So you have read some reviews and have decided that you need to find the best myofascial release roller. As usual, we have an opinion! If you want to cut straight to our top recommendations, the chart below compares the most popular myofascial release rollers available. Below the chart we discuss some of the factors around foam rolling for reduced pain and more flexibility.
Best Myofascial Release Rollers (Amazon Top Sellers)
What is Myofascial Release and Why Should You Care
Myofascial release therapy is actually a very specific type of physical therapy, but in general terms, we can use rollers at home to achieve similar outcomes.
In simple terms, your body contains thin elastic tissues that wrap around your muscles. These tough connective tissues are called fascia. Fascia supports and protects your muscles and other associated body parts. Due to injury, or misuse, the fascia can become tight and restricted in movement. Myofascial release rolling aims to stretch, move, and generally free up your fascia.
Sometimes fascia can stick to the tissue below it and this causes you both pain and limits your movement. Not a good thing! There are plenty of professional physical therapists that specialise in myofascial release, but a huge number of people (both athletes and ordinary folk) have discovered that they can achieve very good results at home using a roller – it is a cheap and effective solution.
What The Best Myofascial Release Rollers Do
There are two distinctly different types of release rollers that essentially do the same thing – foam rollers and roller sticks. Both types work to free up your fascia and release tension and knots in your muscles. We will discuss each type and explain the advantages either type may have for you.
This is the most well known type and is what most people think of if you mention using a roller to help with sore muscles. A foam roller is a simple cylinder made of, you guessed it, foam. They are typically 12 inches long and 6 inches in diameter, although there are longer versions that can be useful for back rolling. The major differences in construction are how dense (hard or soft) the foam is, and whether or not they have an outer shell, or texture. Link to typical examples on Amazon.
- Uses body weight to achieve the release
- Simple construction that will last for ages
- Can be difficult to use if you are larger, or unfit
Roller sticks achieve the same results as foam rollers but do so in a slightly different way. Instead of you moving your body over the roller to achieve the release, a roller stick has handles at both ends which you hold and then push the roller over the target area. Some people find foam rollers challenging to use because moving your body over the roller can be difficult. Roller sticks avoid this and allow a partner to help. Link to typical examples on Amazon.
- Is easier for working on areas such as the top of your legs
- Is easier for a partner, or friend to use on you
- You can’t easily use a roller stick on your arms (by yourself)
How Do You Use A Myofascial Release Roller?
Very easily actually – you either target areas of your body that are tight / sore and move the roller over them, or, start rolling over an area and then concentrate on the points that are painful.
There are two main types of release actions that you can do. The first is to roll over an area both along the muscle and across it. Your aim here is to move the fascia to shift any adhesions and to make it more flexible. The second way is to find a tender spot (sometimes called a trigger point), then keep the pressure directly on that point for a decent amount of time. Your aim is to release the knot or adhesion. You will be very surprised at how many of these trigger points you have if you are new to rolling, and in this case, a little discomfort is definitely worth it.
The best myofascial release roller is probably the one you have! Further up this post we have created a comparison chart that gives our top picks, and it is an excellent guide to making a good purchase decision, but the key thing is that these products actually work, and almost all of them will do the job. Whether you choose a foam roller, or a roller stick, may largely come down to whether you have someone who can help you roll. In fact, many people have both as they are relatively inexpensive. Happy releasing!