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Feeling Tight? These Muscle Rollers Are The Key To An Easy & Effective At-Home Massage

Bustle / Amazon

Muscle recovery, post-workout soreness, general stress and tension — a muscle roller stick is versatile enough to help with all of the aforementioned issues. But the very best muscle roller stick for you will depend on how intense of a massage you're looking for, and the biggest factor in intensity is going to be texture.

Not to be confused with foam rollers, muscle roller sticks feature a handle on either end and several individually rolling nodes, so you can manually work out the muscles on your legs, arms, back, neck, and more. Muscle roller sticks range from extra-smooth to extra-textured, and as you can probably imagine, the denser and more contoured the nodules, the deeper the massage. Especially if you're not used to it, these intense textures may hurt at first, so beginners might want to start with smoother textures — while experienced rollers could potentially jump straight to the more intense models. Whichever intensity you choose, your roller should be made from durable, resilient materials like ABS plastic and stainless steel. That way, you can apply the appropriate amount of pressure without having to worry about the roller breaking.

Another thing to consider is length. Most options are somewhere between 17 and 20 inches, and you'll want a stick long enough to suit your body yet short enough for ease of storage and portability. Also take into account which body part or parts you'll primarily be using it on.

From beginner to expert, here are the four best muscle roller sticks for each preferred intensity level from the most gentle to the most intense.

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1
The Best Gentle Muscle Roller Stick

This muscle stick is designed for beginners with seven smooth ABS plastic rollers. Still, don't be fooled — since they roll individually and are situated on a smaller center steel rod, they adjust to your body's contours to boost circulation and lightly stretch muscles. It has over 1,000 five-star ratings because the ergonomic handles are easy to grip, the steel core is extremely durable, and the smooth surface is suitable for just about any area.

  • Length: 18 inches

One reviewer wrote: "My son just started running track and has had lots of leg cramps. This has helped tremendously and is small enough that he can take it with him."

2
The Best Option For A Moderate Massage

With nearly 5,000 reviews, a 4.5-star overall rating, and a best-selling status, it's hard to ignore the IDSON muscle roller stick. Its nine independent ABS rollers are slightly raised and just a bit textured to offer a moderate massage anywhere on the body, while its convex handles ensure a sturdy grip. At $10, it's also the most affordable option on this list — and the extra-slim design makes it portable for a longer gym bag as well.

  • Length: 17.5 inches

One reviewer wrote: "I use this for my legs after leg day, sports, and running. It feels nice and sturdy and the roller parts are textured. It helps a lot with loosening up my leg muscles and I've very much enjoyed using this product."

3
For Intense Restoration & Circulation

This one definitely isn't for the total beginner — but if you're looking for a highly textured roller stick that reaches deep into muscles, the Ameri massage stick is the way to go. It has 10 reinforced ABS rollers, each in a gear-shaped design that delivers a deep tissue massage. It also has a stainless steel axle core for durability, dual convex handles with anti-slip rubber grips, and a strap for hanging in the house or in your gym locker.

  • Length: 17 inches

One reviewer wrote: "My PTA suggested that I get a roller to assist her in loosening up some of my muscles. Rolling over my legs can be painful, but this is one situation where the saying, 'No pain, no gain' is absolutely true! I highly recommend this roller!"

4
An Intense Pressure Point Stick

Finally, there's the Gaiam Restore massage stick which has three spherical, spiky rollers made of hard plastic that deliver intense relief to a targeted area. The nodules stimulate pressure points, boost circulation, and reach deep into muscles to help address soreness. As a result, it's the best option for those who have worked with rollers for a while and are looking for an intense, targeted massage. The elongated handles and long 18-inch design also make it easier to reach your back on your own.

  • Length: 18 inches

One reviewer wrote: "As a runner, I have all kinds of massage tools: from foam rollers to sticks to balls. This acts differently than anything else I have tried, though. It seems to really get into the muscle fibers, not just rolling away knots. It is incredible! I would hate to live without one now."