Are you enjoying the wonderful mind and body benefits of running but would rather do without the aches and pains that tend to follow your run? Since I’ve started running, I’ve found that dynamic stretching and massages really go a long way in helping me avoid undue stress to my muscles and joints.
Like many runners, I use a foam roller. It’s an awesome tool for self-myofascial release. It loosens up fascia around my muscles, increases their flexibility and improves circulation in the areas worked most while I’m running.
All foam rollers, however, won’t give you the same results. So which are the best foam rollers for runners? Here’s my pick of the top 5 with a look at what you can expect from each one. Also, check out my favorite foam roller exercises.
The GRID is a favorite of runners and non-runners alike – and with good reason. It’s made of high-quality, durable material. It can withstand up to 500 pounds and is noted for not cracking or losing its shape even with repeated use.
At 13 inches long and 5.5 inches wide it is just the right size for rolling calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. Plus, you can easily carry it with you to roll out those muscles just before or after your run.
The GRID’s uniquely textured surface is designed with proprietary Distrodensity zones. According to the manufacturers, this multi-density exterior works on fascia and muscle tissue in much the same way a massage therapist’s fingers would. The roller comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and customers get access to the company’s online library of free instructional videos.
This roller is more suited to the seasoned runner or a new runner who has been foam rolling for a while. It comes in two firmness options, original and extra firm. I’d recommend the original option for runners new to rolling. The extra firm is great and will really get into those knots. But be careful, you can easily overdo it with the extra firm!
The Rumble Roller’s core is made of solid EVA foam, while its water-proof surface cleans easily and has an antimicrobial additive molded into it. It’s designed with some serious looking ridges that are meant to give a deep-tissue massage even to your hamstrings and glutes where the muscles are the thickest. The Rumble Roller also comes with a printed set of instructions.
The Muscle Foam Roller comes with a honeycomb design for releasing adhesions in fascia and muscle tissues. This is a nice option for those who want some texture but not to the same extent as the TriggerPoint GRID or Rumble Roller.
It supports up to 550 pounds and measures 13 inches x 5.5 inches, just the right size for runners to take along with them and use on small muscle groups that need massaging before and after a run.
Epitome Fitness, which manufactures the Muscle Foam Roller, offers a lifetime warranty, 100% money back guarantee. This backs their claim that the roller’s proprietary High Density Fitness Foam will “never lose its shape”. Along with the roller, customers also get free access to an instructional video on how to foam roll.
The Muscle Mauler has a solid core and Dual Pressure Zones. That’s a fancy term that means there are bumpier and smoother parts, so you can choose the intensity of your massage. It’s nice to have options for different body parts or different days!
Sold by Master of Muscle, it will hold up to 330 pounds without being damaged. Customers are given a guarantee of refund AND replacement if anything goes wrong their roller which is one of the best guarantees out there.
Like most rollers that work well for runners, the Muscle Mauler is compact at 13 inches long and 5.5 inches wide. A PDF file with instructions is emailed to you shortly after purchase, so if you are new to foam rolling you can have an idea of some good exercises to try.
The Rolling With It roller is made of durable, high-quality EVA foam and comes in three sizes. Runners will find that the smallest size (13 inches x 6 inches) is the one that best suits their need for portability and convenience to roll out small muscle groups.
The roller is high density with a soft, smooth exterior and is marketed as good for both beginners and advanced foam roller users. It’s a great option if you like smooth and firm and can do without all the bumps and textures of other rollers.
The manufacturer, Rolling With It, says it will stand up to use by “even the heaviest users” without chipping, flaking or losing its shape. They offer their customers a one-year, no questions asked, money back guarantee. The company’s website highlights some great exercises for various areas of your body.
Running can cause repetitive stress on your muscles, tissues and joints. This stress can lead to injury to the areas directly involved in running as well as pain in other sites, such as your upper and lower back. These can leave you sidelined and possibly having to seek medical attention.
By using a foam roller you increase the range of motion of your muscles, making stress, strain and injury less likely. The best foam rollers for runners play an important role in both warm-up and post-workout routines. Any of the five great foam rollers I’ve reviewed for you will help to ensure you prepare your body for the run and then aid muscle recovery afterwards.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com