What Is A Foam Roller? Why, When, And How To Use It

You may have heard about foam rollers, and if you suffer with achy, sore joints and muscles, you may be wondering if they can really help.

In this article, we will be discussing everything you need to know about foam rollers, along with product suggestions, specific exercises, and a Buyer’s Guide to help you find the right product for you and your muscles.

So, let’s get started.

What Is A Foam Roller?

When you roll a foam roller over your muscles, it creates something called myofascial release. This occurs when the fascia is massaged.

Fascia is the name of the thin sheets of connective tissue, primarily collagen, that lie beneath our skin.

These sheets cling to our muscles, supporting and enclosing them, while keeping them distinct from the rest of our internal organs.

Fascia enables all of our muscles to perform as a single unit, allowing for smoother, more comfortable muscular function.

However, binding is always a possibility due to a variety of factors such as muscular damage, swelling, illness, trauma, or immobility.

It’s because your fascia has gotten scrunched up and ‘gummy’ that your muscles feel tight and stiff. ‘Myofascial adhesion’ is the official term for this rigidity.

Foam rollers work by relieving muscular knots in these stiff places, as your endurance may be limited as a result of these myofascial adhesions.

Foam rollers, thankfully, have proven to be effective in relieving muscle tension, despite the fact that they might be uncomfortable while initially being used.

It’s crucial to understand that the size, structure, volume, and form of foam rollers impact whether or not they’ll work for you.

We will provide you with a Buyer’s Guide towards the end of this article to help you figure out which type of foam roller is ideal for you.

When To Use A Foam Roller

Foam rollers can be used at any time of the day to relieve general muscular discomfort.

Some people prefer to use a roller first thing in the morning, but if you have achy muscles towards the end of the day, you could try using one before bed.

Athletes, according to trainers, like to use foam rollers right before and after their exercise routines.

Foam rollers allow muscles to loosen before an exercise, allowing for more efficient muscle movement and a broader range of motion.

In addition, rollers are particularly efficient in reducing overall muscle discomfort and recuperation time.

How To Use A Foam Roller

Most individuals find foam rollers unpleasant when they first use them, so we recommend being careful when first attempting to use one.

As you progress through the learning phase, you will be able to recognize and identify your body’s reaction to various levels of pressure.

In order to use a foam roller, you will want to follow the following steps:

  1. First, identify the area which is causing you discomfort. This is the area that you will be ‘rolling’.
  2. Depending on the affected area, you will want to position yourself in a way that the roller will be centered below it.
  3. You will need to press your body against the roller, targeting the affected area, pressing for around 20 to 30 seconds. This should feel uncomfortable, not painful.
  4. Roll the foam roller over the area, moving to other affected areas. You should feel an immediate relief, even if it still feels sore and uncomfortable at first.

It is important to remember that a foam roller is not an immediate cure, and one practice will not completely get rid of the pain of a stiff muscle.

To see true benefits, you will need to use the foam roller every day.

Keep on trying different body positions until you find the one that works best for your muscles.

Additionally, it’s easy to get caught up in the sensation of the massage, and forget to breathe properly during foam rolling, so make sure to take long, deep breaths throughout the procedure.

Foam Roller Exercises For Different Muscles

Depending on the muscles that you want to stretch out, you may want to try the following specific exercises.

The press-and-roll method works for most tense muscles, but if you want faster, better results, you will be better off following the exercises listed below.


To begin, set your foam roller on the floor, and sit in front of it with one leg extended straight, and your calf resting on the foam roller.

Lift your buttocks upwards with the help of your other foot and hands, and begin gradually rolling your calf muscle over the roller.

Hold your muscle over the roller for 20-30 seconds after you’ve reached a tender region before moving on.

Ensure your calf is fully engaged by flexing your ankle while rolling. You can rotate your calf in and out to cover the sides. By shifting your foot into different places, you can increase the intensity.

To fully exercise the calf muscles, repeat on the other leg.

Iliotibial (IT) Band Muscles

The IT band (iliotibial tract) is a broad segment of connective tissue that surrounds many muscles in the lateral thigh.

By linking the hip muscles to the tibia of the lower leg, this tissue plays a vital role in thigh mobility.

While lying down on one side, lay the foam roller under one of your quadricep muscles. Shift back and forth while the roller works on the outer thigh, using your forearm to hold your upper body.

Pause for 20-30 seconds on specific stiff regions to allow the compression to act on your muscles. You can alter the degree of the IT band workout by leaning forward or backward.


Position the roller beneath your thighs this time, just like you did with the calf muscle, and move back and forth using your elbows.

You have the option of working on both thighs by propping yourself up with your arms in these workouts.

Remember to stop for 20 to 30 seconds to apply pressure to the specific area.

You may utilize similar strategies for other leg muscles, such as the hamstring, hip abductor, as well as more, by simply placing oneself in the face-up or face-down posture.

Upper Back

For this exercise, we recommend using a foam roller that is 24 to 36 inches in length.

Position the foam roller on the floor, and balance it on your shoulders while lying down.

To achieve a bridge-like stance, extend your arms straight and bend your legs while elevating your thighs off the ground.

Once you’re in that posture, start rolling back and forth to focus on your upper back. Don’t forget to stop for 20-30 seconds at certain points.

The Best Foam Rollers On The Market

Below, we have listed eight different foam rollers that, we believe, are some of the best on the market.

Check out our descriptions and reviews to decide which would be ideal for you and your conditions.

TriggerPoint GRID Foam

The Trigger Point GRID, a foam roller with a one-of-a-kind form that delivers a three-dimensional surface area, is the first on our list.

The center of the Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller helps it maintain its original shape and size, even after years of use.

The foam rollers are simple to operate, with a robust hollow core and a fantastic multi-density exterior.

This roller can offer a deep tissue pressure massage, in addition to replicating a hands-on massage.

This foam roller has been recommended by physical and massage therapists, coaches, and athletes alike for muscle healing, pain relief, and greater agility.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, you will additionally receive free online video tutorials from Trigger Point’s fitness experts with this item.

Trigger Point also offers a one-year warranty on its products to assure their reliability and lifespan.

You can find this foam roller here

BLACKROLL Blackbox Set

The BLACKROLL is an incredible everyday workout and rehabilitative device. With just one tool, effective myofascial whole-body training can take place.

Using the BLACKROLL Blackbox Set, you can improve your body’s long-term performance while reducing stress injuries.

Two BLACKROLL training devices are included in the kit, which may be used for both fascia exercising and fascia massaging.

The therapeutic massage rollers are excellent for treating specific points on the body, such as the back, neck, shoulders, arms, and legs, are extremely useful tools for releasing tight and hurting muscles.

You can stay on top of your health in the comfort of your own home with this high-quality gadget, instead of having to waste money every time you receive an injury.

You can see this set here

OPTP Pro-Roller Soft Density Foam Roller

The plush foam of this half roller is ideal for massaging and assistance during balance and core workouts, and the sealed foam structure makes it easy to maintain, as well as to use.

These rollers’ durable EVA foam allows for intensive, regular use in the gym, studio, or even at home.

This type has a smaller 4′′ diameter lower to the ground for a safer, more constant experience and simpler manipulation during massage, yoga, and physical therapy.

If you’re seeking a foam roller that can help you to improve your core strength, coordination, and posture while also increasing mobility, suppleness, and physical function, this may be the foam roller for you.

This product is great for massages of the adductor muscles, quadriceps, and back, as well as minor areas like hip rotators, buttocks, and calves.

You can find this foam roller here

321 STRONG Foam Roller

The 321 STRONG Foam Roller is incredibly lightweight and easy to carry, weighing less than one pound.

The triple grid 3D massage zones of the foam give you the sensation of receiving a customized massage from a professional masseuse.

The foam roller is a very simple tool to use. We recommend this beginner-friendly roller because the intermediate firmness accesses the soft tissue layer of tired joints.

This product is advised to be used during rehabilitation since it is one of the most beneficial ways to relieve muscle pain and boost performance, improving overall results.

This foam roller improves blood flow to the massage area, which helps to remove lactic acid that has built up over the years.

So, if you’re searching for a durable, low-cost option that works deep into your muscles, this device might be worth considering.

You can find this foam roller here

LuxFit Foam Roller

The LuxFit foam roller holds a traditional flat form that is great for pain relief and a relaxing massaging treatment.

Its flat surface is ideal for reducing muscle tightness after a workout, and for warming up preceding a session.

This device comes in four sizes: 12-inch, 18-inch, 24-inch, and 36-inch, making it suited for people of diverse shapes and sizes.

Along with its hardness, it can reach deep into muscle tissue to relieve painful symptoms. It may be used by people of all sizes due to its tremendous weight tolerance.

Another great feature of this roller is the waterproofing, which prevents sweat from becoming absorbed and retained overtime.

Finally, it is made of highly processed plastic that is resistant to scratching, splitting, and deformation.

You can ckeck this foam roller here

Gaiam Foam Roller

This medium-density foam roller assists athletes and physical therapy customers alike to ease soreness from fatigued muscles and joint inflammation before and after workouts.

Your muscles will receive a deep tissue massage with Gaiam’s foam roller.

The Gaiam Foam Roller ensures greater reliability when in use, in addition to offering increased grip and precision.

This low-cost roller won’t break the bank while still delivering excellent results, so we definitely recommend it to those who are unsure about spending money on a foam roller.

Additionally, the slow release of stress will extend and correct your vertebrae, along with other areas of your body.

The compact and lightweight design of the roller allows its user to target smaller places or concentrate on specific muscle groups effortlessly, and it was designed with the importance of healthy bodies in mind.

You can find this foam roller here

ProsourceFit High Density Half Round Foam Roller

This product is one of the best muscle treatment resources available, and it’s great for self-myofascial relaxation, light stretching, range of motion, and spinal stabilization.

EPP foam with a high density offers sturdy support that won’t deteriorate over time, in addition to being environmentally beneficial.

This foam roller is advantageous to people of all body kinds and levels of fitness, particularly those who require rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

The roller is very useful for releasing muscular knots and tensions, stabilizing the spine, and strengthening the abdominal core.

The roller’s high-density structure aids in the delivery of a deeper massage when contrasted to flat-surfaced rollers.

Furthermore, this roller is made of non-toxic, high-density expanded polypropylene, or EPP.

Cleaning is simpler than with any other roller in the industry. Plus, its tiny size also helps in storing and transport.

You can find this foam roller here

Gimme 10 Foam Roller

This high-performance Gimme 10 Foam Roller, manufactured from medium-density EVA foam, helps you calm even the densest muscle tissues in your back.

This foam roller is made consisting of a heavy-duty ABS hollow-core muscle roller that is about a foot long.

Scar tissue and cellulite are decreased as a consequence of the triple-grid massage zone, offering a massage that is comparable to that of a medical professional.

To obtain powerful therapeutic pressure, roll this conventional foam roller over your entire body, focusing on the affected areas.

The product is one of the most popular and well-known rollers for relieving pain in upper and lower body muscles.

It also has a triple grid massaging zone that aids in the reduction of scar tissue and cellulite.

You can see this foam roller here

Buyer’s Guide For Foam Rollers

Choosing The Best Foam Roller For You


Foam rollers come in a variety of densities, which determines how successful they are at deep tissue massage. You will need to identify which you need before purchasing one.

A lightweight foam roller may not apply enough pressure, but a firmer, denser foam roller may bruise and strain your muscles.

Extremely dense rollers may have a negative impact on your efficiency.


When choosing a foam roller focused on color, keep in mind that, typically, white has the lowest density while black has the greatest. The middle densities are commonly blue and red.

However, hue and density might vary depending on the brand, so this color coding isn’t foolproof.

Surface Texture

Certain foam rollers have a textured surface with ridges and knobs on the surface to apply varying pressure levels.

Other foam rollers have a smooth texture and a seamless and consistent pressure intensity.

A smooth roller, rather than a textured one, should be used by someone who is just beginning to learn how to use a roller.

Shape And Size

There are many sizes that foam rollers can come in, in both length and diameter. You can also get half rollers, or full rollers.

The shape and size will depend on the area that you want to focus on.

The Benefits Of Using A Foam Roller

There are many benefits that can be had by using a foam roller, and here are just a handful of them:

  • Easing muscle pain.
  • Helps you to relax.
  • Alleviates backaches.
  • Managing fibromyalgia symptoms.
  • Increased motion range.
  • Temporary cellulite reduction.

Final Thoughts

Overall, if you have been suffering with stiff, painful joints and muscle pain, there is certainly no harm in trying a foam roller.

We recommend that you start off gentle, not pushing yourself too hard, and working your way up to firmer pressure, and other shapes, sizes, and textures.

We hope you found this article helpful.