Running as a form of exercise has many health benefits, but can also cause muscle related injuries. In 2017, many runners are turning to foam rollers as a means of myofascial release. Which is basically freeing up the connective tissues around the muscles which allows for movement. In this article I will be sharing what I believe to be the best foam rollers for runners.
I’ve been a fan of using foam rollers for quite some time now, even tho they are a relatively new exercise and massage device in terms of how long people have been exercising. Foam rollers are great for runners because they can be used both before and after a run.
Foam rollers are very simple to use and I actually prefer them in my warm up routine. Whether it be for an indoors workout on the treadmill, or going on my morning run through the forest. Using a quality foam roller before a workout or run can prove very beneficial for your muscles. I really like foam rolling before going on a run becasue it creates better blood flow and I feel more mobile than when I stretch without using a foam roller.
But don’t just hang up the roller now. When you have finished your run for the day, the foam roller can add even more benefits to your routine. You see, rolling just after a run when the muscles are all warmed up makes targeted foam rolling more efficient. When you run, the muscles tighten up and can be difficult to relax again. Using a foam roller when the body is warm can make these tight ares and trigger points that cause knots and such more effective. Just like using a heat pad on the Achilles Tendons, a foam roller works great to increase mobility and recovery times from running related injuries.
Quick Links To Info On This Page
- 1 The Best Foam Rollers For Hamstrings
- 2 The IntelliRoll Body Roller Is Best For Back Pain
- 3 Best Foam Roller For IT Band Syndrome
- 4 Best Detail Trigger Point Roller For Runners
- 5 Where To Use A Foam Roller When Running
The Best Foam Rollers For Hamstrings
NextRoller 3-Speed Rechargeable Electric Foam Roller Review
This device is intended to be used in the process of muscle recovery, whether it’s from a long hospital stay, severe injury, damage from excess exertion or anything else that might weaken the human muscle system. Intended to be a sort of replacement for a sports massage, this device is built to be placed on the human body where muscles are sore and in pain. With its advanced vibration technology, the manufacturer is certain that this device can easily replace a sports massage, and in fact be even better it in the long run. This will obvious be a test of time to discover how accurate this claim is. Though severe muscle trauma is likely best handled with professional care, for those with less severe problems in their muscles, this foam roller can be quite useful. Especially on the larger hamstring muscles.
- 3 Vibration levels - Low is just right for massaging the face while high is very powerful. Most people will be happy with medium setting.
- Massage nubs work a treat. Get in really deep for some serious muscle relief
- Long lasting battery life
- Build with high quality materials which includes a handy carry handle.
- Small personal issue - After charging the battery and you replace the end, you have to make sure you twist it to lock it into place or you could end up dropping the roller.
- The price may be a bit steep for some people. But totally worth the money in my opinion
The device has three speeds; low, medium and high intensity. This allows the roller to apply the right amount of pressure to each different aching muscles and joints. The NextRoller is built primarily to soothe pain in the upper and lower back, the knees, the IT band, the hamstrings and a number of other muscle groups. Some users may find that the device’s nub design is painful, but most users will find that NextRoller really does do a lot for their aching muscles. It can definitely provide the same type of stretch as a roller table, but for thoughts of dollars less, which many health and sports enthusiasts feel is well worth the cost.
Bad Running Back?
The IntelliRoll Body Roller Is Best For Back Pain
Like the NextRoller, the IntelliRoll Body Roller is intended to relax and heal the muscles through regular usage of the body roller. Built differently from the NextRoller, this device is a cylinder with a groove in the center intended to accommodate the user’s spine and shin bones. Perfect for runners that get back pain like myself. Additionally, each end of the roller is concave shaped, intended to account for the concave shape of most human muscles. It is laced with bumps and nubs specifically to allow users to sense when and how the roller is working on their muscles, which can be essentially for ensuring that one is using the roller properly.
This device is intended to work on sciatic nerve problems. It can release sizable chunks of glute and piriformis as its used, releasing the nerve, or at least part of the trapped nerve. There are a number of different models of this device aimed at different kinds of athletes.
Some models are built for large athletes who are muscle dense, such as wrestlers, weight lifters or boxers. Others are built with a softer outer layer made of foam intended towards small, lighter athletes, such as runners, basketball players and dancers. These foam covered models are also useful to those who are new to the practice of foam rolling to soothe their strained muscles. Overall, I find the IntelliRoll a great choice for runners that prefer the more curved foam roller compared to the traditional cylinder shape.
Best Foam Roller For IT Band Syndrome
ProSource Sports Medical Roller – Runners Love It!
Made with the idea of post-workout recover, this roller comes in two different sizes. There’s 13 inches by 6 inches, intended to be travel size, and 24 inches by 6 inches, intended for full body coverage. Great coverage for IT Band syndrome and back muscles.
The core is an EVA foam, which gives it a solid core that most users report to be beneficial. It also has a variety of different ridges in order to offer different density zones. This gives the user multiple ways to stretch out their muscles. On the other hand, the ridges do make it a bit difficult to roll smooth. Plus, if you’re used to soft foam rollers then this may be too hard for you. But, as I always say, use a foam roller for beginners. Start soft and work your way up to one of these bad boys. Your body will thank you.
In addition, some people report finding black spots after use. This may or may not be the roller itself, but it is something to consider. If you choose this roller, it might be a good idea to put a cloth down under it. In addition, people with a more petite body size might have issues using it. Even the smaller sized roller is rather large, which can be a bit overwhelming if you plan to roll out tight spots.
The negatives aside, this is a versatile roller. It’s great if you need a firm roller, and if you’re a larger person then it can be used on individual legs rather than needing to keep both legs tight together. For many people, that alone makes it worth the cost.
Best Detail Trigger Point Roller For Runners
The Elite Sportz Massage Roller Stick
This massage roller stick is exactly that. A stick with multiple disks in between the handles. The idea is to hold it and roll it against your muscles as firmly as you want. The handles have rubber gripping handles, making it easier to hold. The disks all have a space of 2mm between them. This allows you to roll it smoothly rather than having it get sticky or jerk around while you’re working on a particularly tight muscle area.
The rollers are made of a hard plastic, and each one is designed to have grooves to create multiple density points. This allows you to get an incredibly firm massage. The fact that it’s compact, designed to be hand rolled rather than laying it on the floor, means you can use it from any position. You don’t have to worry about having enough floor space to use it, which is a huge benefit.
Because of the unique design on this foam roller, it makes a great tool for any runner. I find it works really well on massaging out stiff knots formed in trigger points and increasing blood flow to areas that are more difficult to ‘roll’ with a bigger roller. Its easy to control and you can ‘work’ one area much easier than a big roller. Plus getting in deep to release trigger point is a huge plus when it comes to the Elite Sportz Massage Roller Stick.
Unfortunately, when something does one job really well it tends to lack in other places. This roller isn’t very good if you need a sustained stretch. In addition, the hard plastic rollers might agitate injured muscles if you use it too roughly on yourself. Lastly, there are some muscle groups that you simply can’t get to on your own. The fact that the massage stick is meant to be hand rolled means you’ll need a second person to help for those hard to reach areas.
Still, it’s a great massage stick for what it’s designed to do.
See This Massage Stick/Roller In Action
See how each of the independent wheels on this tool assist in myofacial release and improve blood circulation.
Where To Use A Foam Roller When Running
While you can just about foam roll anywhere on the body due to the vast amount of sizes and models available, there are a few common areas of interest for runners. These areas are prime targets for tightened muscles which need relieving after a tough run.
These areas greatly benefit from foam rolling: Quads, hamstrings, the Calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus) and the IT band. Running on inclined surfaces does tend to cause much pain on the calf muscles and a good foam roller will combat this pain via myofascial release.