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Introduction to Foam Rollers

Foam rollers have grown in popularity over the last 10 years, developing from a tool only used by exercise professionals to one found in every gym and many households. The choice available for you today is ever increasing. Starting from a simple log shaped piece of white foam in the early 1970’s, you will now find foam rollers in 100’s of colours, designs and in all shapes and sizes.

Despite the increasing list of options, the aim is still the same. Self-myofascial release
or in simpler terms… Self-massage

So what does it do?

As like all walks of life, prevention is better than cure. Using a foam roller regularly, whether injured or not, may help to give your muscles normal function, meaning your muscles are elastic, healthy and ready to perform.

The process of rolling on a foam roller will apply pressure to specific points on your body and aid in the recovery of muscles. So if you have tight hamstrings, sore calf muscles, aching arms or another over-worked part of your body, a bit of foam rolling could work wonders.

Foam rollers are also great if you have ‘Trigger Points’ (specific knots that form in muscles). The practice of foam rolling can assist in breaking up these muscle knots, resuming normal blood flow and function.

How does it work?

Foam Rolling exercises are very simple. You start by placing your body on the Foam Roller and slowly roll up and down the muscle indicated. The trick is all in the technique. Executing the correct foam roller exercise is vital for you to achieve best results. Positioning your body and stretching certain areas being treated will help to enhance the effectiveness of your routine.

We can’t stress enough the importance of technique. Using a foam roller correctly when treating your body is vital to not only improve the condition of your muscles but also to prevent damage. If in doubt refer to guides or your practitioner.

There are hundreds of tutorial videos online, we also sell a collection of the best books we’ve found available on Foam Rolling techniques to get you started.
Please view the products at top of this page for our range of Foam Roller books. 

There are many benefits to using a foam roller regularly, just a quick 10 minute routine a few times week may help to:

  • Increase your flexibility
  • Treat your entire body
  • Prevent injury
  • Reduced muscle tension and pain
  • Improve your performance

What can I use it for?

Foam Rollers are an essential piece of kit for any sports player or fitness and activity enthusiast. Nobody likes getting injured but we all want to give 100% when we participate, unfortunately our bodies can suffer when we push it too far. Looking after your muscles will help you prevent injury and improve performance. Using a foam roller regularly may help to keep your muscles in top condition.

The entire body can be treated, so whatever area you are looking to improve or manage an injury a Foam Roller can help.

Great for…

Calf strain
Back pain
Knee injury
Neck pain
IT Band
Tight hamstrings
Hip flexors
Glute muscles
Shoulder pain
Arm massage                                           

…and lots more

Using a Foam Roller as a tool to stretch before activity will help to warm up cold muscles and prepare them for deeper and more aggressive movements. You can also use a foam roller after activity to help your muscles relax and repair… The crucial part many of us often forget!

Foam Rollers are also excellent for balance and proprioception training. Our Pro Foam Rollers are designed to withstand balance exercises and will not lose shape. You can improve the strength of your ankles, knees and core muscles with both a full round and half round roller.

Why the different sizes and shapes?

Traditionally foam rollers are cylinder shaped, full round and approximately 90cm in length. Over the years improvements in technology and design have allowed foam rollers to develop into more complex shapes enabling the user to target the specific muscle group they are looking to treat.

The width is the main variation you will notice. Everyone is a different size and shape, therefore choice is beneficial so you can get the most from your roller. Also the width will adjust the intensity of how deep the muscles are worked, however technique is the best way to vary this yourself. The narrower rollers are not so intense, but are great for getting to smaller muscles groups that can be tricky with a wider roller.

Foam rollers are available in a number of lengths, mainly 30cm, 45cm and 90cm. The 30cm and 45cm rollers are great for working legs, arms, shoulders and part of the back. A 90cm roller will enable you to work the entire body.   

Another fairly recent addition is the change to surfaces of foam rollers. Featuring ribs, flat blocks, triangular shapes and many more, each new surface is designed to give the user an experience as if they were receiving a massage. Ribs feel like fingers, flat blocks can feel like palms and the more pointy shapes feel like finger tips, intended to get right into the muscle and give the user the ultimate foam rolling treatment.

Which one should I buy?

It all depends on the area being treated and how often you intend to use the roller.

For those of you that practice your activity several times a week would hugely benefit from a roller that will give you a deep self-massage. The rollers that feature a ‘hollow core’ are constructed with a rigid tube that is covered with a high density foam, giving them the strength to give the deepest treatment. Featuring innovative surfaces these rollers allow for targeted massage and mimic the feel of a hand. These should only be used for self-massage foam rolling techniques, not balance or proprioception training. 

There’s several types available, with the main difference being the size. Our smallest ‘hollow core’ roller starts at just 6.5cm wide and 16cm long. They go all the way up to 15cm wide and 61cm long, so you can find the perfect size for you.

The more traditional Foam rollers are available in a variety of foam densities. These rollers are one solid piece of foam, and are available in full round or half round and various lengths.  The Blue Rollers are higher density and will not lose their shape when used for self-massage or balance training.

Options available…

Physique Massage Roller
Surface - High and firm, raised and pointy, tubular and smooth
Featuring a hollow core and targeted massage surface this roller is a great lower price option compared to leading brand rollers. Great for the more serious and regular participants the various surfaces provide an effective massage sensation. Compact design to carry around at 15cm wide and 38cm long, but also large enough to treat all areas of the body.


The Grid Roller
Surface - Smooth, Small Flat Squares like a grid
Featuring a hollow core and targeted massage surface this roller is a great lower price option compared to leading brand rollers. Great for the more serious and regular participants the various surfaces provide an effective massage sensation. Compact design to carry around at 15cm wide and 38cm long, but also large enough to treat all areas of the body.


Vari Massage Roller
Surface - Smooth block, raised and tubular
A bit smaller than the first 2 hollow core options, this roller features a range of surface patterns to vary the intensity of the massage to suit your individual needs. The high quality construction will not break down or lose shape. Available as a single 12cm wide by 30.5cm long or twin to double the length to 61cm.
 

Mini Massage Roller
Surface - Triangular and pointy
A tiny foam roller with a lot of punch. Great for targeting trigger points and giving a really deep self-massage. Extremely strong with a metal centre tube this roller is a fantastic addition to your foam roller collection. Ideal for smaller muscle groups and the perfect size to carry in your gym bag. 6.5cm wide by 16cm long. 
 

Physique Pro Foam Roller
Surface - Smooth with slight texture for grip
Made from high density foam the Pro Foam Roller will not lose shape or turn ‘lumpy’. Great for self-massage treatment of the entire body with a textured non-slip surface for use anywhere. The strength of this roller means you can use it for both myofascial release and balance training with great results.  Half round rollers are excellent for rolling and stretching calf muscles as well as balance training. Available full round or half round in 90cm or 30cm long.


Foam Roller
Surface - Smooth
The original and our most popular choice foam roller. A great low cost option for low level use as it may lose shape over time. Great for use on arms and legs to give myofascial release. The half round rollers are great for beginners to foam rolling techniques. Also available full round or half round in 90cm or 45cm long.

 

After years of supplying Foam Rollers we have found the most reliable and superior rollers from a great source with consistent quality. We’ve tested loads of versions to discover the perfect roller and are confident you’ll be impressed with our choice. 

The Physique Massage Roller, Physique Pro Foam Roller and Foam Roller are available on our great value 4 for 3 Mix & Match offer.

View our full range of Foam Rollers here

Still unsure? Then please call us and we will do our best to help. 

 

Related Product Videos

Related Product Reviews

Don’t just take our word for it. See what our customers say about our range of Foam Rollers.

I cut it in half to make 2, easy with a bread knife. Light weight and great for demos with clients. Good value for money.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Miss Elizabeth Butcher
Reviewed on: 27 October 2016

I love this product and so do my patients. Textured surface does not slip on shiny floors! Great to use for balance, posture and core stability exercises. The kids love the challenge of progressing their balance activities from the flat side down to the curved side down. Patients frequently go and buy one as the 30cm is light and easy to store and very affordable.

Product Rating:
Review for: Pro Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Gina Farmer MSc. (Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed on: 03 December 2015

Perfect tool for The Calf Stretch and many others. The half foam roller is firm but yields to some pressure, it is warm to the touch with the faint nobbly texture giving that bit of grip to bare feet. Turn it over and you have a balance challenge, as it is strong enough to stand on. Care is required so as not to get the surface dented by sharp objects or edges. The half foam roller is a great floor sitting aid too, to find and maintain neutral pelvis. Excellent product.

Product Rating:
Review for: Pro Foam Roller
Reviewed by: J. Ball
Reviewed on: 20 October 2015

I have had this roller for only 3 days so I have initial impressions only. It is good and firm with a "grippy" surface. Working well at present but as I bought it to last longer than the previous roller it is only time that will tell if it was worth the extra. The 30cm length could do with being a little longer, even 35 or 40 would be better.

Product Rating:
Review for: Pro Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Mr Gwynfor James
Reviewed on: 16 October 2015

good quality and price

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: miss nicky Holmes
Reviewed on: 30 September 2015

Great roller, although I have been shown how to use it, an instruction sheet would be useful.

Product Rating:
Review for: Physique Massage Roller
Reviewed by: Mrs Maura Frith
Reviewed on: 24 June 2015

Quality foam roller, with enough give without being too much !

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Mr David Valentine
Reviewed on: 18 December 2014

Brilliant, just what I was after.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Ms Liz Webster
Reviewed on: 30 March 2014

Excellent roller as it is nice and firm. A must for maintenance of muscles between massages.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Ms Julie Beechey
Reviewed on: 25 March 2014

Excellent product. Very happy with it.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Mrs S Lawson
Reviewed on: 08 March 2014

Brilliant product, sturdy and great value! Speedy delivery and excellent communication.

Product Rating:
Review for: Pro Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Rebecca
Reviewed on: 01 March 2014

As expected, a cylinder of tough foam, very firm for bodywork. Arrived in v good condition from Physique, packaged well, no damage to foam. Would advise taking instruction for use, as use requires a good level of mobility to gain max benefit from roller. Allows a deep level of massage to soft tissue, care here. Good product in skilled hands.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Miss claire williams
Reviewed on: 03 February 2014

Perfect amount of resistance for a beginner. Shorter length = easy to store. I will certainly consider purchasing the longer length once I am no longer a beginner and using the roller primarily for massage, and want to use it as a piece of exercise equipment.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Mrs Maggie Stephens
Reviewed on: 30 January 2014

Well presented. Clean design and good illustrations/photos. Easy for a beginner to understand

Product Rating:
Review for: Pro-Roller Massage Essentials
Reviewed by: Mrs Maggie Stephens
Reviewed on: 30 January 2014

Already proving a hit with my participants.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Mrs Tina Dowsett
Reviewed on: 13 January 2014

Good product, great price!

Product Rating:
Review for: Pro Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Mrs Tina Dowsett
Reviewed on: 13 January 2014

Does what it should. Will soon have my itb sorted!

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Miss Shauna Read
Reviewed on: 10 August 2013

Excellent product, representing good value for money. Great for those thoracic kyphosis that just don't move well and need some extra home extension exercise.

Placing it longitidudinally inter-scapular with knees bent up and feet on the floor, while gently oscillation from side to side core stabilises and massages the paraspinals.

A versatile tool which also doubles as a very large light saber!

Product Rating:
Review for: Pro Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Colm Gregory D.O., MSc
Reviewed on: 26 June 2013

The Physique foam roller is an excellent bit of kit for pre-session activation. I have used it for lumbar myofascial release and it works wonders when used in conjunction with some mobility exercises. Everyone should have one!

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Jason Sanderson
Reviewed on: 19 April 2013

Foam Rollers are often used in Pilates classes - my reason for using it is to help with low back pain. Not the most comfortable item to lay on but gives the spine support, whilst if moving arms and legs slowly off the ground makes the core muscles work in order to keep balance, eg the stronger core muscles become, the more the spine is supported.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Christine Williams
Reviewed on: 18 April 2013

I have found this Roller to be very good value for money. For knee related problems it is very effective and used regularly makes a noticeable difference.

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Rob Tanner
Reviewed on: 17 April 2013

This is a great piece of kit and everything I expected it to be. Not too firm either, just a nice harness

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: P.J.Harris
Reviewed on: 15 April 2013

Bought one of these whilst doing a personal training course, must say its a great product and really does the job!

Product Rating:
Review for: Foam Roller
Reviewed by: Miss L M Winter
Reviewed on: 15 April 2013