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.
Medium density foam roller
There are times when you’ll want a slightly softer foam roller, like when you’re using a roller for more therapeutic work. We recommend lying down with a medium-density foam roller (like the OPTP LoRox) underneath your back to improve your posture. Think of what your middle and upper back look like when you slouch and you are essentially doing the opposite with this stretch. This roller has a just-right density for warming up and relaxing muscles before stretching.