Foam rolling is one of the most accessible forms of exercise to try at home. It is a technique used for the self-myofascial release (SMR) procedure. It has loads of health and physical benefits for the user, but you cannot carry out this exercise without a foam roller.
The foam roller is essential for your regular home exercise. But what do you do when you cannot afford a foam roller? Or should you skip your routine practice due to the lack of a foam roller?
Several DIY foam rollers can serve as an alternative for the regular foam roller. They are effective and give you a similar feeling before, during, and after the exercise session. They help you to break muscles and soothe your body.
In this guide, you will find various alternatives to a foam roller. The DIY foam rollers are not something from the blues. You will find out how to get these alternatives and where to get them. Stay active to learn all you need!
Health Benefits of Foam Rolling
You might not get a clear picture of why foam roller is essential if you don’t know the health benefits of foam rolling. Below are some of the health benefits of this exercise and why you should add them to your routine.
1. Helps to Ease Muscle Pain
Muscle pain is a common problem, particularly after a hectic day’s work. This exercise will help you to reduce sore muscles and lessen inflammation. It can even help you get over other practices’ pain and muscle stress.
2. Relieve Back Pain
Back pain is associated with a lot of conditions and activities. SMR and related movement help to alleviate back pain. It reduces the severity of pain and also eases tension.
3. Improves Flexibility and Performance
Foam rolling increases the body’s range of motion; Hence enhancing flexibility and aiding performance. It works better when you stretch out and foam roll after each workout.
4. Reduces the Appearance of Cellulite Temporarily
Foam rolling breaks up and loosens the fascia. Fascia is a connective tissue in the body that contributes to the appearance of cellulite. Speculations also suggest that the process can stretch out the body’s skin (no scientific evidence to back this up yet).
5. It Aids Relaxation
Everyone craves physical relaxation. Foam rolling reduces tension and helps you retain calmness. It can give the body a similar feeling as general body massage. It is one of the reasons why foam rolling is helpful after relaxation.
DIY Foam Roller (Foam Roller Alternatives)
You might not be able to exclude foam rolling from your routine exercise, considering the immense health benefits. Foam rollers might be relatively expensive or unavailable. But you can still use other DIY alternatives to achieve a similar effect.
1. Ball (Tennis balls, Lacrosse ball, and baseball)
Most fitness enthusiasts use various balls for SMR. They are an effective alternative for foam rollers. Tennis and other types of balls will do the trick just fine. Balls are quick to get and are effective in targeting various body muscles.
The balls are small, so it helps you to target specific muscles. Some enthusiasts with the standard foam rollers still decide to go for balls in some cases. They often choose because it allows them to target particular body parts. These balls need 15 to 30 seconds to trigger release in sore muscles and tight areas.
2. Hard Plastic Bottle
Hard plastic bottles are another suitable option to replace your foam rollers. One of the reasons it is effective is that it has a similar shape to foam rollers. This bottle is also easy to get because almost everyone has it at home.
You can also use similar options like reusable cans, glass bottles, and plastic water bottles. It is better to use hard bottles because the harder the bottle, the better its effect. It gives deep pressure, and its hardness helps it release tight muscles.
Using this option also has a significant effect on tissues. It helps to induce lymphatic drainage by providing deep tissue massage.
A barbell is another viable alternative for foam rollers. This DIY alternative for foam roller is a thin material, but it is hard enough to act as a roller. A barbell is often available in standard and regular home gyms.
All you need to do is rest your body on it and work your body on it like a roller. This option is easy to control and applies enough pressure to replace a standard roller.
Broomstick is typical in the home. It is another good option for foam roller alternatives for SMRs. This option allows manual control and offers deep pressure. It will help you roll in thinner areas and give you the massaging effects you desire.
The nature of broomsticks helps to break up muscle adhesion in the body. Broomsticks are especially effective for calf muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It is a valuable alternative for foam roller because it relieves tension and pain.
5. Rolling Pin and Massage Stick
The rolling pin is a manual massage stick, giving better control than balls. This option also makes it easy to target specific areas of the muscle. If you cannot afford an expensive massage stick, a kitchen rolling pin will be another viable option.
You can ease the coarse nature of the kitchen rolling pin by wrapping it with dish towels. This act will also reduce the intensity of moving.
6. Sticks from Quads
The stick from quads is a suitable DIY alternative for a foam roller. It will give you one of the best results if you intend to target leg muscles. You can use this rolling stick while sitting on the bed or even the couch.
You can easily vary the pressure you apply on these areas as you perform the massages.
Is It Safe to Use DIY Foam Rollers?
Foam rolling is a safe exercise procedure with lots of health and physical benefits. But the materials you use in place of the roller can make or mar the process. While DIY foam rolling alternatives work pretty well, you must ensure their safety.
DIY foam rollers are safe if you use the correct option appropriately. Firstly, if you’re using bottles or reusable cans, ensure that the body is smooth. Ensure that no part of it is broken or scratched.
This rule also applies to other DIY foam rolling alternatives you might use. Ensure the roller’s body does not include any sharp or pointed part. You can check the smoothness by rubbing your hand over the body of the roller.
Also, you can wrap sticks suitable as rollers with soft towels. The towel will regulate the intensity of pressure and protect your body parts.
Factors to Consider When Choosing A DIY Foam Roller
Choosing a standard foam roller can be relatively easy. But you might face a hassle if you want to select the best DIY foam rollers for you.
Here are some factors to consider to help you make the best choice. These factors cover all requirements for safety and effectiveness. Check them out below.
One of the primary considerations of a DIY foam roller is the smoothness of the surface. It is best when you have a smooth and dense texture. Rough surfaces in DIY foam rollers can cause physical injuries and even muscle damages.
The choice of the right texture can be dicey. The surface must be hard enough to give the required pressure. It must also be soft enough to avoid injuries or muscle damage. It is best when the roller has knobs and ridges on its surfaces. This texture will help to loosen knobs and ease tension.
The size of your DIY foam roller must suit your body. Consider choosing a giant roller for big bodies and vice versa. You can try out rollers of different sizes and find out which is most comfortable and practical for you.
The shape of a roller must be cylindrical. This shape makes it easy for your part of your body to roll over. Any other form will not “roll” and fail to achieve the purpose.
The level of firmness of a roller is similar to the texture. The firmness often determines the effect of the roller on the muscles and tissues.
Is Foam Rolling A Safe Exercise?
Foam rolling is one of the best exercises to help you work on muscles and tissues. Foam rolling is safe, especially if you are experienced with the process. You might need guidance or someone to put you through the process.
Beginners are prone to mistakes and self-injuries when foam rolling for the first time. Aside from this, some precautions are essential for anyone with foam rolling to keep in mind. These precautions are helpful for both beginners and experienced foam rollers.
Let’s check out some of the precautions for safe foam rolling exercises.
Precautions to Keep in Mind for Safe Foam Rolling
Safety is one of the core concerns in sports and exercises. Foam rolling is a safe exercise, but you can enhance safety when you keep certain precautions in mind. These precautions will ensure your safety and mitigate the possibility of any injury.
Check out some of the precautions below;
- Avoid foam rolling when you are nursing a severe injury or pain, especially muscle tear and bone fracture. Consult your therapist to treat these conditions before attempting to foam roll.
- Avoid rolling over sensitive bone joints like elbows, ankles, and knees. Accidental or intentional rolls over these sensitive parts can cause severe damage and hyperextend.
- Lower the frequency of foam rolling during pregnancy. Although the exercise is helpful, it is best to get a doctor’s permit before foam rolling. Regardless, it is best to skip foam rolling once you get to our third trimester.
Frequently Asked Questions About Foam Rolling
Foam rolling is not a new exercise, but only a few people know its essence and effects. So, if you have a few more questions racing through your mind, you are not alone. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about foam rolling.
Can foam rolling help you to lose weight?
There is no doubt about using exercise to lose weight, but that’s not the aim of foam rolling. This exercise aims to work on muscle relations and tissues. It helps to ease pain and aid relaxation. So, it might not be helpful for weight loss.
Can I do foam rolling in the gym?
The gym is one of the best places you start with your foam rolling journey. Besides the fact that most standard gyms have facilities to help you get started, you will also have professionals to help you through.
Is it healthy to foam roll every day?
Foam rolling every day is not harmful, as long as you do it the right way. It will increase blood flow, prevent injuries, and loosen tight muscles. It increases body flexibility, and it is ideal for both pre – and – post-workout processes.
Is rolling foam exercise painful to the body?
Foam rolling is not a painful process. Feeling pain only means something is wrong, and your body is begging you to stop. Once you start feeling pain, check out possible problems, including your body posture. You can also check various factors that affect the foam rollers, including smoothness and texture.
How long does it take to relieve tension on your body parts?
You can maintain a position for about 30 seconds when foam rolling. This duration is enough to release muscle tightness and pain around that spot.
A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle
Foam rolling is a healthy exercise for improving body flexibility and easing the pain around muscles. Aside from these, it also has other health benefits. But you have to use suitable foam rollers to get the best effect and ensure safety.
You can consider some of the DIY foam roller options above if a standard roller is not available or you cannot afford one. But don’t forget to keep your safety and health in mind when deciding. Feel free to explore!