Types of Foam Rollers
There are many different types of foam rollers, each offering different unique features and benefits for particular muscle massage and exercise uses. However, no matter what foam roller you decide to go with, you will experience the amazing benefits of foam rolling regardless of which one you choose. The important thing is to just start foam rolling.
Foam Roller Types
- Traditional Foam Roller
- Massage Roller (knobbed, rumble roller, etc)
- The Grid Foam Roller
- Trigger Point Foam Roller
- Travel Foam Roller
- Grid Style with Knobs (Grid/Massage combined)
- High Density Foam Roller
- Half Foam Roller
Traditional Foam Roller (flat surface, all foam)
There’s nothing fancy about theses foam rollers. These foam rollers are constructed of solid round piece of foam and don’t have any type of design or grids on the surface. These types of foam rollers are good for beginners and general foam rolling.
The massage foam rollers (also called rumble foam roller, knobbed rollers, etc) have either bumps or knobs sticking out of the foam roller. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and may not necessarily be a foam roller. The massage foam rollers are good for deep tissue massage, as the knobs pushes against your muscles and myofascial trigger points due to the smaller surface area. The result is a deeper massage from these massage foam rollers.
We typically don’t recommend the massage rollers as your only roller, or your first foam roller. Instead, the massage rollers are great second foam roller, used for deeper tissue work. If you are new, we recommend getting a grid foam roller or grid foam roller with knobs as your daily foam roller, and getting a massage foam roller as your second or third foam roller.
Using the massage foam rollers can be more painful (like a deep tissue massage), and can really give you amazing results. We absolutely love these rollers because they are able to do deeper tissue massage than many of the other foam rollers. Though these types of foam rollers are usually a good second foam roller, some do enjoy it as a daily foam roller as well. It just all depends on your personal preference.
The grid Foam Roller
The grid style foam rollers are very a popular choice for general foam rolling. These type of foam roller have a grid design that allows for a great foam rolling experience. These foam rollers are hollow in construction and offer a slightly firmer surface to target your sore muscles and trigger points throughout your body.
For releasing myofascial trigger points, the grid style foam rollers are usually better than flat foam rollers, but less intense as the knobbed foam rollers. These types of foam rollers are popular with many people, with a variety of different experience levels with foam rolling.
Trigger Point Foam Roller
A Trigger point foam roller can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The grid foam roller actually falls into this category, as does the massage rollers. Basically the trigger point foam roller is any foam roller that is better suited for targeting myofascial trigger points in your muscles, better than other traditional foam rollers.
Trigger point foam rollers include foam roller such as:
- Massage rollers (foam rollers with knobs, rumble rollers, etc)
- The grid foam rollers (including travel grid foam rollers)
- High density foam rollers
Travel foam roller
These types of foam rollers are essentially the grid foam roller in a smaller form factor. The Travel Foam Roller is great for traveling, but it is also good for targeting hard-to-reach muscles.
For example, some people who use the computer a lot get myofascial trigger points on their trapezius muscles between their shoulder and neck. These muscles can be targeted with a massage ball, but they are more difficult target with the full size foam roller.
The mini foam roller can actually be placed against the wall to roll the top of your trapezius muscles, along with other parts of your body. And of course, it can be used like a regular foam roller on the ground for when you need a portable foam roller. If you want a very small foam roller to carry with you anywhere you go, this is the foam roller to get.
The grid foam roller with knobs
These types of foam roller take the best of the knobbed foam roller and mix it with the general foam rolling nature of the grid foam roller. A third of these foam rollers are the grid style and the other half is the knob style.
However, the knobs on this roller are slightly softer and smaller so it is not as intense as the knobbed foam roller on your muscles. These foam rollers are a good midway between getting a grid foam roller and a knobbed foam roller. These types of foam rollers are great for beginner, intermediate and advanced foam rolling
High density foam roller
These types of foam rollers are very firm. If you want a very firm foam rolling experience, this is the foam roller to get. Some people like the high density foam rollers because the firmness of these rollers allow you to get a deeper massage on your fascia, muscles and myofascial trigger points. We recommend these types of foam rollers to more advanced users, or for a second foam roller.
Half foam roller
These types of foam rollers are essentially a flat traditional foam roller that is cut in half. These types of foam rollers aren’t used as much for muscular massage and myofascial trigger points like the other rollers are. Instead the half foam rollers are used more as a platform for foam roller exercises and foam roller stretches.