Depending on what part of your body you’re working on and what you’re trying to achieve, different rollers will work better than others. If all you have access to is one foam roller, don’t let that stop you. Using anything will be better than nothing.
Soft Foam Roller: Great for beginners or those who are inexperienced with foam rolling. You may feel some discomfort still but will be a little easier on your body than other tools.
These guys are pretty easy going and will help with a good general roll out. It works best on larger muscle groups like your legs and back and is the best place to start!
Hard or Textured Roller: These bad boys will give you more pressure as you roll and are a little less forgiving. As you foam roll more and more or have more muscle mass, you may find that the soft roller is limited on how much you can impact the tissues of the body.
It’s the same thing as lifting weights, eventually the lighter ones may not be enough. If you feel like you need to up the intensity, try a harder roller.
Softball: A softball (not technically foam…sorry) is awesome to dig in to your glutes and hip flexors. You may find some small, hard to reach knots up in there that a foam roller just doesn’t get. Because of the shape of the ball, you can get lots of specific pressure in a small spot.
As the size of the implement gets smaller, the more you can pin point on a specific area. Word to the wise to start easy with this as pointed pressure can create more discomfort, but don’t let it deter you…..could be just what you need!
***as always be sure to differentiate damaging pain with some discomfort
Lacrosse Ball: A lax ball (even smaller than a soft ball) is great to get those tension spots in your traps and neck. If you lay down on top of the ball, to get under the shoulder blades be ready for a much greater level of pressure. Try leaning against the ball on a wall first, then work your way down to the floor. A ball this size is also great to roll out the bottom of your feet… even better on the feet is a golf ball or two!
Vibrating Rollers: Besides the fact that rolling on a vibrating roller feels great, (insert all your dirty jokes here) it has some additional benefits than your regular ones might not. The vibration of the roller increases circulation to the muscle group making it ideal for warming up. It can also help to downregulate some of the muscle “signals” being sent that create muscle tension and feelings of tightness that stretching may not impact.
For the person who doesn’t enjoy taking the time to foam roller, the vibrating ones are great because you don’t even have to move if you don’t want to. You can just prop up wherever you want to roll and stay there… it’s a great way to drink your coffee in the morning or unwind by the tv at night.
We have found it best on lower body muscles as rolling too much on the back and upper extremities tends to transfer vibrations into the head... talk about blurry vision!
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