How to choose a foam roller

You might be thinking of getting a foam roller. You may have used one at the gym or your health professional might have used one with your treatment. So you might be thinking of getting your own foam roller or considering giving a foam roller as a gift. So how do you choose a foam roller?

There’s so much choice available today. Foam rollers can be produced in different materials and density, are made in different shapes, lengths, textures and colours. So here’s our top tips to consider when choosing a foam roller.

Health condition. It’s always a good rule of thumb to see your health professional for advice on a treatment plan if you have specific health conditions or concerns so you can choose the best solution to meet your needs. It’s not always possible to get that remedial massage as perhaps as often as you need to. Foam rollers allow self-massage to release the myofascial tension, help improve the blood flow in muscles and aid in recovery.

Purpose. What’s the main reason for using a foam roller? Is it for gentle relaxation of joints, help smooth out cellulite, treat trigger points, release muscle tension, or to help pre- or post-work out recovery? Your answer will help determine which type of foam roller to use. If it’s to relax the shoulders, then a long foam roller to lie on will do the trick. If it’s to target specific trigger points, then a foam massage ball to get into those tight areas, such as between the shoulders, spine or feet, will help. If it’s to release fascial tension say in the ilio-tibial band, then a short dense foam roller will be more effective in smoothing out fascia. Foam rollers with a corrugated surface are designed to have a rolling pin effect and smooth out tension and cellulite. They’re also helpful to prevent the foam roller from slipping on smooth surfaces. If you’re after a work out and muscle and fascia release then consider a vibrating roller insert with a foam roller.

User level. Consider whether the foam roller is for a novice fitness goer or a experienced athlete or sports professional. For beginners, it’s a good idea to start with a softer material and then work up. For experienced athletes, you’ll need a foam roller with higher density in order to release the myofascial tension, otherwise, you’ll only get some temporary muscle relief and not target the fascia to smooth it out so it’s more like the consistency of pizza.

Usage. Foam rollers will have a shelf life depending on the manufacturer’s warranty and the conditions in which they are used. They’re likely to disintegrate in hot humid weather and if left outside or used on rough surfaces.

So where to from here? It’s a good idea to try out a range of foam rollers to make sure the ones you select will meet your needs as we’re all different and our needs also change over time.

The team at Elite are friendly and informed and can assist with your queries. So contact them or pop into their store and try out their range of foam rollers. They even have gift cards if you’re a little unsure in which foam roller to select when buying a present.



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