Everything you need to know about buying and using your foam roller for foam roller exercises.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Foam rollers -- What to look for

After reading my articles about what a foam roller is and some of the foam roller exercises that you can perform, you are probably wondering how to decide what foam roller is right for you. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, stiffness, materials and colors. There are foam rollers that are flat on the bottom and round on the top (like a semi circle). There are foam rollers that are cylindrical. There are short foam rollers and long foam rollers. Some foam rollers are very hard, while others are compressible.

I recommend that anyone buying their first foam roller, get a 6 x 36 cylindrical roller. The semi circle rollers can be useful for balance training, but this is getting away from the primary benefit of why we use a foam roller -- soft tissue therapy. A 6 x 36 foam roller will give the most possible versatility with your selection of foam roller exercises. All the most important exercises for foam roller therapy will be well suited to this type of foam roller.

I also recommend that people purchase a high quality, high density foam roller. These are often black in color. While the high density foam roller may be uncomfortable at first to the new user, it is important for the foam roller to be stiff in order for the user to be aggressive when trying to relieve sore and damaged muscles. These  foam rollers have a smooth surface and they will not lose their shape, deform, or compress with heavy use. These are molded foam rollers, which means they do not have cells, or pockets of empty space. These allows them to last much longer than cheap foam rollers under long term use.

A quality foam roller of the type I described, will probably cost around $25. Do not try to get away with purchasing a cheap foam roller. Your foam roller should be one of the most important weapons in your arsenal to aid recovery so that you can keep training and improve your athletic performance.

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