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Published on July 23, 2021

7 Best Foam Rollers for Muscle Relaxation

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7 Best Foam Rollers for Muscle Relaxation

Foam rollers are one of those pieces of equipment where if you do it right, they can provide you with a deep-tissue massage. They’re commonly cylinder-shaped and they push up against sore muscles while you lay on the floor.

Because foam rollers are such handy tools, there is a wide selection of foam rollers you can choose from. Depending on what kind of exercises you do, a foam roller can aid in relaxing different muscles in your body. Below, I picked out the best foam rollers available on the market depending on the types of exercises and needs that you have.

How I Picked the Best Foam Rollers

Before jumping into the list, here are the criteria that I used when putting together this list of best foam rollers.

  • Weight – Foam rollers, as their name suggests, are designed to be light enough for you to roll around without exerting effort.
  • Compact – Because you’re laying on the ground, you want to have plenty of space. As such, a roller should allow you to lay down and easily perform the exercises you need without too much issue.
  • High-density – The material should also be dense enough so that you won’t accidentally crush the roller under your own weight. The rollers on this list are very durable.

1. Best Overall: LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller

    From dealing with sports injuries to relieving tension points in your body post-workout, this premium high-density foam roller is the best. This foam roller is entirely made from molded polypropylene foam, which means that it has a high density and won’t be losing its shape for a very long time, even if you use it daily.

    Beyond that, it can also repel liquid so it won’t get soggy or wet if you’re particularly sweaty or you’re using the roller near water.

    It comes in three different sizes and can be used to assist your core, cover spinal stabilization, balance, re-educating your muscles, and boost stamina.

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    Pick up LuxFit’s foam roller here.

    2. Best Grid: TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

      If you’re new to foam rollers, this one might be the best choice for you. The reason for that is that each purchase of these TriggerPoint GRID foam rollers comes with a free online instructional video. This video shows you the best practices and how to use a foam roller properly.

      As for the roller itself, the big benefit here is the overall design. It has a rigid hollow core, and the materials used to make this roller are rigid so it won’t be breaking down easily.

      Another aspect to it is its multi-dimensional surface, making it a go-to roller for masseuses to athletes. These rollers can also assist in oxygen flow and heal tissues.

      Pick up TriggerPoint’s foam roller here.

      3. Best for Physical Therapy: Rolling With It Therapeutic Grade Premium EVA Foam Roller

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        Even though this roller is fantastic for physical therapy, it can also be helpful for general use, particularly before you go to work out. By rolling in advance, you’re allowing your muscles to get warmed up for the exercises that you’re doing.

        This is big because when muscles are more relaxed, you’ll be able to extend the period of your workout. You’ll want to care about this if you normally do high-impact routines such as Crossfit, bodybuilding, or general weight training.

        Using this regularly is smart and unlike LuxFit’s roller, this one is eco-friendly and resists flaking and chipping.

        Buy Rolling With It Therapeutic’s foam roller here.

        4. Best Half Roller: OPTP PRO-ROLLER Soft Density Foam Roller

          While rollers are nice, they do have a tendency to slip and slide around. If you prefer to stay still and relax your muscles, OPTP’s half-roller will be a good fit. It’s highly durable with its cross-linked, closed-cell foam. Because of that, it has a perfect balance between softness and firmness.

          Beyond that, because it’s a half roller, you have the option between a flat surface or a rounded surface for versatility. If you’re looking for a softer roller, this one is a good option.

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          Buy OPTP’s foam roller here.

          5. Best Stick: Tiger Tail Massage Stick

          While your standard rollers are great for back rolling, they’re only able to cover large areas of muscles. This becomes an issue if you’re looking to relieve tension to smaller muscles or in specific areas.

          This is where massage sticks are able to shine as they pinpoint specific areas in your body. Out of the various massage sticks we’ve checked, the one from Tiger Tail is ideal. It has three size options to pick from (11-inch, 18-inch, and 22-inch) letting you have good flexibility in what you’re looking for.

          The Tiger Tail is made from a high-quality, non-absorbent, and non-deteriorating closed-cell foam. This ensures that it won’t hurt your skin when using it, making cleaning easier, too. It’s also ergonomically designed so that your hands won’t tire out when using it.

          Buy Tiger Tail’s massage stick here.

          6. Best for Cyclists: Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls for Myofascial Release

            While it’s no foam roller, lacrosse balls are excellent ways to relieve tension in areas where foam rollers are awkward to reach, such as shoulders, glutes, and neck. All in all, they’re a great addition to your muscle relaxation routine.

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            Every purchase of these lacrosse balls provides you with two balls to use. Through these durable balls, you’ll be able to reach smaller muscle groups easier than you could with any typical foam roller.

            Purchase Kieba’s massage lacrosse balls here.

            7. Best for Shoulders: RumbleRoller Beastie Bar and Stands

              Lastly, if you’re looking for a great way to relax your shoulders, this product from RumbleRoller is ideal. The thing with foam rollers is that reaching your shoulders with these rollers can be awkward. Paired up with shoulders tend to carry a lot of stress, we’re more likely to experience muscle pain in that area.

              Instead of pulling out your roller, this option could be significantly better. This wand features two “Beasties,” which are spiky foam massage balls. Similar to Lacrosse balls, these are able to target small pressure points on your body—in this case, your shoulders and neck.

              It comes with stands that are detachable so you can use just the ball to relieve various points over your body too if need be. Each of the balls is durable and firm so you shouldn’t have issues in relieving muscle pain.

              Buy RumbleRoller’s beastie bar here.

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              Final Thoughts

              You don’t need to be constantly seeing a masseuse whenever you experience muscle pain. In many cases, it’s simply that you put your body through a bit too much stress. Whether it’s from your posture or from working out, foam rollers and other physical therapy tools can help you in dealing with those aches and pains. Just try out a few products from this list of the best foam rollers out there, and choose one that best fits your needs.

              Featured photo credit: Ambitious Creative Co. – Rick Barrett via unsplash.com

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              Last Updated on September 27, 2021

              Best Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

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              Best Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

              Think you can’t get a great workout or build muscle with your body weight? think again. Getting fit doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple, safe, and effective with bodyweight workouts you can do anytime and anywhere for the rest of your life.

              Regardless of whether you are an athlete, recreational exercise enthusiast, or someone who hasn’t lifted anything but small children or everyday household items, using your body weight as resistance is one of the best ways to get and keep your body in tip-top shape for years to come.

              What Is Bodyweight Training?

              Bodyweight training or workout uses your body as resistance and is essential for gaining and maintaining muscles, especially as you age. According to the National Institute of Health, beginning as early as age 30, we gradually lose muscle mass and strength as a natural part of the aging process.[1] The rate of loss varies from person to person and will increase due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional selections. If you don’t do anything about it, the average human will lose 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade. But there is excellent news. With the addition of daily movement, weekly strength training, and proper nutritional choices, gaining muscle is more straightforward than you will expect.

              If you want to build confidence, endurance, move better, feel stronger, and lose weight, start with bodyweight workouts. Your body is one of the most fantastic fitness machines ever created to handle life’s physical demands and challenges, and it is always available to you. With a bit of effort, consistency, and proper progressive programming, you will not only improve your fitness level, but you will also continue to feel mentally focused, and you might even minimize the effects of the aging process.

                Photo Credit: Kaileen Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Photography

                Need more convincing?

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                Jane M. Taylor, MS, CSCS, PN L1, Owner/Coach of Raw Fitness Performance, says:

                “Mastering bodyweight strength is crucial if you plan to add strength training to your overall fitness plan. Having coached thousands of athletes, adults, teens, and kids, I apply the same movement paradigm to everyone, especially beginners.

                First, can you get in position? In other words, do you have proper mobility and stability? You do? Great.

                Next, can you get in and out of position? That’s bodyweight strength—movement with control.

                Spending time practicing bodyweight workouts is time well spent. Not worrying about an external load allows you to groove the movement, laying down the foundation and establishing the fundamentals to eventually express more significant amounts of strength with weights when you are ready to progress.

                Not only that, no matter where you go, you’ll NEVER miss a workout!”

                Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

                Here are 12 benefits that will motivate and excite you to put your body to work.

                1. It helps improve any muscle imbalances, especially from rounded shoulders and tight hips from sitting too long (hello, new work from the home model).
                2. It works the whole body.
                3. It lays down an excellent foundation for future weighted programming.
                4. It helps improve strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, and coordination.
                5. It can increase your confidence.
                6. It saves time going to the gym.
                7. It can be done anywhere, so there is never an excuse not to work out.
                8. No equipment is necessary.
                9. It never gets boring.
                10. It’s free.
                11. It’s great for any body type.

                Will I Build Muscles With Just My Body Weight?

                Yes!! Following an intense workout, muscle fibers break down and need to repair. It’s during this repair phase that the muscles will strengthen and grow. Note that for this process to occur, the body must be pushed outside of its comfort zone. Using external resistance, aka free weights, barbells, or bands, will speed up this process and is a fantastic addition to any strength program, but it is doable with just your body weight.

                As you improve, the trick is to continue changing your training variable (sets, reps, intensity, time under tension). Once you have mastered your technique, it is time to take it to the next level by mixing high-intensity exercises with exercises performed slowly, focusing on engaging the muscle during the contraction phase, which I will demonstrate in the video.

                Let’s break down a few beginner exercises and body parts to get you started.

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                First, there are seven basic movements the body can perform; pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, twisting, skipping, jumping. From these seven, there are many different variations for each body part which I will show you below. With bodyweight workouts, you work all your muscles, including your heart, as you elevate your endurance.

                1. Back – Plank Push-Ups, Back Extensions
                2. Chest – Push-Ups, Incline Regular, High to Low Plank
                3. Arms – Modified Side Plank, Side Plank Hip Drop, Dips
                4. Core/Hips – Planks (high and low; you may perform off your kitchen counter), Elevated Mt Climbers, Opposite Arm Leg Reach, Bear Crawl Hold, Isometric Knee Press (Single and Double Knee Hold), Heel Drops (Single and Double Heel Drop), Deadbug, Crunches, Floor Bridge
                5. Legs/Hips
                6. Quadriceps – Seated Bent Knee Extensions, Seated Straight Leg Lift
                7. Hips – Side Leg Raise, Deadlifts, Prone Leg Lifts, Glute Extensions
                8. Squats – Chair Squat, Step Out Squat, Plie Squat, Wall Squat Hold
                9. Lunges – Step Ups, Stationary, Side Lunge, Curtsy Lunge, Swing Lunge

                Designing a Bodyweight Workout Program

                With bodyweight workouts, the variety is endless and can be applied to any current life situation. Whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, use the simple format below to keep your muscles constantly guessing. If you are just starting, begin with 20 minutes twice a week for two to four weeks. As your fitness level improves, increase the time and amount of days/week.

                The greatest thing about bodyweight workouts is there are multiple variations, and you will never get bored. Select an exercise from each category. Always starting with a movement that works numerous muscles at once ex push-ups and squats, then move to exercises that work smaller muscles, aka dips for the triceps.

                Best Beginner Total Body Workout

                Beginner: two times a week

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                (Repeat 2 x 10 to 15 repetitions)

                1. Plank Push-Ups

                1. Begin on your elbows on an elevated surface such as your kitchen counter or dining table.
                2. Step your feet back and together so you are supporting your body weight on your elbows.
                3. Maintain a straight line from the top of your head to your toes.
                4. At the same time, brace your core by pulling your stomach muscles in towards the back of the body and begin to retract your shoulder blades as if you are squeezing a pencil, then push the counter away with your core and elbows and come back to the starting position.
                5. Perform the prescribed repetitions (reps).
                6. Your whole body should move as a unit.

                2. Push-Ups

                1. Begin by placing your hands shoulder-width apart on an elevated surface such as your kitchen counter or dining table.
                2. Step your feet back and together so you are supporting your body weight on your hands, maintaining a straight line from the top of your head to your toes.
                3. At the same time, brace your core by pulling your stomach muscles in towards the back of the body and begin to bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the counter, then straighten your arms and push back up to the starting position.
                4. Perform the prescribed reps.
                5. Your whole body should move as a unit.

                3. Step-Out Squat

                1. Begin standing with your feet together.
                2. Step out to the right and lower your hips back behind you, pushing through the heels. Keep the knees behind the toes.
                3. Stand up and step together, tucking the tailbone under and squeezing the butt at the top.
                4. Perform the prescribed reps.
                5. Repeat on the left.

                4. Stationary Lunge

                1. Step out about hip bone/hip distance.
                2. Step the right foot back and stagger your stance about the same distance as the length of your leg.
                3. Keep the back heel off the ground and begin to bend into both legs, lowering your body towards the floor.
                4. Be sure to place more of your body weight through your front heel and keep the front knee behind the toe.
                5. Perform the prescribed reps.

                5. Hip Bridge

                1. Lie on your back, either on the floor or couch.
                2. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
                3. Press through the feet, squeeze your butt and press the hips to the sky.
                4. Lower down 1/2 way, then repeat.
                5. Perform the prescribed reps.

                6. Isometric Knee Press

                Depending on your core strength, begin with one side at a time or both legs on a tabletop.

                Level 1: Single-Leg Knee Press

                1. Lie on your back, either on the floor or couch.
                2. Bend your knees and place your right foot on the floor.
                3. Keeping the left knee bent, bring it up off the floor into a 90°-angle (otherwise known as tabletop position).
                4. Place the left hand on your thigh.
                5. At the same time, push your hand into your thigh and thigh into your hand. You should feel your abdominals contract.
                6. Hold that contraction for 10 sec, then pause.
                7. Perform the prescribed reps.
                8. Switch sides.

                Level 2: Double Knee Press

                1. The exact format as above, only this time, both legs will be in tabletop.
                2. Keep the abdominals braced for 10 sec, then pause.
                3. Perform the prescribed reps.

                Conclusion

                If your goal is to move and feel better in your body and continue to progress to an advanced fitness level, begin with bodyweight workouts. Not only will it lay down a solid foundation, but it will also help you minimize injury and give you the confidence to keep progressing to more challenging workouts.

                Commit to yourself and future strength gains by incorporating bodyweight workouts into your weekly routine. I promise you won’t be sorry.

                More Beginner Workouts You Can Try

                Featured photo credit: Fortune Vieyra via unsplash.com

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