Types of Muscle Rollers
What are the Different Types of Muscle Rollers?
There are a few different types of muscle rollers, each having its own purpose and benefits. There are basically 3 types of muscle rollers. There are the very popular foam rollers, the muscle roller sticks, and the massage balls. We generally recommend a foam roller for general muscle maintenance and a muscle roller stick or massage ball for more targeted muscle massage.
There are basically 3 Types of Muscle Rollers
- Foam Rollers
- Muscle Roller Sticks
- Massage Balls
Foam Rollers (sometimes just called muscle rollers) are usually about 6 inches in diameter and 1-3 feet long (or longer). These types of muscle rollers use your body weight to roll against the ground in order to massage your muscles. Foam rollers are nice because they can be used to roll out your whole body.
It may get a little more confusing, because there are also many different types of foam rollers. Some rollers are hollow and some are solid foam. Some are flat and some have knobs that stick out. Foam rollers also come in a variety of sizes (eg. travel foam rollers), shapes (half foam roller), colors, densities and textures (eg. trigger point foam rollers).
Muscle Roller Sticks
The Muscle Roller Stick is used for hard to reach places like the calf muscles. Though the foam roller can target these, it may be difficult. The muscle roller stick is great for hard to reach places.
Massage balls are great to target specific trigger points. Where a foam roller and muscle roller stick might target large areas of muscle, the massage balls can target precisely where the trigger points are. Massage balls can be used against a wall to target your back, it can be used for your feet, your neck or any other muscle.
All Muscle Rollers allow you to self-massage your own muscles. The type of muscle roller you get dictates the method of rolling. Typically you will either manually massage by applying pressure or you will use your body weight against the muscle roller to apply pressure.
Different purposes for each muscle roller
Foam Rollers are good for
Foam rollers are great for full body rolling. You roll out nearly every muscle in your body with a foam roller. You can start at the lower body and work your way up, to reach every muscle group.
- Full body rolling
- Pain management (trigger points)
- General muscle and myofascial health
Muscle Roller Sticks are good for
There are some larger muscle groups that are a little more awkward to target with a foam roller. Areas such as your calf muscles, upper glutes, lower back, etc are a little bit more difficult to roll with a foam roller. With a muscle roller stick, you can easily and effortlessly target these areas.
Muscle roller sticks are also great for people that want to get a really deep massage. Though there are high density and trigger point foam rollers, the muscle rollers are constructed out of plastic. So the surface will be much harder than traditional foam rollers. Because of this, you can really dig deep into the muscles to target trigger points and tight muscles.
- Pain management (trigger points)
- Targeted muscle and myofascial health
Massage Balls are good for
Massage balls are really great for places that are hard to reach with muscle roller sticks and foam rollers. Its more difficult to roll out your neck, lower back, wrist and forearms with a foam roller or muscle roller stick. With a massage ball, you can easily roll out any tightness or trigger points in theses areas.
Massage balls are great too because they are extremely portable. You can throw them in your suitcase, work briefcase, or any other bag to tack on the go.
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Portable Pain management (trigger points)
- Very targeted muscle and myofascial health
Which one is right for me?
Depending on your purpose, you may find that one of the muscle rollers is better for your needs. However, many people tend to use all three, but for different purposes.
For example, many people work a day job that requires them to be seated at a desk or computer all day. This can wreck havoc on your muscles and is a reason why many people choose to buy a muscle roller. In this case a massge ball is very convenient to bring to work and massage your neck, forearms, writs, trap muscles, etc (all the main affected trigger points from sitting too long).
Many people also go to the gym after work. In this case, a muscle roller stick and foam roller can be used to massage out the larger muscle groups before and after a workout. This helps relieve muscle tightness, so the muscles are ready to take on a workout. It also helps with muscle recovery after workouts.
Foam and Muscle Rollers for General Muscle Health & Exercise: If you had to choose one, we’d say get a foam roller, because they are the most versatile and you can target the most muscle groups with a foam roller. If you want to get deeper in your calves or other muscle groups, you can also get a muscle roller stick along with the foam roller.
Massage Balls for Repetitive Strain Injury: If you are suffering from pain in your wrist, neck, or forearms from too much computer work (or other work), we’d suggest you get a massage ball. We also suggest the regular spiky massage balls for deeper tissue and trigger point work, and all the other balls for general muscle rolling.