A Quest For The Perfect Foam Roller
by Dr. Ryan Emmons
Years ago I developed the Roll Release Foam Roller System on which the Roll Release Foam Roller Techniques books and ebooks and the Foam Roller Techniques App are based upon.
This system created a standardized method for foam rolling which is effective, safe and reproducible. However, I was missing one critical component – a foam roller.
In order for this program to be successful, I needed to pair it with the best foam roller. I then began my search to find the perfect foam roller. I first had to figure out the features of the perfect foam roller. Each of these would be required for me to support the product and for it to perform each element of my system perfectly. I determined 10 features that I felt would add up to the best foam roller. I have listed them below and explained the necessity of each feature, where combined would create the ultimate foam roller.
I had to eliminate any foam roller that was based on hype, hoopla, marketing schemes, gadgets, aggressiveness and patents. It had to be pure and simple – the most functional, versatile foam roller ever made.
1) Grip – Grip is probably the most important feature of a foam roller. This allows the body and foam roller to maintain contact and the roller and rolling surface to maintain contact. The grip allows you to most effectively perform the intricate Roll Release Technique rolling movement. Further, this is vital when rolling in advanced body positions when adherence to the surface of the floor or wall prevents slippage or worse injury.
2) Smooth surface –When properly using the Roll Release Techniques you require a consistent, smooth surface to always be on the right spot, maintain control and produce small intricate movements. The most frustrating part of rolling can be when you have to adjust the foam roller to different areas. It is a simple body adjustment to alter pressure so why have varying spots on a foam roller. It just complicates the rolling process. If a foam roller has bumps or protuberances it will force you to adjust the foam roller position, can be aggressive and will not allow you to use proper rolling technique.
3) Portability – A great foam roller should ensure that no one could have an excuse to not roll. Everyone should roll, every day when possible – even when traveling to a workout or across the country. The more portable to a foam roller is the more likely someone will pack it and use it.
4) Cost – The best foam roller should be affordable. An affordable foam roller is probably one of the, dollar for dollar, best investments you can make for your body. This affordability will allow people to buy more than one to have access wherever they go (i.e. one at work, one at home and one in the gym bag).
5) Ownership – I am a big believer in supporting small businesses. A company that makes a great foam roller should be a small business, owned and operated by great people with true, honorable intentions.
6) Firmness – The firmness of a foam roller is critical to achieving a therapeutic effect when rolling. The roller has to push back! It is important to realize that you can modify body position but not make roller harder. So having a firm roller will avoid the necessity to purchase an array of different foam rollers to tailor the rolling to different body regions and tolerance.
7) Durability – The durability of the foam roller is an important variable. When tradition foam rollers break down they have a tendency to become more oval than round. This does not allow for proper rolling movement and makes the roller less effective. The less breakdown that occurs the better shape is retained. The best foam roller would have a solid core to avoid shape alterations of the roller and any breakdown that would occur over time from use would be advantageous to making the roller work better as the foam would preferable lean out slightly to progress with the tolerance of the person rolling. The durability would allow for longevity of the foam roller.
8) Eco-Friendly – The best foam roller must be eco-friendly. This would mean that it would be: made of non-toxic material, constructed with less material and biodegradable whenever possible. This would ensure less impact on the environment and landfills. The foam roller should also be deconstructable or in parts to allow for easy replacement and avoidance of waste should damage or breakdown occur.
9) Ergonomic – The dimensions and profile of the best foam roller must allow a body position to stay in its most neutral alignment when rolling. This allows the person rolling to reinforce proper muscle and joints positions. It also keeps the rolling safe and effective for the body.
10) Variability – The best foam roller would have an ability to vary the smooth surface layers to adapt along with the tolerance of the person rolling. Having different layers would stay consistent with the unique individuality that comes with tailoring the rolling to a person’s tolerance. Variable surfaces of a foam roller would be a tremendous bonus feature.
If you find this rare artifact be sure to cherish it, use it every day, tell all of your friends about it, blog about it, post about it and share it to everyone you know so that they too can roll using the perfect foam roller.