Foam rollers allow you to release tight muscle groups by applying pressure to the area until the Golgi Tendon Organs cause the muscle to relax. This method is known as self-myofascial release, and the safest places to use this method are your calves, hamstrings, quads, Iliotibial (IT) bands and middle back. Thus, the best foam rollers should apply enough pressure to the target area and keep its shape over time.
Depending on how much you want to spend, you can invest in a cheap high- density foam roller, which works well for most people, or trigger point and vibrating foam rollers. All foam rollers have their place and there is no such thing as a “bad” or “cheap” foam roller. In fact, the main cause of injury, particularly for athletes and gym-goers, is tight muscles and imbalances. It’s better to have a cheap foam roller than none at all.
Alternatively, if you have severe or chronic pain, you should invest in a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit. TENS units deliver small electrical impulses to the nervous system, interrupting pain signals to the brain and spinal cord. It’s a great option for, joint pain, arthritis, sports injuries, neck and back pain, and spinal cord injuries. Below are some of the best foam rollers, as well as the best TENS unit on the market right now.
Best Foam Rollers & Tens Units
The Fitness Junction Foam roller has some of the qualities I mentioned earlier. At only 12″, it’s portable enough to fit in a gym bag or take with you while traveling. It has trigger points that allow you to target specific areas and get deep into the muscle tissue, and, it has 5 levels of vibration. There are a lot of vibrating foam rollers and the market but this one seems to have just the right amount of intensity for most people.
The 321 Strong Foam roller is made of EVA foam, a lightweight, durable, and shock-absorbing material. If you need a medium dense roller with trigger points, the 321 foam roller might be what you’re looking for. At 12.75″, it’s portable, will maintain its shape, and comes with an eBook to show you how to use a foam roller properly.
The eBook is very useful because I see people using foam rollers improperly all the time. You should find a tender spot and stay in the area until the muscle releases, however, most people rapidly moving back-and-forth. Finally, the 321 Strong foam roller comes in 14 different colors to choose from.
Chareada 6 in 1 Massage Set
Sometimes you need to target areas that foam rollers can’t get to. In that case, you might want to apply pressure with massage balls or a muscle roller. The Chareada 6 in 1 Massage set comes with an 18″ high-density foam roller, muscle roller, 1 spiky massage ball, 1 deep tissue ball, 1 resistance band, and 1 carrying bag.
The foam roller is made of Expanded Polypropylene, the highest density material for foam rollers. It’s waterproof, sweatproof, and stress-crack resistant. The spiky and deep tissue balls are helpful for target glutes, lats, and hamstrings, areas that a foam roller can reach but the surface area is too large to get into the muscle.
IReliev Wireless TENS + EMS – Best TENS Unit
If you’re living with chronic pain, you should look into getting a TENS unit. As I mentioned earlier, they’re great for arthritis, sports injuries, neck and back pain, and all other chronic pain issues. Typically, these are expensive, ranging anywhere between $200 – $500. However, IReliev offers an affordable wireless TENS + EMS unit with 14 different modes.
EMS “electronic muscle stimulation” focuses more on conditioning muscle instead of relieving pain and the iRelieve unit has 7 TENS modes for chronic pain, 1 TENS mode for arthritis, and 6 EMS modes for muscle conditioning.
In one small device, you can get pain relief, massage treatment, and muscle conditioning. If you’re an athlete or dedicated gym goer, imagine having one of these right after your leg or back workout. And, recently, I’m starting to see more athletes in training facilities use these. For the price, the iReliev the best TENS unit on the market right now. If you want to save a little money and don’t mind wires, I’ve lalso isted the wired version below.