Foam Rolling: Devices, Advice, and Review

Do you feel as though your body moves well? Not just “I can walk up and down steps” well, I’m talking more about the “I can take on the world” well. Athletes and high performing people all over the world have turned to the power of foam rollers to improve their muscular mobility, flexibility, reduce muscle soreness, remove lactic acid, and decrease recovery times. Does any of this work? Let’s first dive into why I use a foam roller and then I will tell you if I think a vibrating foam roller is better than the run of the mill foam roller where you can find at your local health club.

What is a foam roller? A foam roller is a cylindrical device which comes in varying lengths, (12 inches all the way to 36 inches) and hardness levels (soft to extremely hard). Some rollers come complete with spikes and others come smooth. The spiked foam rollers could be mistaken for medieval torture devices if you ask me, but sometimes I still find myself using them.

If you were to look around my house I have four different devices I use to keep my body in tip-top shape. I utilize a tiger tail, softball, foot roller, and various other foam rollers. The tiger tail does a very skillful job rolling out my calves and hamstrings. The softball is more for smaller muscle groups like the forearms, trapezius, arms, and chest. The foot roller works my feet. Lastly, the foam rollers work almost all large muscle groups like the back, quadriceps, glutes, piriformis, and hamstrings. Obviously you can tell that I am a believer in the benefits. The main reason I started using foam rollers and devices related is because I’ve been bodybuilding since the age of thirteen, now thirty-four, I played many sports, and I have overcome many injuries.

When is the best time to use a foam roller? I think foam rolling works best being done pre-workout and post workout. Pre-workout as a quick part of your warm up and post workout as a longer slower recovery modality. If you are working out for an hour think five minutes pre-workout foam rolling, and ten minutes post workout. Devices swapped in and out depending on how your body is feeling. You can also foam roll in between workouts to extend the benefits. This will help to resume muscles to their natural positioning.

I started my foam rolling journey using the soft to mid level hardness foam roller, and have progressed to harder foam rollers over the years. It is important to start with a roller which is uncomfortable, but not painful.

Introducing the fitness junction foam roller, a five speed delightful tool which makes foam rolling better than it has ever been before in my opinion. Starting with the lightest vibration and working your way up to the highest vibration based on how tight your muscles are and your level of comfort. I have found that the gentle to hard vibrations has a more positive effect on foam rolling mainly because it doesn’t hurt as bad. I can honestly say I have less pain and my muscles are recovering better since I have started working this device into my routine.

Positives: This foam roller goes and fits anywhere because it is fairly compact. Also this foam rollers battery life is excellent. I have had mine for a few months and have only had to charge it a few times despite multiple time per week use. The five speed settings allows you to customize your experience starting with superficial muscle fibers and working into the deeper muscle tissue.

Negatives: One of the positive could also be negative. This foam roller is relatively small so I would not necessarily recommend it for beginners because learning to foam roll can take some practice and you may fall off this foam roller a few times initially. If you want to give it a try just make sure you have a soft surface between you like an exercise mat, carpet, or workout mat.

Overall I love the Fitness Junction Vibrating Foam Roller and I think it is worth a try. Foam rolling time per each muscle group is ideally 30-60 seconds. Pay attention to tight spots while rolling, if you find a tight spot spend some extra time on that muscle group until you feel the sweet sigh of release from the muscle belly. Never foam roll to the point of pain and always progress slowly. WARNING: I do not personally recommend foam rolling the IT band or the lower back as it can cause more harm and inflammation than the goal which is relief and decreased inflammation. Utilize multiple tools to get the relief and effect you seek!

I’d be happy to help if you ever have any questions or needs related to foam rolling!
Onward and Upward Always!
~ Mike

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