Some of you probably already know this but I'm a big fan of foam rolling. I must do it to keep my legs in shape. For me, the rolling takes out any knots in the muscles and allows me to run pain free. The rolling itself takes some getting used to(yes it hurts when you first start doing it) and everything that I will show you on this post is much harder than your typical foam roller and they last as well. Here's a look at the foam rollers I have:
From left to right, here's what I have used:
Y-roller by Pro-tec Athletics - $40 at Running Warehouse - As you can see, this one has large grooves in the roller to help kneed that muscle. I actually only bought this one because I forgot my foam roller when going on vacation and could not last 10 days without one. It does not break down and while it's harder, because of the smooth surface, it does not dig into the muscle but still provides it with relief. You can use the grooves to be more aggressive on the muscle. It's also the largest one I have so not very good for travel but it works.
Rumble Roller - starts at $40 at Amazon(various options) - I did a review on this one awhile ago. Read HERE. This is one tough monster! Seriously if you want something that is going to dig into the muscle, this is the one for you. It works great! For me, I don't use this one on a daily basis only because of how aggressive it is but there are many that do use it daily. When all other rollers don't work, this is one to give a try. The large knobs are like nothing else on the market and you won't get the feel for this like any other. It's not for the faint of heart and even for experienced foam rollers, this one is going to hurt at first. For those new to foam rolling, I would not suggest starting with this. For those that need more pressure, this is awesome.
Enso roller by Evofit - $89 direct - I just recently did a review on this one. Read HERE. This thing is one of the most innovative products I have seen when it comes to foam rollers. This is certainly on the higher end of cost for rollers but it has it's advantages. Those discs are completely interchangeable so you can dial in what you need to target what muscle. The aluminum bar can even be used alone for a very aggressive roll. It takes a little getting used to but I love this one. It's also the only roller that I feel can really work the hips. Because of the design, you can roll through your hips which you cannot do with another foam roller. This allows you to get those hips muscles without hitting the bone. A fantastic design. They also sell a travel version for less month too.
The Grid by TP Therapy(travel version in front $25, regular version $40, and Grid X $50) - for me, while I have not done a review on the Grid, this one is old faithful. This has been my go to foam roller for daily use. They recently came out with a couple different version which I have all three. The first is the regular Grid. You can tell by the sticker on it that I've worn this thing out. Actually, you can't really wear it out since it does not break down(although I have busted the plastic pipe before). This can give you a great daily massage without hurting too much. I also purchased the travel version but it's a bit more difficult to balance on due to the size. My most recent purchase is the Grid X which is similar to the regular Grid but the foam is much, much harder. I've just started using it and it works great. If you have used the Grid before, this is a great supplement to that.
Finally, sometimes to target tough areas, I use just a regular Lacrosse ball. For the money, it can't be beat but you need to use this in addition to the foam roller.
You can also just purchase a regular foam roller but keep in mind that it breaks down in usually a couple months and stops working quite quickly especially if you use it daily like I do. Personally, I feel the regular foam roller is a waste of money. Everything above will last you a long time and it's worth the extra money to have one that will last.
The roller has changed my life and has helped keep injuries away for the most part. I use it on my back, butt, hamstrings, calves, IT Band and quads. I use it daily in the morning and evening whether I run or not and I also use it after every run. I swear by them and it's one of the most important tools in the running box -- at least for me.
Do you roll? What do you use?
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!