Muscle fatigue is a common side effect of strenuous exercises. Whether you’re a professional athlete or are new to the gym, your muscles will tire after doing repetitive movements over long periods of time. There are several ways to prevent or reduce muscle fatigue; getting a healthy snack before and after a workout is one. Another way is by doing self-massage techniques using foam rollers.
You can use foam roller stretches for pre- or post-workouts to decrease fatigue. You can also use them during recovery days to soothe your aching muscles.
What’s the best vibrating foam roller?
The NextRoller 3-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller is the best vibrating foam roller you can get because of the quality material, the 120-minute battery life, and the various vibrating speed settings. It measures 6 inches by 13 inches and NextRoller added a carry handle to the design which makes it ultra-portable. You only need a wall outlet to charge it.
The Benefits of Vibrating Foam Rollers:
If you’ve yet to get yourself a vibrating foam roller, you are missing out on a lot of benefits. For starters, they enable people of all fitness abilities to perform a self-myofascial release. You can pinpoint trouble areas and use a vibrating foam roller to treat them.
Check out the list below to decide if it’s worth the upgrade.
In the long run, using a foam roller enables you to manage your recovery process. With a little practice, you can prevent injuries from recurring, increase physical mobility and improve your performance. Not to mention, you get to have free massages.
What Do Experts Say?
The benefits of foam rolling are well-known, but because vibration tech in rollers is relatively new, not everyone is aware of the added benefits.
Jordan Metzl, a sports-medicine physician who works at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, believes that it is more effective than your traditional roller. The vibration technology is able to apply more pressure into the sore muscles and activate your tissues. Plus, it’s far easier to operate. With a flip of a switch, you can apply it to a sore spot until you feel relieved.
Mike Riccardi, a doctor of physical therapy at Finish Line PT, believes that vibrating foam rollers can benefit both those who enjoy rolling and those who don’t. The vibrating rollers are a “welcome distraction,” he said. They relieve the sting that often comes with myofascial release. As for foam rolling aficionados, the rollers with vibration technology will be more beneficial to them as they can use it for massages as well.
Our Top Picks
1. NextRoller 3-Speed Vibrating Roller
2. Vulken 4-Speed Vibrating Roller
3. Hyperice Vyper 2.0 Vibrating Fitness Roller
4. Zyllion Vibrating Roller
5. Epitomie Fitness VIBRA 5-Speed Vibrating Roller
6. TriggerPoint GRID Vibe Plus Vibrating Foam Roller
7. LifePro "Surger" Vibrating Roller
Foam rollers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it’s easy to be overwhelmed. To help you get started, check out five of the best rollers today and how each of these tools can help you recover and take your performance to the next level.
1. NextRoller 3-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller
The Best Vibrating Foam Roller
Professional athletes use the Nextroller vibrating foam roller to recover from strenuous exercises and to improve their performance. But you don’t need to be intimidated by such a tool as it’s built to accommodate all fitness abilities. You can switch between three vibration speeds (low, medium and high). With its dynamic texture, you can achieve effortless muscle relaxation in no time.
It’s six inches in diameter and 13 inches in length. It comes with a wall-outlet charging cable, which means you can charge the device anywhere and anytime. With one full charge, you can enjoy two full hours of vibrating massages.
NextRoller made this tool with high-quality materials, and they offer it with a no-questions-asked one-year warranty.
2. Vulken 4-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller
Best Extra Long Vibrating Foam Roller
Vulken’s vibrating massage roller comes with four speed settings. It has low, medium, high and auto pulsating levels. With its powerful motor, it is able to deliver high-intensity vibration, enabling the tool to apply deeper pressure into soft tissue. You can roll out tight sore muscles and achieve better relief than with a basic foam roller.
It is a large 17-inch roller that can be used on your legs and your back. However, it’s still ultra-light and portable. Best of all, it’s made from eco-friendly air infused plastic shell transfers that ensure maximum vibration. It has rechargeable batteries that give two hours of run time per charge. It also comes with a one-year warranty.
3. Hyperice Vyper 2.0 Vibrating Fitness Roller
Best High End Vibrating Foam Roller
Vyper 2.0 is marketed as the world’s most powerful fitness roller. It has three vibration frequency levels that ensure you get the optimal amount of pressure and vibration. Compared to its predecessor, it’s a bit smoother. Its exterior is a blend of smooth and grooved surfaces made from polypropylene. When paired together with its vibration technology, this fitness roller improves muscle recovery and does it two times better than traditional rollers.
The Hyperice Vyper 2.0 improves blood circulation, making it ideal for pre-workout warmup exercises. It also reduces muscle soreness, stiffness, and pain associated with a myofascial release. With Vyper 2.0, you can significantly improve your performance and prevent potential injuries. Thus, it’s easily one of the best vibrating massagers in the market today.
4. Zyllion Vibrating Foam Roller
Best Cheap Vibrating Foam Roller
The Zyllion vibrating foam offers a true massage therapy experience. It comes with three pressure zones that mimic the hands of a massage therapist. Wide ridges simulate palm pressure massage. Medium ridges mimic moderate finger pressure, while narrower rides offer a more intense massage experience, making it an ideal electric foam roller for self-massages.
Itis made from durable materials that can withstand rough workout routines. It also comes with a sturdy travel bag to make your trip to the gym far more convenient. It comes with a one-year warranty. If something were to happen to your device within that period, Zyllion can send you a replacement model at no additional cost.
5. Epitomie Fitness VIBRA 5-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller
Epitomie dubs its VIBRA product as a "next-generation electric foam roller". It has five speed vibration setting—900 to 3600 RPM, plus a “rhythm mode”—exceeding the usual three or four settings offered by other products in the market. This roller’s vibrating or pulsating motion allows your tired muscles to recover faster by enhancing blood and oxygen flow and by reducing lactic acid buildup after intense exercise. VIBRA also features a honeycomb grid surface that's perfect for trigger point therapy.
The pre-charged roller, which comes with a USB cable, lasts more than four hours. It also has an LED control panel that tells you how much power the roller still has and when it's time to charge it. It comes with a carrying case, plus online access to Epitomie's "Full-Body" training program.
6. TriggerPoint GRID Vibe Plus 4-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller
TriggerPoint GRID Vibe Plus has a patented, multi-density GRID surface made of EVA foam. It has low and flat areas that can resemble the palm of a human hand, tubular areas that feel like human fingers, and high and firm knobs that exert pressure on your muscles as fingertips would. This variety of surfaces helps relieve tightness and muscle pain, helping with your performance improvement or post-workout recovery.
The 2.5-pound vibrating foam roller, which comes with an AC charger, has four speed options—an upgrade from its predecessor, the three-speed GRID Vibe. You can select from two of the lower settings for less intense vibration or from two of the higher settings for greater myofascial release and increased blood flow. Its narrow 3.5-inch diameter provides relief for specific, smaller surfaces on your body's lateral side and back, your thoracic spine, your IT band, and your quadriceps.
7. LifePro "Surger" 4-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller
Powered by a 10,400 milliampere-hour battery, the LifePro "Surger" vibrating foam roller has four intensity levels, ranging from 28 to 38 hertz. You can also control the duration of your massage through a built-in timer that can be set to 60, 90, and 120 seconds. The roller can operate for more than two hours when fully charged.
Its surface has two kinds of ridges: tubular ridges or long strip-like protrusions. The latter offers broad fingerlike action and high firm hexagonal nodules that feel like fingertips when they're pressed against your body. The Lifepro Surger foam roller is highly recommended for preparing your muscles for (as well as improving their recovery after) running, other cardiovascular exercises, CrossFit, weightlifting, yoga, and jiu-jitsu. Apart from a free drawstring bag, you’ll also get online access to training videos from professional coaches when you purchase a Surger.
What Is a Foam Roller?
A foam roller is a cylindrical exercise tool that can be incorporated into various workout routines and provides several benefits. A foam roller reduces muscle exhaustion and post-exercise soreness, research shows. When you use it after a workout, you may be able to relieve pain associated with myofascial release.
On the other hand, foam rollers aren’t only beneficial for post-exercise routines. You can use them before your workout, and it will improve your mobility and flexibility. As mentioned, you can also use rollers during recovery days to soothe your muscles. You can use them on any major muscle group, including quadriceps, calves, and upper back. However, you shouldn’t use them on more sensitive parts of the body such as your neck and abdomen.
Foam rollers are usually long and cylindrical, but they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and textures. They have unique benefits and uses. For instance, a larger roller offers more versatility. Thus, you can use it for a variety of exercises. You can use it to target larger body areas such as your upper back. Firm rollers are great if you want to apply more pressure on parts that are usually tense.
However, if you are new to foam rolling, it’s always best to get soft rollers. You can prevent potential injuries while you’re still trying to figure out how to use them. At the same time, a softer roller will give your body the chance to get used to this new tool.
Foam Roller vs. Vibrating Foam Roller:
Foam rollers aren’t anything new, but these traditional workout tools have gotten a makeover in recent years. Now, you can get a powerful upgrade, one that vibrates. Physical therapists and the world of sports have always been fascinated with the effects of vibration technology. Today, such technologies are on the rise. Companies have been producing more vibration tools to aid in workout recovery, including the vibrating foam roller.
A study published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation suggests:
"The vibration prevents pain signals from the muscles that are often associated with a myofascial release."
Other studies also show that vibration relieves muscle soreness in the days following the workout. For such reasons, more professional athletes are using small-scale vibration therapy to hit sore spots, reduce pain, and soothe tense muscles.
Ultrarunner Ian Sharman is one professional athlete who has incorporated vibrated foam rollers into his training regimen. For over a decade, he used traditional rollers to fight muscle tension and to soothe sore spots. But in the past few years, he’s been using this next-generation roller. In his interview with Outside, he likened the power of vibrating foam rollers to a jackhammer breaking up asphalt. According to him, these rollers can breakdown tight muscular tissues, greatly increasing recovery speed.
The kind of material that a foam roller is made of affects product density and firmness. The denser a roller is, the firmer it would feel when pressed against your body. The softer materials are recommended for new foam roller users. You can progress to denser rollers once your body gets accustomed to them. Here are the materials commonly used for today's foam rollers, listed according to the level of firmness:
- Polyethylene (PE)
PE is the cheapest and the least durable of the three types of materials. PE products, called "standard" foam rollers, easily become softer over time. One-piece PE rollers (also referred to as "expanded polyethylene foam" or EPE) last longer and don't get as easily distorted, compared to two-piece alternatives, which have an inner section that can be separated from the outer roller.
- Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)
Rollers made of EVA are also considered "standard" rollers, but they last longer and firmer than PE products. EVA possesses the highest tensile strength among the three materials. Though EVA rollers are not as firm as those made of EPPs, they are heavy-duty enough to survive frequent use. They also tend to cost more than EPP products.
- Expanded polypropylene (EPP)
High-quality EPP foam beads are used for EPP rollers, making them more resilient than PE options. These types of rollers are also usually more expensive than PE and EPE foams. Meanwhile, EPP rollers are firmer than EVA products.
High-density foam roller surfaces fall under two basic types:
Foam rollers with a smooth and even surface are recommended for beginners and the elderly. The even pressure that they exert on your body feels like a gentle massage.
These rollers have wave-like ridges or bumpy knobs on their surface. These ridges and knobs act like fingers doing deep tissue massage, targeting your "muscle knots" (muscle tissues that get tight and feel sore due to overuse or repetitive stress). They are recommended for intermediate to advanced users.
The size of your foam roller you should get depends on which areas of the body you plan to use it on. Short rollers (4 to 12 inches long), are very portable, making them best for travel. They are also ideal for rolling over small specific areas at a time. Meanwhile, longer (18 to 24-inch) rollers are good to use on your arms, back, hamstrings, calves, and quads. If you want rollers that you can use for the whole length of your body, go for 36-inch models.
Intensity or Speed
Choose a vibrating foam roller that will give you several options when it comes to speed or intensity. The more intense the vibration, the better the massage. The vibrations help improve the blood flow around your muscles, loosening them up.
Use the lowest speed for two to three sessions if you're using the roller for the first time. Gradually increase the speed once your muscles are more used to the sensation. Take time on each muscle (about two to three minutes), so the pressure can reach deep into your muscle tissues.
Battery Life and Charging
Rollers are normally used for 10 to 15 minutes per session only. Pick a vibrating foam roller that lasts for two to four hours on a rechargeable batter if you'll use it more than thrice a week or if several members of your family will use it in a week. Vibrating foam rollers can run for an average of three hours when fully charged. Charging built in rechargeable battery may take one and a half to two hours.
Foam rolling, in general, has shown to improve mobility and flexibility. It’s also known to boost recovery. But with vibration technology in the equation, you can spend less time and effort on sensitive areas and still get better results. If you’re serious about relieving pain and improving your performance, then a vibrating foam roller is a must have.