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Which Muscle Roller Should I Get?
The use of rollers in sport is a highly regarded, easy method to enhance muscle recovery. Used by athletes all over the world, it is a simple way to massage your muscles anytime, any place, at a relatively low cost. If you were to ask any athlete, from amateur to professional, they all use or have used foam rollers as part of their recovery. Due to this high level of popularity, the demand for foam rollers increased and so did the number of manufacturers, all looking to make their roller stand out from the rest.
What does muscle rolling actually do?
- Muscle rolling is known as a self-myofascial release method. Myofascia is a thin layer of tissue that connects and supports your muscles and bones.
- Rolling massages your muscle to break up any adhesions, commonly known as ‘muscle knots’ that can form between your muscle and myofascial and smooth out any tension that can build-up following exercise.
- These muscle knots are often what can cause pain and the feeling of DOMS following exercise, so the earlier you can break up these adhesions the better!
- Muscle rolling has been shown to increase flexibility and reduce the perception of muscle pain.
- It is recommended as a daily recovery method alongside stretching, sufficient warm ups and cool downs.
The simple foam roller was typically a cylindrical tube of foam to roll on. As the muscle roller progressed they are now made of different materials, can be different shapes, have different surfaces and some even vibrate. The differences in muscle rollers allow for deeper or lighter massages and work to ease your muscle soreness quickly without causing too much discomfort. Therefore, the roller you choose should be specific to you, dependent on your muscle soreness and pain tolerance levels. Muscle rolling should never cause pain, but a slight discomfort is necessary to ensure enough pressure is applied to break up the tension in the muscle. But which muscle roller should you choose?
Roll recovery has developed a range of muscle rollers to keep you moving. The R4 is probably what most people picture when they think of a roller. A cylindrical roller made of high density EVA foam perfect to target large muscle groups such as the Quadriceps, Hamstrings and back muscles. Ridges on the surface allow for a deeper massage along the IT-band, a common area of tightness among athletes.The ridges also allow for safe rolling of the back, protecting the spine along the back and neck. The main drawback of this style of muscle roller is that lying on the floor to produce the necessary pressure required may not be appropriate in all settings.
Roll recovery has also produced a muscle roller of a less conventional design to combat the need to get on the floor to massage your muscles. The R8 and the R8+ was produced to provide a deep tissue massage to muscles that are hard to reach, whilst sitting or standing wherever you are pre or post workout. The R8+ differs from the R8 in that an adjustable dial allows increased or decreased pressure to be applied to the muscle being massaged. The innovative design revolutionises the foam roller and enhances the inclusivity of those able to use it. With the addition of handles, spring technology, stainless steel hardware fasteners and interchangeable roll inserts to customise the depth of your rolling experience, it takes muscle rolling to a whole new level.
The Addition of Vibration
Another way to upgrade a foam roller has been to add a vibration element. Vibration has been suggested to enhance all the benefits of a foam roller such as increased flexibility and reduced muscle soreness, with an added element of increasing blood flow. Increasing blood flow can not only warm up the muscles, but also plays a key role when it comes to recovery. Increased blood flow means that more oxygenated blood arrives at your muscle, bringing everything it needs to repair and grow. In addition, there is an increase in the removal of waste products that linger following a workout. Waste products can slow down the recovery process so it is great to get the blood flow moving and take them elsewhere to be broken down by other parts of the body.
Vibrating rollers create a massaging effect without really applying much pressure. Often with different settings so you are able to customise your experience depending on your muscle soreness. Top of the range rollers such as the Vyper 3 from Hyperice and the Therabody Wave roller are a popular choice for those looking for full body recovery.
The Vyper 3
- 3 speed settings for you to choose from
- A contoured design to allow for a comfortable roll without aggregating sensitive areas
- Bluetooth settings for connection with the Hyperice app.
The Wave Roller
- 5 speed settings,
- High density PU foam layer to dampen noise levels
- Bluetooth connectivity to the Therabody app to engage with rolling routines available.
Both great options if you are looking for a vibrating roller, available at RecoverFit.com today.
Does rolling actually help reduce muscle soreness?
Yes! Muscle rolling breaks up any adhesions creating sore spots in your muscle and myofascial tissue.
How long should you roll a day?
This all depends on how often you train and how sore your muscles feel. It is completely individual to you, but recovery is essential after a workout to promote muscle growth and repair. The key thing is to get through your major muscle groups, especially those most sore after your workout. Also it is important to stay consistent, so using rolling as a one off recovery method is much less effective compared to rolling 3 times a week.
Can you roll for too long?
Yes, it is important not to overdo it. Rolling each muscle group for 30-60s, with an extra minute on muscles that feel the most sore, should be enough. It is important no to stick to the same spot for too long as you may cause further pain to the area. Take a look on RecoverFit.com at our article on 10 common mistakes when it comes to muscle rolling!
Do athletes actually use rollers?
Muscle rollers are popular in the world of athletes because it’s a super easy and convenient method to recover. Athletes use muscle rollers among a number of other ways to recover post exercise.
Does muscle rolling hurt?
Muscle rolling does cause some slight discomfort as it is usually done on already sore muscles. However, if you feel pain and it hurts too much, then you should stop foam rolling. You have to find the right pressure for you to feel the benefit afterwards.
Do I have to roll on the floor?
Not anymore! The R8+ has a whole new design to the muscle roller, allowing you to apply pressure to your sore muscles whilst sitting, standing or lying down!
I have pulled my quad, should I roll it?
No! You should never roll an injured muscle. It is important to seek medical advice and create a recovery plan with a medical professional.