If you’re training hard and with consistency, you’re guaranteed to be feeling some aches and pains. Tight muscles and even tighter knots can hinder your performance. You might even come away feeling that you wasted your BJJ class.
This is why foam rollers have become a common staple in any serious trainees gear bag. Foam rolling can help release muscle tightness and ease out trigger points. They do this by applying pressure to your sore muscles and trigger points. Said pressure eases them back to their normal, elastic state. You will notice increased flexibility as well as a bonus.
You might feel a little bit of pain but this is completely normal. As long as you’re doing it the correct way, of course. After a good foam rolling session, your body will feel rejuvenated and ready to perform out on the mats.
Companies have flooded the market with foam rollers to supply this demand. So many rollers in a variety of shapes and sizes. But which one do you choose? Which is the best for BJJ?
We have you covered with what feel are the top 5 foam rollers on the market.
The Best Foam Rollers 2018
The following rollers are in no particular order. Any of them would be a welcome addition to your bag.
Master of Muscle - Muscle Mauler Foam Roller
With dual pressure zones, a solid core and a better-that-lifetime guarantee, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better roller. If for some crazy reason you have a problem with your roller, Master of Muscle will both refund you and send you a new roller.
That is insane. You can’t lose.
It is a very durable and will not warp or lose it’s shape no matter how much it’s used. It remains in place, allowing you to apply pressure without it rolling out of position.
It’s a shame that Master of Muscle doesn’t make a second, larger option so you can target more muscle groups at the same time. But nonetheless, you can still target any muscle group that you would like.
LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller
LuxFit have chosen to go with an accessible and versatile plain black look for this roller. There are a lot of colourful, almost girly looking rollers out there. This is a good choice for the guys who prefer the plain aesthetic.
It comes in 3 sizes but the medium (6in-by-18in) is the optimal option. It’s the perfect length to iron out your entire body, without neglecting any crucial muscles. You also shouldn’t have any trouble fitting this into your gear bag either.
LuxFit do produce a larger model too but unless you’re a big, tall guy, it’ll be overkill.
They make all 3 models out of the same extra-firm, high density foam. So it will remain durable after heavy use without losing shape or leaving a trail of flaked foam on the mat.
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
If you’ve never used a foam roller before, then this will be perfect for you. It comes complete with a selection of free online videos, instructions, etc. As well as being a stellar roller by itself.
It features a hollow core, multi-density exterior and can support weights up of up to 500lbs. You super-heavyweights out there are in luck.
The textured exterior is perfect for getting deep into the tissue and ironing out those knots. If you must have a more aesthetically-pleasing roller then this is your go-to. It comes in 5 different colours to choose from; camouflage, orange, black, lime and pink. There’s a colour and style for everyone.
This roller is also not as firm as the LuxFit model, making it ideal for pre-training use. As a warm-up tool rather than a deep massager.
Rumble Roller Deep-Tissue Massager
This incredible roller comes in two size options; short (6inch-by-13inch) and long (6inch-by-24inch). As well as two colour options in both sizes; Black and Blue
The shorter model is perfect for chucking in your gym bag and using it pre or post training. The larger size is still a great choice, but it’s unlikely that it’d be leaving your home due to its size.
Shorter rollers are perfect for their manoeuvrability and are far more capable of getting into hard-to-reach spots.
The Rumble Roller is another textured model but features deeper ridges/higher spikes than the TriggerPoint roller. The more pronounced the nodules, the deeper knots that they can hit and undo.
Coupled with the short size, this is a perfect precision roller. If you have a certain, hidden spot that always feels tight or uncomfortable, then this would be the roller you should choose.
321 Strong Foam Roller
321 Strong have melded style and substance together with this product. Complete with carry case and sample workout ebook, this roller is 5inches by 13inches making it an ideal size. You can use it on smaller muscles like your neck as well as you can with your hamstrings and glutes.
It features two unique surface designs so you’re essentially getting two foam rollers in one. One side has deep ridges whilst the other side has wider, more shallow grooves. Whether you need a gentle massage or a deep-tissue release, King Athletic have you covered.
The one-size model is available in both black and orange, whilst both options come with a black carry case.
Why You Should Buy a Foam Roller
Don’t let the simple appearance of this device fool you, foam rollers can be a mix of some of the most pleasurable stretching experiences you’ll ever feel and absolute torture. Foam rollers are extremely effective to give you that post-workout stretch, which will help with muscle definition and most importantly recovery. The best thing about foam rollers is their affordability and versatility. You can use them in the gym, or even the comfort of your own home.
A foam roller is one of the most effective ways you can relieve sorry muscles caused by over exertion. You can even use a foam roller as a warm up, which will also help with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
There are so many advantages to getting a foam roller and adding it to your daily workout schedule, these include
Affordability – A decent foam roller can be picked up for around $20, which is super cheap for a piece of life-changing equipment. At this price you can afford to look at different size and texture options
Effectiveness – Need to target hard-to-reach areas of the body such as the groin of the middle of the back, the foam roller is the perfect option. Rocking back and forth will open up the muscles and help with recovery.
Versatility – You can use foam rollers for body weight exercises too! They’re easy to pack up and take travelling so you can use them either at home or at gym
How to Choose the Right Foam Roller
Picking the right foam roller is all about size, density and type, that suits you and the job in hand.
Picking the right size is all about areas of the body you’re going to roll and also room you have to roll. Most foam rollers come in a standard range of 30cm, but you can also get ones which go all the way up to 90cm, perfect for getting rolls all across your body.
Finding the right density for your foam roller is keep to getting the best out of it. A foam roller that’s too soft isn’t going to penetrate deep enough to work the muscles well enough, while, one too dense is just going to hurt. Most people start off with a medium density foam roller, which will give plenty of release without being too painful.
There are numerous types of foam rollers, from simple foam cylinders, grid shaped rollers which vibrating options. The more complicated a foam roller is, the most expensive it will end up being, so if you’re after a more simple workout, we would go with the simple foam cylinder. We will discuss different types of foam rollers later on.
Different Types of Foam Roller
Low Density Foam Rollers
These are the easiest types of foam rollers. Perfect for beginners they give just enough tension to relieve muscle soreness after a workout. However, these are no good for someone who works out regularly, as they are just too soft.
Firm Foam Rollers
A personal favourite of mine. Firm cylindrical foam rollers are perfect for undoing those tight muscle knots. The flat surface causes enough traction to get the blood flow to worn out muscles helping them quickly recover for the net session.
PVC Core Foam Rollers
Over time and with regular use, people found that foam rollers would loose their firmness due to the air bubbles in foam compressing. To solve this, they made the internal core of a foam roller a PVC pipe. The structure of the pip also meant that the foam roller was nice a firm, which was perfect for getting deep tissue massage.
Rumble rollers are foam rollers which have a spiky appearance. When the person uses the foam roller the foam spikes penetrate deep into the tissue giving an extremely satisfying foam rolling session. The rumble roller is better suited for athletes and seasoned rollers as this can be quite painful for beginners, but use it properly you’ll be up and working again in an instant.
4 Essential Foam Roll Exercises
While foam rolling is essential for anyone who does physical fitness, it can also be dangerous if not done correctly. Here we will look at 7 exercises you can do on a foam roller at home to get instant release.
Sit in the floor with the foam roller on the back on your ankles, while supporting your weight with your hands behind you. Push forward on the hands to rock forward on the foam roller, up to the back of the knees. Rock back and forth along the calf area to release tension in the Achilles tendon and loosen up the ankles.
With one leg on the foam roller, cross the other over the top. Support yourself with your hands behind you and roll across the lower thigh to hit the hamstrings. Foam rolling your hamstrings can help open up your things, pelvis and lower back. After long days sitting in office chairs, your body will thank you for looser hamstrings.
Lie face down on the floor with the foam roller positioned just above your knees. Support yourself on your hands and roll up to your lower hip. For a deep roll focus your weight onto one leg at a time. Your quads are some of your most worked muscles and foam rolling your quads can also help with knee flexibility, which is ideal for grapplers.
The easiest and more important place you can foam roll. Lie down on your back with your foam roller resting under your shoulder blades. Using your feet rock back until you reach your lower back and then roll back and forth for a satisfying roll. This is perfect for grapplers with back stiffness and important to keep your back as injury free as possible.
You can choose any of the mentioned foam rollers and you will be happy and satisfied. Each listed roller is ideal for myofascial relief and easing tension deep in your muscles.
If you have back pain, a stiff neck or any other number of muscular issues, a foam roller can be a life-saver.
BJJ requires your absolute peak performance at all times if you hope to excel at it. Tight ligaments and limited flexibility are going to hinder your progress and limit your potential.
Get a foam roller and get rolling!