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What is the best foam roller for me?
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What is the best foam roller for me?

What is the best foam roller for me?

Want to loosen up a bit, but don't know which foam roller is the right one for you? Don't worry, we've got the answers for you here! We're going to dive into the world of Xpeed Foam rollers thanks to a question via the Xpeed Survey from Rachel Henderson of Adelaide,

What's the difference between the Xpeed foam roller with dimples and the colourful ones?

In this blog we'll explore which option works best for your fitness goals ― whether it's a firm roller or massage ball. We'll help break down what types work best depending on your particular needs — let’s get started! 

What is foam rolling used for?

Firstly, it always helps to understand what foam rollers are actually used for. Foam rollers and massage balls are self-myofascial release (SMR) tools used to release muscle tension and increase the mobility of your muscles, fascia, and other connective tissue surrounding a joint. There are a few different ways to utilise foam rollers. Generally speaking, it feels good to roll about on your muscles quickly but it’s important to understand that releasing fascia takes time. For successful foam rolling, your movements will need to be slow and deliberate. 

To simplify the thought process around foam rolling let's break it down into; Pre-Roll and Post-Roll. This means that foam rollers and massage balls are great tools for getting you ready for exercise (pre-roll) and recovering from exercise (post-roll). 


Foam Roller exercises in the guide


What happens when you foam roll?

The act of foam rolling on a muscle stimulates the nervous system to relax tension in the surrounding tissues and also increases blood flow. This aids the delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to muscles, which can improve the effectiveness of a warmup routine and enhance recovery and removal of metabolic waste products accumulated in muscles after exercise.

To summarise - Using foam rollers for pre-roll and post activities can help;

Increase range of motion

Unrestricted range of motion is key to getting the most out of your workouts and everyday life. Exercising through a full range encourages greater muscle fiber recruitment, enhancing performance and helping you achieve body composition goals. Additionally, flexibility can prevent postural issues or joint pain that limited movement may cause. Unlocking improved mobility will help lead to optimal physical functioning!

Increase circulation

Foam rolling is a great way to relieve muscle tightness, but it goes much further in protecting your cardiovascular health. Healthy arteries are essential for maintaining blood flow throughout the body and reducing your risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and more as you age. Studies show that foam rolling can help slow down the hardening process associated with arterial stiffness by increasing circulation to difficult-to-reach areas that may be restricted due to tension or poor postural habits. Take control of your future wellbeing today – roll out those muscles!

Warm up muscles (reduce risk of injury)

Protect yourself and your progress in the gym with foam rolling. When tight muscles make you more vulnerable to strains, tears, or other injuries while exercising or performing daily activities, mobilising techniques like foam rolling can provide the extra support needed for prevention and management - especially of commonly affected areas such as hamstrings, quads and calves.

Reduce muscle soreness post workout

Foam rolling has quickly become one of the most effective ways to experience relief from muscle pain, tightness and stiffness. Its power lies in its ability to compress tender trigger points which helps loosen up muscles; a recent study revealed that with just three days use of this exercise tool you can feel noticeable reductions.

Increase relaxation

Foam rolling isn't just about loosening your muscles, it's also the perfect way to elevate your mood and release those feel-good hormones. Just like meditation, a foam roller workout lets you be present with yourself in the moment as you concentrate on targeting the right muscles! By rolling out those knots of tension from your muscles, you can take advantage of the natural boost in serotonin to experience a deeper sense of joy and relaxation.


    Difference between Xpeed EPP Foam Rollers and Xpeed Standard Rollers?

    Simply put, the difference between EPP and EVA foam rolling products is the density and durability of the foam, which both have an impact on the end user. 

    Chart explaining the differences of an Xpeed Foam Roller

    EVA rollers are lightweight and shock absorbent. EVA’s durable nature makes it a great base material for foam rollers. However, over time it has a lower threshold when it comes to recovering its shape from long term use. EVA rollers are good for the beginner as they ‘go easy’ on the muscles by providing a lighter pressure/ massage.

    EPP foam products are made by fusing EPP beads under high heat, they are then moulded into the desired density and shape based on the amount of beads used. They are becoming more common amongst intermediate and experienced users as they offer a firmer self massage when medium to high pressure is applied. This style of roller has a high threshold to keeping it’s shape which also makes it an economical purchase for the user. 

    Another leading feature making EPP foam more desirable is that due to its nature an EPP product can be broken down and fully recycled at the end of its life cycle.

    Are you a beginner?

    If you're a beginner then leaning towards an EVA Foam Roller or Medium Denisty Foam Roller is your best bet. This will be an easier introduction into the world of foam rolling. Once you've got the basics down, you'll then be able to get move onto a higher density roller or tool such as a massage ball. 

    Have you dabbled in foam rolling and want to make it an every day thing?

    If this is you then the medium and high densisty rollers are the right product to choose. This type of roller or massage ball will be able to handle the repeated everyday use and will also help you get the results you're looking for.

    Need to get those hard to reach places?

    Got that tight pec or the upper back feeling a little out of whack? Time to meet the massage balls and mini rollers.  These tools help you get into the hard to reach places and work well on the floor or against the wall. They can also be used for foam rolling larger muscles but this is for the advanced user as their smaller surface areas mean a higher stress on the muscles and fascia. 

    Ultimately, the denser a foam roller, the harder it will be on the body. This also means there will be more positive effects on muscle tissue and overall body condition. However, this doesn’t mean someone should just go for the highest density to get the benefits of SMR. It correlates to their rolling experience, the more advanced a roller is, the more they’ll want to consider a denser product.

    Thanks again to Rachel for a great question around foam rollers. Don't forget to fill out the Xpeed Survey. You also go in the draw for a monthly $50 Xpeed Gift Voucher.  

     Written by Xpeed Brand ManagerSimon MitchellSimon has a Bachelor of Human Movement, is a certified FMS trainer and has worked in the fitness industry since 2003. Simon started his fitness journey as a trainer with iNform Health and Fitness before moving into commercial radio and then back into fitness with Bodyism in the United Kingdom and Australia. A career highlight was being one of Daisy Ridley's personal trainers on Star Wars IX - The Rise Of Skywalker.

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