 Hz vibrations that you experience when using the Vyper run between 28 to 38 Hz and are powered by a lithium ion battery that is housed in the core of the foam roller. You’ll get approximately 2 hours worth of use on a single charge and receive a strong vibration until the battery is depleted.
The most important benefit from adding vibration to the roller is that it helps alleviate pain for the user while they are foam rolling. Hyperice has built one of the best foam rollers with the Vyper and delivers a pleasant foam rolling experience through adding vibration. If you have $179.99 to drop on a foam roller, then we highly recommend this product. Not only does the Vyper perform and have the endorsement of several professional athletes such as Blake Griffin, Troy Polamalu, and Rudy Gay, it is comes with a fantastic warranty & guarantee.
WODFitters Foam Roller
If you’re looking for an efficient recovery tool, you don’t need to look any further than the WODFitters Foam Roller. This compact foam roller is an efficient and rigid product that will help you experience the benefits of foam rolling. This deluxe, high density foam roller has strategically designed patterns on the face of the roller that will help you reach and stimulate all the muscles that you need to. This compact 13” roller has a sleek design and is extremely lightweight, making it one of the best foam rollers you can buy if you travel.
This highly reviewed foam roller is extremely rigid, which is one of the reasons why it popular with so many users. One of the reasons why we think its one of the best foam rollers out there for athletes is because it has been designed for elite athletes that put their bodies through the ringer. WODFitters has created a unique pattern with its trigger point modules that help work deep into the muscle tissue, allowing you to get the most out of your foam rolling session.
If you’re constantly training, running, and lifting, you can’t go wrong with this foam roller. Its rigidity will allow you to get as deep as possible and speed up your recovery with consistent use on your legs – especially your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. The modules throughout the roller help spark circulation and break up scar tissue as well, which is perfect for athletes that are going through rehab as well. The WODFitters foam roller is built crossfit tough, giving you the confidence to know that it will last a long time.
PROSource Sports Grid Foam Roller
If you’re looking for a reliable foam roller that is a step up from the basic foam rollers on the market, then the PROSource Sports Grid Foam Roller is a perfect choice. The PROSource comes in two different sizes, 26″ and 13″ to meet the needs of athletes that are looking to do their foam rolling at home or on the go.
The PROSource foam roller comes with a variety of density zones throughout the roller to help trigger a deeper massage for beginner and intermediate users that want to step up their foam rolling game. The different patterns of bumps throughout the outer layer of this foam roller allow the user to choose the level of intensity that is right for them as well.
This foam roller is solidly built and packs an EVA foam filled center to prevent cracks from occurring and allow for a safe, long term experience. This intermediate roller is perfect for those athletes that are looking for a deeper massage than what the basic foam rollers give, but are intimidated with some of the aggressive modules on the high density foam rollers. The PROSource is afforadable at $28.99, comes in a variety of sizes and colors, and will give a great experience to beginner and intermediate users.
NextRoller Rechargable Vibrating Foam Roller
If you want power, precision, and performance in your foam rolling experience, all you need in your life is the NextRoller 3-Speed Rechargeable Electric Foam Roller. This beast of a foam roller is one of the most cutting edge foam rollers on the market today. IT’s high-density, its vibration therapy, and its portability all in one. This 13″ foam roller has a 6″ diameter and will rejuvenate your muscles with just 20 minutes of use after an exhausting workout.
The NextRoller’s vibration technology and combined portability are what make it an elite foam rolling experience for elite athletes. The NextRoller will run for about three hours on high intensity on a single charge. It’s extremely easy to charge as well with it’s added wall charger. When the NextRoller is out of juice, just plug it in overnight while you sleep, and you should be good to go for another week’s worth of use.
Elite Athletes will love the intense vibration that comes from the NextRoller when it is switched onto its highest vibration intensity. The PVC foam modules on this foam roller allow the muscles to alleviate on a much deeper level as well, giving the user a more efficient and deeper massage. If you’re an elite athlete that constantly breaks their body down through intense workouts, then this is one of the best foam rollers out on the market today. The NextRoller’s technology is cutting edge and it’s performance is tried, tested, and true with more than 90% of users giving it rave reviews and recommendations.
THE BEST BASIC FOAM ROLLER
Why: It’s simple and extremely reliable. The density is perfect and its grip will keep you in control.
THE BEST INTERMEDIATE FOAM ROLLER
Winner: TriggerPoint GRID 2.0
Why: It’s the perfect combination of massage, rigidity, and durability with its strong PVC frame. The GRID 2.0 is the perfect step up from basic foam rollers.
THE BEST ADVANCED FOAM ROLLER
Winner: NextRoller Vibrating Foam Roller
Why: It’s vibrating technology offers three separate speeds and can be used for three hours on a single charge. The NextRoller is the perfect foam roller for the elite athlete that is looking to get back to peak performance.
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