Best Running Foam Rollers Reviewed
updated January 1, 2019
As a runner your lower body takes a pounding. In this article, we will identify the best foam rollers for runners on the current market. We’ll also show you how to get the most out of your foam roller to help alleviate typical runner trigger points.
The Best Foam Runner’s Foam Roller 2019
The distinctive orange colored TriggerPoint Grid foam roller features a series of firm nodules and ridges that act like the fingers of a massage therapist. This allows you to work into your running related knots and trigger points in order to give yourself a deep tissue massage.
The Grid features different section that have their own distinct pattern of nodules or ridges designed to work into the muscle in a specific way. There are also flat areas for a gentler rolling massage experience. It also has a tubular section with deep ridges and a concentrated nodular section. The different section of the Grid represent the different sections of the hand of a massage therapist. The flat section represents the palm, with the tubular section acting in much the same way as the fingers. The nodular section is like getting a more intense finger tip massage.
Depending on the intensity of massage that you want to achieve, you will roll on different sections of the Grid. The TriggerPoint Grid is 13 inches long and 5.5 inches in diameter. It’s three dimensional surface allows your muscle tissue to aerate as you roll. This enhances the flow of blood and oxygen, bringing more nutrients into the affected area.
The Grid features a hard, hollow core which is hand wrapped in EVA foam. This makes the device extremely strong (tested to a max weight of 500 pounds) and durable, yet incredibly lightweight. It’s compact design makes it perfect for carrying to the gym or even to throw in a backpack and take with you when you’re running.
The TriggerPoint Grid is backed by a one year warranty.
TriggerPoint have released a 2.0 version of the Grid. This unit is twice as long as the original grid, with dimensions of 26 inches in length by 5.5 inches in diameter. This makes it ideal for accommodating larger bodies and providing a more stable surface.
Best of the Rest
The Eclipse Roller features a unique design that combines foam rolling massage with very targeted trigger point release therapy. It has five unique pressure strips and four zones, allowing you to target multiple muscle groups at the same time. This saves you a lot of time and energy.
The Eclipse Roller is intentionally firm in order to provide the level of manipulation that serious runners need. It is made from Pop Foam NT material. The device is certified to be non-toxic. The core of the unit is constructed of reinforced PVC pipe.
The Eclipse Roller allows you to target knots and areas of muscle pain that you have never been able to reach before. It is great for getting deep into your hamstring trigger points. The direct pressure strip provides constant, deep seated pressure on a trigger point. This makes it a very intense leg massage roller, which is exactly what serious runners need. The two variable pressure strips alternate the pressure as you roll. You also have two lateral pressure strips which target the muscle from unique angles. This, again, makes the Eclipse an ideal muscle roller for runners, allowing them to work into the deep knots and trigger points that come from long hours pounding the pavement.
The four zones of compression on the Eclipse Roller allow you to squeeze and release your muscle to bring on a flushing effect, which helps to release toxin build-up. The zones range in width from 4.5 to 9.5 inches in width. The outer end caps of the unit function as a conventional foam rolling flat surface to give you a less intense massage experience.
Click here for the best back massage tool reviews of 2019.
The Rumble Roller has been specifically constructed to mimic the thumblike pressure that a massage therapist is able to exert on a patient’s trigger points. It features a whole lot of spike like protrusions that give it the resemblance of a medieval mace.
The nodule protrusions are quite firm, allowing for an aggressive, targeted manipulation of trigger points in the legs. The knobs protrude a good distance from the base of the roller, allowing for deep penetration of the muscle trigger point. Rumble Roller will allow you to really feel that you are kneading and breaking into the deepest part of your muscle fibers. Even though you are getting a lot deeper in the muscle than you would when using a conventional roller, the Rumble Roller doesn’t provide you with a more painful experience.
Moving in a range of directions across the knobs allows you to work your trigger points in different ways and get even more deeply in the muscle tissue. This makes the Rumble Roller an especially effective leg roller for runners.
The Roller comes in two versions. The blue Rumble is recommended for people who are transitioning from the use of a conventional foam roller. It is a little gentler and not quite as firm as the black model, which is designed for more experienced athletes. Both versions are available in full and half lengths. The full length model is 31 inches in length, with the half model coming in at 12 inches. The 31 inch model has a diameter of 6 inches, while the smaller version cuts the diameter to 5 inches.
All of the Rumble Rollers are waterproof and latex free. They are also coated with an anti-microbial additive to keep you safe from germs. Your brand new roller with give off an odor reminiscent of a new car, but that will disappear after about a week.
The Massage Stick from Vigor Fitness is a very effective runners massage stick. It features a solid steel core to improve firmness and strength. This running roller stick is quite a bit thinner than your conventional roller to provide a more concentrated attack on your leg pressure points. It features a variety of surface textures that are ergonomically designed to allow you to get as deeply as possible into the trigger points that are causing you discomfort. It is especially effective as a calf roller stick, allowing you to get into the knots in the soleus area of the calf that are so problematic for so many runners.
The ergonomically designed handles feature non-slip padding to provide you with a firm grip while using this leg roller stick. The extra wide rolling area is made up of multiple premium quality rollers. Vigor Fitness Massage Stick provides for a very effective deep tissue massage of any part of the body.
Unlike many other foam roller massagers on the market, the Vigor Fitness stick is completely quiet in operation, so you won’t have to put up with any annoying squeaks.
With a weight of just 12 ounces, the Vigor Fitness Massage stick is able to be carried on your back when you are running. This allows you to use it before , during and after your run to provide the relief that you need when you need it.
How To Use a Foam Roller to Reduce Running Injuries
As a runner you develop hot spots and tight spots, especially in the legs. If not taken care of, they can become tight. This can lead to strains and possible tears. A foam roller is a great tool to iron out those hot spots, keeping your legs loose and allowing you to train injury free.
For the following exercises you should use a firm, dense roller such as the Grid from Trigger Point.
IT Bands Foam Massage
The IT Band starts at the knee and travels along the outside of the quads all the way to the hip. A lot of people experience tightness in this area. Start off by placing your knee on the foam roller. Your body should be side on as if you were about to perform a side plank exercise. Support yourself with your hands on the floor. Now gradually roll, with your leg extended, all the way up the IT Band from the knee to the hip. Then roll back to the start position.
This move will cause quite a bit of pain the first few times you do it. The more limber you become, however, the less painful it will be.
Hamstring Foam Roller Massage
Hamstring trigger points are a common problem, especially among distance runners. To target the hamstrings, sit on the floor in an upright position with the foam roller under your knees. Support yourself with your hands on the floor behind you. Now extend your legs out straight so that they are off the floor.
Prop yourself up with your arms so that your butt is off the floor. Now gradually roll back along the length of your hamstrings and back again. If you notice a hotspot in the hamstrings, just linger there until the muscle loosens up. You can do this with one leg at a time or both together.
Calf Foam Roller Massage
To target the calves, sit on the floor in an upright position with the foam roller under your achilles. Support yourself with your hands on the floor behind you. Now extend your legs out straight so that they are off the floor. Prop yourself up with your arms so that your butt is off the floor. Now gradually roll back along the length of your calves and back again. Make sure that you go all the way to the bottom of the knee and back down to the achilles.
To hit the side of the calves, turn your feet outward, flexing your toes away from you. Pulling your toes toward you will give more emphasis to the inner part of the calf muscle. These adaptations will cause a bit more pain, but will allow you to get more specifically into the calf muscle.
The calves are prone to knots when running for a sustained period of time. This is especially the case if you do a lot of running on pavement or concrete. That’s why you should take some extra time on this roller exercise. Go nice and slow and allow the roller to linger on any calf trigger points.
Quadriceps Foam Roller Massage
The quads are the largest muscle in your body. They take a lot of the force and pounding when you are running. To target the quads, get down on all fours with the foam roller directly in front of your knees. Now go down into a plank position, so that the roller is under your quads. Rest your forearms on the floor, but bring your feet off the ground. Keeping your legs straight, roll backwards all the way toward your mid-section. Inch your way back with your forearms as you travel back. Reverse the motion to come all the way back toward the knee. If you notice a knot, linger on that trigger point until it loosens up.
When you start doing these foam roller for legs exercises, you will experience some discomfort. Over time, however, as you loosen up your knots and trigger points, the pain will go away. Regular foam rolling of the legs will see you well on your way to being injury free, keeping those hot spots at bay.
More than most athletes, runners put their bodies through a pounding. This is especially so of the lower body. Getting into the foam rolling habit is essential for any regular runner. In this article you have discovered the best pieces of foam rolling equipment that are in the marketplace to meet the unique demands of runners. You can purchase these products with confidence, knowing that they have been fully tested and reviewed.
Use your new foam roller to perform the leg specific exercises that we have included above at the end of each running session. Doing so will put your firmly on the road to an injury free running future.
Are you a sufferer of neck and shoulder pain, you won’t want to miss our in-depth review of the best neck and shoulder myofascial tools. Read it here.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.