If you have yet to get yourself on a foam roller pre- or post-exercise, you’re missing out on some serious benefits. Science shows this form of myofascial release — aka self-massaging the connective tissue around your joints and muscles — can increase joint range of motion, enhance workout performance and reduce muscle soreness.
Recently, companies have made some serious upgrades that can further shake up your recovery routine…and we mean that literally. Enter: the vibrating foam roller.
A New Wave in Recovery: The Benefits of a Vibrating Foam Roller
Vibration tools themselves aren’t new. In fact, for years, doctors and physical therapists have been using vibration technology in a clinical setting. “Someone who suffered a stroke, for instance, might be chronically forced into a specific position so muscles get tight and the vibration will help them relax,” explains Mike Riccardi, CSCS, doctor of physical therapy at Finish Line PT in New York City. Riccardi believes this same thought process is behind the rise in vibrating foam rollers.
While there’s not much research behind this new take on the recovery tool, specifically, Riccardi has found that it can help at both ends of the workout spectrum. If you’re one who avoids a roller like you do a burpee, the intense movement can be a welcome distraction. Riccardi says it seems to take away some of the sting that comes with myofascial release. On the other hand, if you’re an avid roller, this upgrade can make the method feel even more beneficial. As long as it gets you coming back for more massaging, that’s the main goal, Riccardi says.
Keep in mind, the technique to foam rolling remains the same, even if you’re on a shaky tool, rather than a steady one. “Go slower than you think,” says Riccardi. “Each section [say your quads, hamstrings or calves] should take at least one minute each.”
Whether you love or hate foam rolling, check out these three vibrating foam rollers that just might give you the effects your body kneads.
3 Vibrating Foam Rollers to Try Now
You can choose between a grooved edge or a smooth surface, as well as three different vibration speeds with the update on this Hyperice roller. The founder, Anthony Katz, recommends opting for one of the first two intensities after your sweat session, whereas the highest level setting works well to stimulate blood flow before you get moving.
Compact and durable, this Triggerpoint tool lets you take it on the road — it’s just one foot tall and 3.5 inches wide. Researchers at the brand studied what frequency would be best, so this roller has only one vibration speed. (Read: just turn it on and start spinning.) Most importantly, the soft foam won’t wear out no matter how much time you spend working out sore spots.
While the priciest of the bunch, this handheld device works out the kinks in smaller, tighter areas, like your shoulders or hips. You can also purchase different tips for it, including a hot and cold ball or a metal attachment that really gets deep into your tissues. One caveat: This one is loud, so you might want to use it at home.
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