If you’ve started using a foam roller after exercise you’ll know how effective they can be, not only for speeding up recovery but also for enhancing mobility. These are some of the best foam rollers for helping you bounce back post-workout…
Using a foam roller is a bit like using stretching exercises – it’s a sure-fire way to make sure your muscles recovery from your workout so you’re ready to go again and maintain a continuous fitness regime. Like stretching, too, rollers are great at keeping joints supple and helping you enhance overall mobility.
In fact you don’t even need to have been exercising to use a foam roller – you’ll feel the benefits on your overall mobility when used regularly with or without working up a sweat first.
Foam rolling is based on the principle of myofascial release: the freeing up of your fascia (the thin connective tissue that holds everything in place) to reduce stiffness and improve mobility. Rollers do that primarily with knobs and nodules of various sizes that can manipulate your deep tissue.
Like any fitness tool, the best foam rollers come in a variety of forms – not only do they vary in length from around 13in / 33cm to 36in / 90cm, they also come in a variety of thicknesses, materials and patterns. This can dictate how effective they are at working out tight knots or helping to flush away lactic acid.
Some, like the Pulseroll Vyb Pro and Theragun Wave Roller, are USB chargeable so they can vibrate as you roll. That can help them act almost like a massage gun as well as a foam roller, making massaging even more effective.
How we tested the best foam rollers
Though most people predominantly use foam rollers for massaging tight hamstring and calf muscles, they can be used for every body part. So our testers used each roller after exercise for these best foam roller moves. They massaged and manipulated the tissue and muscles in their feet, shins, adductors and quads, as well as their upper and lower back, pecs and lats.
Our pick of the best foam rollers
- Pulseroll Vyb Pro Vibrating Foam Roller ($138 / £129.99)
- Gymshark Foam Roller (£25 – not yet available in the US)
- Technogym Foam Roller ($85 / £65)
- Umi Foam Roller (£13.99 – not yet available in the US)
- Amazon Basics Foam Roller ($11.06 / £21.80)
Pulseroll Vyb Pro Vibrating Foam Roller
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$138 / £129.99, pulseroll.com
Features: 5 vibration speeds / remote control / USB chargeable | Length: 15in / 38cm | Colours: Black / Red | Warranty: 2 years
It might be the most expensive foam roller by far, but the Pulseroll Vyb Pro also pulverises the competition when it comes to deep tissue massage. Featuring four speed settings between 1,200rpm and 3,500rpm, there’s also a pulse mode that moves between 1,500rpm and 3,500rpm. A finger-mounted remote control makes changing speeds a breeze and a single USB charge will give you six hours of use.
Read our full Pulseroll Vyb Pro Foam Roller review
Gymshark Foam Roller
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£25, uk.shop.gymshark.com (not yet available in the US)
Material: 70% EVA / 30% PVC | Length: 13in / 33cm | Colour: Black
UK fitness firm Gymshark has a foam roller in its arsenal of accessories and, despite looking like most other budget rollers on the market, does an exceptional massaging job. Three patterns of ribs and nodules get into knotted areas well, and the plush foam doesn’t feel too firm against tender calves. Wrap-around foam edges mean you won’t accidentally hit hard plastic when working on the ends of the roller either.
Read our full Gymshark Foam Roller review
Technogym Foam Roller
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$85 / £65, technogym.com
Foam thickness: 0.3in / 8mm | Length: 13in / 33cm | Colour: Black
Technogym’s roller employs an unusual diagonal pattern of grooves and bumps with three distinct areas for effective tissue massage. It’s a useful portable tool as it’s compact enough to tuck into a gym bag. Though the foam is fairly shallow, the Technogym roller has a trick up its sleeve – the centre is firmer than the outside, allowing you to introduce a good deal of variety to your post-gym recovery work.
Read our full Technogym Foam Roller review
Amazon Basics Foam Roller
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From $11.06 / £21.80, amazon.co.uk
Material: Polypropylene | Length: 18in / 45cm; 24in / 60cm; 36in / 90cm | Colours: Black / Speckled grey
Though any texture on the Amazon Basics roller is conspicuous by its absence, this budget roller’s USP is its length. Available in three sizes, even the shortest length is longer that your average roller, and the largest is positively huge. Not the greatest for portability then, but it offers great coverage for performing full-length back rolls. If that’s one of your weak spots, this one is well worth a look.
Read our full Amazon Basics Foam Roller review
Umi Foam Roller
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£13.99, amazon.co.uk (not available in the US)
Foam thickness: 0.8in / 20mm | Length: 13in / 33cm | Colours: Black / Green / Pink / Purple
Another inexpensive option, the Umi roller has deep, accentuated nodules for really working out knotted muscles. There are longer ‘fingers’ and larger blocks too, mimicking the palm of a hand, giving you plenty of options, whatever area you’re working on. A good choice for keeping in your kit bag and cheap enough to have another in your home fitness studio too.