We’ve taken a look at the 10 most popular foam rollers as recommended by Amazon to see what the good, bad, and ugly are. It was impossible to pick one, as what foam roller you need depends a lot on personal preference. Therefore, we’ve recommended our top 3 foam rollers as follows:
- Best smooth foam roller: (Jump to review)
- Best bumpy foam roller:(Jump to review)
- Best travel foam roller: (Jump to review)
What are foam rollers and what do they do?
Foam rolling is a way of using the self-myofascial release technique (SMR). This is where you make changes to the coverings around muscles and other soft tissue. You make these changes by applying pressure, which releases tension from those areas. Foam rollers help to release tension and recover from exercise more effectively.
How can foam rolling improve my CrossFit performance?
While more research is needed, studies suggest that foam rolling can help increase your range of movement. As the research was done on a small group of adolescents, more evidence is still needed to know for sure. What is known for certain, is that foam rolling can help improve post-exercise recovery. This means that you can do more in less time and you’re less likely to injure yourself from over-exertion.
Our favorite CrossFit foam roller routines
For hip flexors: Put the roller on the floor and rest your hip flexors on top. Hold yourself up using your arms, while rolling the roller up and down your legs from the hip to the mid-thigh.
For IT bands: Put the roller on the floor and rest your hip on top. Roll the outer side of your leg from your hip down to your knee. Switch sides.
For hamstrings: Sit with your bottom on the floor, and the roller under the back of your upper thigh. Roll your hamstrings using your body weight.
For your upper back: Lie down with the roller around your mid-back. While keeping yourself stable with your feet, roll your mid- to upper-back until your muscles relax.
For your chest: Lie on the ground with the roller under your armpit. Roll it across your pec. Repeat on the opposite side.
What to look for when buying a foam roller?
First, you need to look at density. You might hear this referred to as firmness or ‘give’. Whatever you call it, rollers can be broken down into three categories: soft, standard, or firm.
- Soft means that it has more give to it. Soft rollers are best suited to people with sensitive muscles. They are also good for anyone that prefers a less intense massage.
- Standard means that it has medium firmness. Standard rollers are best suited to self-massage. There’s enough firmness to give a deeper massage while still being soft enough for some comfort. They work best for stretching exercises like pilates or yoga.
- Firm means exactly what you think. These rollers give the most intense massage and are great for recovering from high-intensity workouts.
The best rollers for cross-fitters have a firm density to them, because of the intensity of the workout. But at the end of the day, you know your own body. The density you need depends on how tense your muscles are. How do they feel after a workout?
What size and length of foam roller is best?
The right size for you depends on why you need the roller.
This measures around 36” in length and 6” in diameter. This size is great for massage, exercise, and physical therapy. This size is ideal for any exercise that requires working on your back, like pilates or any core-strengthening activities.
These tend to have the same 6” diameter, but a shorter length (either 18” or 12”). Being shorter, these rollers are great for portability. They are also great for glutes, IT bands, and calves.
Rollers can be as small as 4” in diameter. These rollers are best for physical therapy patients, or older users whose balance is compromised. As they’re lower to the floor, these rollers provide more stability.
Are bumpy or smooth foam rollers better?
Again, it depends on what you need it for.
Smooth rollers provide a more liberal massage and support.
Bumps, protrusions, and ridges can provide a deeper, more intense massage.
If your tension is pretty liberal, go with a smooth roller. If you have lots of knots, a bumpy roller would be better.
The 10 best foam rollers for CrossFit (in 2022)
We’ve taken a look at the 10 most popular foam rollers as recommended by Amazon to see what the good, bad, and ugly are. What we found is that CrossFitters demand a lot more out of a foam roller than most regular gym-goers. They need a firm and durable product that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to working through knots and tired muscles.
TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller [Best Textured Roller]
This foam roller is considered one of the best all-rounders you can buy.
- It’s lightweight and portable, so you can use it anywhere.
- It has great resistance for releasing tension from your muscles.
- Its multi-dimensional grid replicates a massage therapist’s hands.
- Not great for beginners: people have said it could make a grown man cry!
- Patented foam roller design offers a superior, multi-density exterior constructed over a rigid, hollow core
Amfit Crossfit Foam Roller
This foam roller is considered the best for daily use because it’s a little softer and more versatile.
- It is made from high-density foam, so it won’t lose firmness after use.
- Perfect for use on the upper back.
- The little spots around the roller help to reach places other rollers can’t.
- It’s a little expensive.
- It’s very hard. Not great for beginners.
- FOAM ROLLERS FOR MUSCLES — AMFit high density foam rollers are ideal for physical therapy, exercise, yoga, and deep tissue muscle massage. Foam roller massager is great for self myofascial release and increases blood flow throughout the body. Foam roller for back. Fitness roller.
Optp Crossfit Foam Roller
This one is great for beginners. It’s a lot softer and gives gentle relief to muscle knots.
- Small and portable: great for self-massage.
- Made for maximum durability.
- Great for pain-free rolling.
- Some feel it’s too soft for crazy CrossFitters knots.
- The dye comes off when you’re sweaty
- Professional Quality: Highly durable EVA foam construction designed to withstand heavy use at the gym, studio, clinic or at home; High-quality closed-cell foam is easy to wipe clean, unlike more common open-cell foam rollers.
Prosourcefit Crossfit Roller
Great for tightness in muscles and built to last, the Prosourcefit is a great model for daily use.
- One of the lowest-priced rollers out there.
- It has an extended 90 return window.
- Perfect for back issues.
- It loses its firmness after long-term use.
- VERSATILE MASSAGE TOOL: Ideal for pre and post-workout by massaging and releasing tension from muscles including back, legs, neck, calves, IT band, hamstrings, lats, and glutes for overall better mobility
Amazon Basics Crossfit Foam Roller
This one is perfect for pelvic floor muscles. It also feels premium despite the price.
- It rolls well and is great for pelvic floor muscles.
- Great for stretching, pre-, and post-gym.
- Durable and great for long-term use.
- It’s pretty slick. It doesn’t stay put the same way a roller with bumps would.
- High-density foam roller in Black
321 Strong Crossfit Foam Roller
This one is versatile and loved by everyone from runners to yoga enthusiasts. It’s great for anyone with back issues too.
- Using it is pain-free.
- It’s lightweight and easy to carry.
- It relaxes muscles without applying too much force.
- It makes a lot of noise when you use it.
- 12. 75 Inches X 5. 25 Inch Diameter , Lightweight Yet Rugged Solid Core Massage Roller With Eva Tread And Triple Grid 3D Massage Zones Mimics The Finger , Palm , And Thumb Of A Therapist'S Hands .
Gimme 10 Crossfit Roller
This one is great for leg pain. It’s also space-saving and has an eye-catching design.
- It’s a great travel option.
- There are different options for pressure based on different sides of the roller.
- It’s available in 5 vibrant colors.
- It’s better for occasional use. It’s less durable than some models.
- This versatile, all-in-one foam roller offers an easy-to-use solution for body massages and yoga stretching. Perfect for back, leg, neck, arm, chest, and shoulder relief, it's suitable for every body type and age, making it ideal for physical therapy and myofascial release.
Cando Crossfit Foam Roller
This one provides strength and durability: great for long-term use.
- Rounded to enhance your workout and make exercise more challenging.
- Great for opening up chest muscles and relaxing the spine.
- Perfect for at-home use.
- Colors are not for preference. They represent the density of the product. Be careful!
- Standard White foam rollers are economical, easy to use, and versatile
Fitindex Crossfit Foam Roller
With a wide variety of styles, you’re sure to find a Fitindex to suit your needs.
- Ideal for middle back rolling.
- Great for large muscle groups.
- It has different settings and can be set to vibrate.
- It takes 5 hours to charge and only works for 2 hours.
- Fast warm-up and post-workout deep stimulation- This vibrating foam roller combines pressure and vibration massage and can be used for yoga and exercise warm-up, and cool-down. Its compact size of 11.4x4.7 inches makes it portable when traveling or on a business trip. It is also a good choice for Christmas gifts.
TriggerPoint Rush Foam Roller
Another winner from Trigger Point, this one is great for smaller bodies.
- Small bumps for higher or lower pressure.
- Color-coded design so you can find the right density for you.
- Free access to an online instructional video guide.
- Not as portable as others as it doesn’t come with a carry-on bag
- Textured foam roller with squeeze and stretch design shears muscles to promote range of motion and glide; with patented hollow core design