If you do it right, and with the right equipment, foam rolling is a deep-tissue massage you can give yourself at home every single day, for free, just by rolling around on the floor. Here’s how it works: A cylinder of firm foam pushes up against sore muscles and fascia, the thin layer of tissue that surrounds muscles, to loosen targeted areas, prevent injuries, and make you feel good both before and after working out. (It’s also nice when you just need a good stretch while watching TV.) Fitness people love them. They help improve the health of tissues — improving oxygen and blood flow through our fascia — help relieve muscles and joint pain, and increase mobility. What else can you want?”
Perhaps the better question is, which one should you get? Overall, trainers and instructors across the board suggest that you should be looking for something lightweight, compact enough for storing, and dense enough to dig into trigger points. Here, we’ve collected a selection of the best of the best that meet all those requirements. Our picks are recommended by trainers, runners, dancers, and a chiropractor, and they include standard, high-density foam rollers and specialty options like a collapsible, travel-size version and even a vibrating roller.
Best overall foam roller
A favorite of everyone from marathon runners to American Ballet Theater dancers, this foam roller gets high marks for its bumps and ridges that simulate a hands-on massage, and the firm core that helps it keep its shape even after years of use. It’s just the right density to be effective without bruising, A lot of rollers are too hard and will bruise rather than release. It’s the perfect size that allows you to target all major parts of the body. Rolling on the overall foam roller not only eases sore muscles after a workout, it can loosen up your body before a stretching session. Compared to a more straightforward roller, This foam roller will “get into the tissue a little bit better,” allowing for a more intense experience.