The Best Foam Rollers for Relieving Muscle Tension

LuxFit's High-Density Foam Roller comes in three sizes and won't lose its shape

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Best Type of Foam Rollers

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Foam rollers are essential when you're recovering from a sports injury. Using a roller is one way to bring physical therapy home. But you can also benefit from a foam roller anytime to promote muscle recovery, relieve pain, improve flexibility, and prevent injury.

Reviewed & Approved

LuxFit's High-Density Foam Roller is both affordable and effective, while offering varying sizes. If you're willing to splurge a bit more, TriggerPoint's GRID Foam Roller is well-respected among physical therapists and athletes alike.

You'll find foam rollers and other self-myofascial release tools available in a variety of shapes, sizes, densities, and price points to meet your preferences and needs. We reviewed dozens of foam rollers and favored high-quality materials and construction to name the best ones for preventing and relieving muscle soreness.

Here, our picks for the best foam rollers on the market.

Best Overall: LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller

5
Foam Roller, LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller

Amazon

Who else recommends it? Healthline also picked the LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller.

What do buyers say? 88% of 5,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

We named the LuxFit our best overall because it is a quality foam roller that relieves tension post-workout. For starters, it’s high density (made from molded polypropylene foam), so it won’t lose its shape, even if you use it all the time. It also repels liquids, so if you’re rolling anywhere with water nearby, you don’t have to worry about it getting wet and soggy on you.

It’s available in three different sizes (6 x 12 inches, 6 x 18 inches, and 6 x 36 inches) and can be used to aid with core and spinal stabilization, balance, muscle re-education, and stamina, in addition to helping with aches and pains in the back. Another plus? It has a full one-year warranty.

Best Grid: Trigger Point Performance GRID 1.0 Foam Roller

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Amazon

Have you ever been slightly confused about how to use a foam roller or find yourself questioning if you’re doing it right? You’re in luck since the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller comes with free online instructional videos showcasing best practices. That way, you can watch as you roll to ensure you’re getting the best use of the tool.

Some of the other benefits of this patented roller have to do with the design. It has a rigid hollow core, measures 13" x 5.5", and is constructed from quality materials that won’t break down. And with over 3,000 nearly 5-star reviews, it’s a fan favorite on Amazon, as well as a go-to roller amongst physical and massage therapists, coaches, trainers, and athletes for its GRID functionality.

Unlike most flat foam rollers, this one has a multi-dimensional surface that’s meant to feel like a massage therapist’s hands. The GRID also helps improve oxygen flow and heal tissue.

What Our Editors Say

"I love this foam roller because it’s so portable. I’ve taken it with me on vacations before—it’s particularly helpful to ease sore muscles after long hikes or skiing! Because it’s smaller than other foam rollers it’s easy to use on different parts of the body. I also like how it has different textures so you can customize the intensity of your self-massage." Isabella Broggini, Commerce Editor, Verywell Fit and Mind 

Best for Physical Therapy: Rolling With It Therapeutic Grade Premium EVA Foam Roller

Rolling With It Therapeutic Grade Premium EVA Foam Roller

Courtesy of Amazon

This eco-friendly roller (that resists flaking and chipping) is great for physical therapy, self-massage, and myofascial release. Still, it’s also just as useful for pre-workout use as it is for post-exercise. By rolling before you hit the gym, you’ll warm up the muscles so you can put in more work for a more extended period later on.

If you’re used to doing high-impact routines (like CrossFit, bodybuilding, and weight training), you’ll want to make sure you’re regularly rolling to prevent injuries, not just treat them after they’ve occurred.

Best Half Roller: OPTP PRO-ROLLER Soft Density Foam Roller

OPTP PRO-ROLLER Soft Density Foam Roller

Courtesy of Amazon

If you prefer a stationary half roller instead of a full roller that moves with you, the OPTP may be a good fit. Constructed of a durable cross-linked, closed-cell foam, reviews praise it for having just the right amount of softness and firmness. It has both flat and round sides for versatility in pilates, yoga, and stability exercises.

One commenter also recommended using it on a bed when dealing with any really tender spots, so it’s not as intense. It's great for anyone new to rolling, or anyone that needs a roller that’s not as hard and doesn’t hurt as much.

Best Stick: Tiger Tail Massage Stick

Tiger Tail Massage Stick

Amazon

While standard (AKA thick and round) rollers are made for back rolling, a thinner stick version can be helpful for concentrating on smaller or more specific areas to reach knots, break them up, and reduce pain. This 18-inch massage stick (that’s also available in an 11-inch travel size as well as a longer 22-inch size) from Tiger Tail goes deep to relieve joint and muscle aches, and since it’s cushioned (not made of hard plastic), it won’t pinch your skin.

It’s also made of high-quality, non-absorbent, non-deteriorating closed-cell foam that’s easy to clean and ergonomically designed so your fingers and hands won’t tire out, making pressure more consistent. Recommended by physical therapists and chiropractors alike, this stick roller helps with muscle cramps, spasms, pain, and stiffness. It also comes with a three-year warranty, should you have any issues with it down the line.

Best for Cyclists: Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls for Myofascial Release

Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls for Myofascial Release

Courtesy of Amazon

These Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls for Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Muscle Knots, and Yoga Therapy are the perfect addition to your recovery routine. Each order comes with a set of two lacrosse balls, and you can purchase them in the following color combinations: red and blue, green and yellow, and orange.

You can use this tiny ball on your shoulders, neck, glutes, back, and more. Its compact shape and size make reaching smaller muscle groups easier than your typical foam roller.

Best for Shoulders: RumbleRoller Beastie Bar and Stands

RumbleRoller Beastie Bar and Stands

Courtesy of Amazon

Whether it’s lifting weights or a heavy moving box, your shoulders tend to carry a lot of stress, and with that comes muscle pain and the need for relief. To combat sore shoulders, try out the RumbleRoller Beastie Bar and Stands. This funky-looking wand features two “Beasties,” which are spiky foam massage balls. Using these helps target small pressure points to relieve areas like your shoulders and neck.

The stands are detachable, so you can remove the massage balls and simply roll them to get out knots in your body. Reviewers confirm that the massage balls are firm and versatile, so you can use them to ease tension all over. Each one has 60 “firm, high-profile bumps” to ensure that your recovery technique is as effective as possible. This product is available in one size and one color combination, gray and green.

Final Verdict

LuxFit's High-Density Foam Roller is budget-friendly while also water-repellent, so you don't have to worry about accidents. And while some foam rollers don't offer varying sizes, LuxFit's option offers three for a more tailored fit. If you want to pay a little more for quality, TriggerPoint's GRID Foam Roller is a bestseller among fitness professionals and features a unique grid design.

What to Look for in a Foam Roller

Size

Consider how you want to use your foam roller and where you plan to store it. If you want to leave the roller at home and have space for it, you might prefer a large size that you can use across your body. If you plan to take your roller to the gym or along with you when you travel, look for a 13-inch roller. That size should fit into most gym bags, suitcases, and lockers, so you can use it wherever you wish.

Price

Some inexpensive foam rollers are not sturdy enough to support your weight. If you are on a budget, look for a foam roller that is strictly foam, yet still strong and durable. Skip features like vibration or trigger points to save money.

Water Resistance

If you sweat a lot or want to use a foam roller after a swim session, make sure the foam is waterproof or at least water resistant. Otherwise, moisture could damage the roller and shorten its useful life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are foam rollers good for your back?

    Foam rollers are good for your back. You can roll your back over the foam and stop on any trigger point. Foam rolling can help decrease back pain and increase overall myofascial mobility.

    Be sure to speak with a healthcare professional if your back pain worsens. Stop foam rolling immediately and seek medical care if you experience sharp pain in your back or anywhere else.

  • What are the benefits of foam rollers?

    Foam rollers can be an effective intervention for increasing joint range of motion both pre- and post- exercise, according to a study on the effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roller. Foam rolling is also a popular method for rehab and fitness professionals to increase mobility and reduce pain and soreness in a non-invasive, cost-effective way.

  • Is it OK to use a foam roller every day?

    You can foam roll every day, and it can assist you in recovery. In a 2015 study, researchers found that using a foam roller every day reduced delayed onset muscle soreness.

  • Does foam rolling help muscle growth?

    Foam rolling can help with muscle growth because it helps muscles recover after strength-building exercises. This allows your body to get back to improving your performance faster.

  • Is foam rolling good for injuries?

    Foam rolling is good for injuries and may even be more efffective than than massagers. In a comprehensive review of foam rolling on performance and recovery, researchers found that foam rolling reduced muscle pain perception and foam rollers offered better effects on recovery of strength performance than roller massagers.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A certified personal trainer, trail runner, and avid camper, Jessica Murtaugh, NASM-CPT, not only researches and reviews fitness gear for Verywell Fit but also owns lots of exercise equipment herself

For this shopping guide, she prioritized brands that accommodate a variety of needs. She favors eco-conscious brands that promote size, gender, and race inclusivity in their products and is dedicated to reporting authentic content to her readers.

5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The 10 Best Foam Rollers. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-foam-roller

  2. Fleckenstein J, Wilke J, Vogt L, Banzer W. Preventive and regenerative foam rolling are equally effective in reducing fatigue-related impairments of muscle function following exerciseJ Sports Sci Med. 2017;16(4):474-479.

  3. Cheatham SW, Kolber MJ, Cain M, Lee M. The effects of self‐myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic reviewInt J Sports Phys Ther. 2015;10(6):827-838.

  4. Bradbury-Squires DJ, Noftall JC, Sullivan KM, Behm DG, Power KE, Button DC. Roller-massager application to the quadriceps and knee-joint range of motion and neuromuscular efficiency during a lungeJ Athl Train. 2015;50(2):133-140. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-49.5.03

  5. Wiewelhove T, Döweling A, Schneider C, et al. A meta-analysis of the effects of foam rolling on performance and recoveryFront Physiol. 2019;10:376. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00376

By Jessica Murtaugh, NASM-CPT
Jessica has been writing for Verywell Fit since June 2021.She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Coach, copywriter, and marketing consultant in Los Angeles, CAJessica earned her BS from the University of Nebraska and became certified in personal training through the National Academy of Sports Medicine in April 2021, followed by her nutrition coaching certification in November 2021.