If you are interested in trying out a foam roller, there are a few things to consider. There are options for people who have a wide variety of needs, so it is important to consider the length, density and texture which is right for your condition.
Lengths Foam rollers come in a variety of different lengths and sizes that can offer specific benefits. There are exercises that require a full-length (36 inches) sizes that you cannot do with smaller foam rollers.
Medium-sized foam rollers are about 18 inches long. They are perfect for those who would still like portability, but want access to a larger area when rolling. Because of the larger size, the medium-size is perfect for taking to the gym for more intense workouts.
Small foam rollers can be as small as four inches, so you can imagine that they could fit in small areas. These are great for targeting certain areas. They are also perfect for traveling because they are very portable. Small foam rollers can range in size from 5 inches to 12 inches long.
The most common size of foam roller is the large one at 36 inches. This size is recommended for use on the back because it allows for stability. With this large size, you also have access to other areas of the body. This is a versatile size, but does not transport or travel well.
Just as there are many different sizes of foam rollers, there are many different densities as well. The density of the foam determines the intensity of the massage or exercise.
Soft Beginners may want to start out with a soft/low or medium density roller for a less intense experience. Most foam rollers are color-coded depending on the density. White foam rollers are typically the softest.
Medium-density rollers are great for core-stabilization, or applying a medium amount of pressure in a massage. These types of rollers are typically colored green or blue, and are often composed of EVA or polyethelene foam. They are often used in Pilate’s classes.
High-density Black foam rollers, or high-density rollers, are great for those very experienced in foam rolling. They can provide an intense self-massage. These are smooth and very dense, which makes them durable to withstand a fair amount of use before needing to be replaced.
As foam rollers have become more popular, there have emerged a variety of different textures. Each texture offers specific purposes and benefits.
EVA/EPE molded foam rollers are the most common, and the most inexpensive. They are a perfect for beginners because they provide a smooth and round surface for less intense rolling. However, these types of rollers do wear out after use.
Another texture available is the Rumble Roller. Rumble rollers have square grooves designed to feel more like a massage. Because of this texture, they provide an intense massage and are not recommended for beginners.
Grid foam rollers offer a medium texture for those who would like more intensity than a smooth roll, but do not want the rumble roller. The grid varies over the course of the foam roller and helps to target small and large areas at the same time.
As you can see, foam rollers are customizable and able to serve different purposes. You can find which is right for you by having a clear idea of what you want the roller to do. Do you have lower back pain and need a roller to take on-the-go? Would you like to target your entire back, but only at home? You may even want to get a few different foam rollers for different reasons. Once you figure out your needs, you will be ready to sort through the options and pick the right roller for you.