Updated: Dec 9th, 2022
Jump to The Best Vibrating Rollers
Foam rollers have long been used to improve flexibility and decrease pain. The new vibrating foam rollers are reportedly less painful to use and provide equal or better results. Let's take a look.
PROS AND CONS
There are several potential benefits to using a vibrating foam roller as opposed to a standard foam roller: INCREASED BLOOD FLOW: The vibrations generated by the roller may help to increase blood flow to the muscles being targeted, which can help to improve recovery and reduce muscle soreness. ENHANCED MUSCLE RELAXATION: The vibrations produced by the roller can help to relax tight or sore muscles, providing a more effective massage than a standard foam roller. IMPROVED MOBILITY: The vibration of the roller may help to improve flexibility and mobility by breaking up adhesions and scar tissue within the muscles. GREATER COMFORT: Some people find that the vibrations of the roller feel more comfortable and soothing than the pressure of a standard foam roller. MORE VERSATILE: Some vibrating foam rollers come with multiple speeds or intensity settings, which can allow you to customize your massage experience.
Some potential drawbacks to using a vibrating foam roller as opposed to a standard foam roller include: COST: Vibrating foam rollers are typically more expensive than standard foam rollers, so they may not be a cost-effective option for everyone. NOISE: Some vibrating foam rollers can be quite loud, which may be a nuisance if you are using them in a shared space or at a time when you don't want to disturb others. DURABILITY: Some users have reported that vibrating foam rollers tend to break down or stop working properly after a relatively short period of use, which may make them less durable than standard foam rollers. LIMITED PRESSURE: The vibrations of a vibrating foam roller may not provide as much pressure as a standard foam roller, which can be important for some users who need a deep tissue massage. LIMITED AVAILABILITY: Vibrating foam rollers may not be as widely available as standard foam rollers, so they may be harder to find or purchase. It's worth noting that these potential drawbacks may vary depending on the specific vibrating foam roller you are using, and the benefits and drawbacks of using a vibrating roller may vary from person to person.
EVIDENCE RATING: GOOD
Some studies have suggested that vibrating foam rollers may be more effective at reducing muscle soreness and improving flexibility and mobility compared to standard foam rollers (1). Another study examined vibration rolling, nonvibration rolling, and static streteching as a warm-up exercise on flexibility, joint proprioception (your body's ability to sense it's location in space non-visually), muscle strength, and balance (2). They found significant improvement in all categories for both the vibrating and non-vibrating roller group, however, significantly improved joint proprioception was present in the vibrating group. Another study focused more on the effect of vibrating vs non-vibrating rollers on knee-flexion passive range of motion (ROM) and pressure pain threshold (PPT) of the quadriceps muscles (3). They found improved tolerance to the foam rolling with the vibrating group, and equal improvements in knee ROM for both groups. Also compelling was a meta-analysis (a systematic review of existing studies) in 2022 (4), which found strong evidence that the vibrating roller has potential for "increasing jump performance, agility, strength and enhancing recovery." Take together we find the evidence compelling to be used by athletes as an adjunct to warm-up dynamic stretching and improving muscle flexibility and joint range-of-motion. While both the vibrating and non-vibrating rollers appear to be effective, the vibrating may be best for individuals who have difficulty tolerating the pressure of a standard foam roller.
1. Romero-Moraleda et al. Effects of Vibration and Non-Vibration Foam Rolling on Recovery after Exercise with Induced Muscle Damage. J Sports Sci Med. 2019 Mar; 18(1): 172–180. 2. Lee et al. Comparison of vibration rolling, nonvibration rolling, and static stretching as a warm-up exercise on flexibility, joint proprioception, muscle strength, and balance in young adults. J Sports Sci . 2018 Nov;36(22):2575-2582. 3. Cheatham SW, Stull KR, Kolber MJ. Comparison of a vibration roller and a nonvibration roller intervention on knee range of motion and pressure pain threshold: a randomized controlled trial. J Sport Rehabil. 2019;28(1):39–45. 4. Alonso-Calvete et al. Does Vibration Foam Roller Influence Performance and Recovery? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Medicine - Open volume 8, Article number: 32 (2022)
HOW TO USE
To use a foam roller, follow these steps: Find a comfortable, flat surface to use the foam roller on, such as a mat or carpeted floor. Sit or lie down on the floor with the foam roller positioned under the muscle group you want to target. Turn on the foam roller and adjust the intensity or speed of the vibrations to your desired level. Slowly roll the foam roller back and forth over the muscle group for 30 seconds to a minute, applying as much or as little pressure as feels comfortable. Repeat this process for each muscle group you want to target. When you are finished using the foam roller, turn it off and store it in a safe, dry place. It's important to use caution when using a foam roller, as applying too much pressure or using it improperly can cause injury. It's also a good idea to start with a shorter duration of rolling and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable with the technique.
While both the vibrating and non-vibrating rollers appear to be effective, the vibrating may be preferred for individuals who have difficulty tolerating the pressure of a standard roller. It also important to note that vibrating foam rollers are generally more expensive. It may be worth trying both types to see which one works best for you.
GRID | Hyperice | FITINDEX
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Best Standard Roller
We probably threw you for a loop on this pick after concluding vibrating rollers tend to be less painful, right? True. But the evidence shows these type of standard rollers can be very effective as well. And much lower cost. So we went with what felt right and made this our first recommendation.
The TriggerPoint GRID is built with a multi-density exterior constructed over a rigid, hollow core. It will last for a very long time. We most loved the variations in the exterior, which allow you to shift onto flatter or bumpier sections based on what feels best. We find this to be less painful than a standard flat foam roller, but felt just as effective.
The short length makes traveling with this roller a snap. Comes with a free online instructional video library for different parts of the body. Great roller.
Lower cost than the vibrating rollers
Long-lasting, easy to use
Shorter length makes it easy to transport
Free online instructional video library
May be more painful than vibrating options
The FITINDEX just feels nice. At least, nice for something that is rolling on sore, tight muscles. This vibrating foam roller comes with four different speeds, so you can choose the intensity that works for you. At only 2.1 pounds it is lightweight and portable. We especially liked the 4 hours of charge with the AC adapter, and the 10-minute auto-off functionality.
The variation on the exterior was a bit more pronounced than some other rollers, but this wasn't an issue. Regarding intensity settings - you'll read about levels for "deep tissue massage, trigger therapy, and light post-workout" etc. This is all meaningless in our opinion. Our recommendation: Find the setting that feels tolerable but effective to you and roll with it (pun intended.)
If you want a vibrating roller we'd recommend you buy this one. It wins on price, quality and results.
4-setting allows you to find the right one for you
Light and portable
10-minute auto-off function
More expensive than a non-vibrating roller
Only 3 hour charge unless you use the AC adapter