After a hard workout, there’s nothing in the world that feels better than massaging your poor, achy muscles with a foam roller. It speeds up your recovery time, increases your blood flow, and most importantly, feels freegin’ magical. In order to pinpoint the best foam rollers for back and neck muscles, there are quite a few things you should consider.
First, you want to think about how firm you want it to be. Are you someone who likes your back rubs to be light and breezy? Or are you someone who doesn't consider it a “real massage” until you’re contorting your face in pain and screaming out for it to stop? If you prefer a lighter touch, you’ll want a low to medium density material like polyethylene or regular EVA foam. If you’re more of the self-sadist type, you’ll want high-density EPP or thicker EVA foam.
Size is another consideration. The best foam rollers typically range anywhere from about 1 to 3 feet in length. To get a full body back massage, you’ll usually want the 3-foot version (36 inches). However, if it’s something you're going to want to tote to the gym or keep in your car, you may be willing to sacrifice length for portability.
Other considerations include durability (will it lose its shape over time?), weight capacity (most will withstand up to 500 pounds), and whether you want it to bee smooth or textured. Here is a list of the best foam rollers for back muscles, for each type of person.
1A Lightweight Polyethylene Roller For Those Who Prefer Gentle Pressure
Sometimes you want to roll out your muscles out and get a good massage but don't want giant knuckle-like balls of steel digging into your back. This lightweight foam roller is perfect for people who prefer a more gentle massage with slightly lighter pressure on their backs. Made from standard density PE (polyethylene), it features the original foam roller material, resulting in a solid, sturdy tool that's not over the top. Although the extra firm foam — which features 2 pounds of density per cubic foot — is sturdy enough not to bend or lose its shape with repeated use, it's still softer and less rigid. The roller measures 6 inches around and comes in three lengths including 12, 18, and 36 inches, the latter of which is preferred for intense back sessions.
2An Extra-Firm Rumble Roller For People Who Prefer Deep Tissue Massages
If you're that person who's always telling your massage therapist to go harder or a firm believer that deep tissue massages should "hurt good," you'll love this extra-strong rumble roller. Constructed with EVA foam and covered in firm polyurethane trigger points, the textured nodes are stronger than the regular polyethylene versions. The result is increased blood flow and the ability to deeply penetrate every nook and cranny of your muscles, triggering intense myofascial release. "This is as tough of a foam as you can get," said one Amazon user. "It actually will hurt a bit sometimes when you use it (in a good way I guess lol)."
3A Medium-Pressure, 2-In-1 Roller That Comes With A Removable Textured Sleeve
This magical Goldilocks of a foam roller boasts the best of both worlds. With two pressure control options, you can use the inner roller for areas of your back that are particularly sensitive to pressure and put the textured sleeve on for places where you want deep tissue-like penetration. It's lightweight but still strong enough to withstand over 300 pounds, and it features anti-slip material so you won't go flying across the room. Choose from nine colors, including orange, green, black white, blue, and even a military-style camo pattern.
4A Luxurious, Vibrating Foam Roller To Spoil Yourself With After Workouts
Whether you're a hardcore athlete who needs extra muscle work to speed up your recovery times or just a regular person who's deserving AF of a little pampering, this vibrating foam roller is just the ticket. Featuring one-button activation, the full-length, 36-inch roller delivers soothing vibrations while you work to release muscle spasms and get your blood circulating. On top of your back, the foam roller can be used to roll out your legs, arms, calves, hamstrings, IT bands, and other muscle groups that are prone to soreness. The roller comes in your choice of medium density or hard foam, depending on your personal preference.
5A Foam Roller With A Protective Spinal Channel That Was Specifically Designed To Treat Back Pain
Designed to mimic massage therapists, this clever foam roller features a unique "spinal channel" down the middle that eases pressure in the central part of your back. The idea is that, just as real-life therapists typically avoid pushing directly on your spine, your foam roller should do the same. Having the gap allows you to apply firm pressure without risking injury. Although the roller's 17-inch length is smaller than some of its counterparts, the design is intentionally portable so it can fit in your gym bag.
6An Oddly Shaped 5-In-1 Foam Roller That Works Like Magic On Achy Muscles
Turning the standard foam roller on its head, this 5-in-1 massage tool has completely redesigned the shape, style, and method of foam rolling. Using patent-pending technology, it allows you to precisely control the amount of pressure you apply, making it extremely versatile for all sorts of massage therapy. The ergonomically shaped tool reduces latent muscle tension and stimulates circulation. In addition to working your back, it can be used on your neck, arms, legs, glutes, feet, and other muscles experiencing soreness.
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