Stories from Active Recovery

6 next-level foam rollers that nix achey muscles with heat, vibration, and so much more

Rachel Lapidos

Rachel LapidosMay 4, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/Yelizaveta Tomashevska

Bless up that the fitness recovery industry doesn’t live by the mantra: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Because as of late, there have been mega-upgrades on foam rollers, which is great news for tired-and-sore muscles. Over the course of the last year or so, a ton of new technology has landed onto the market, taking the OG muscle-melting tool up a notch or two with heat, vibration, and tweaks to design.

The new generation of foam rollers are meant to dig deeper into the muscles and help your recovery routine. “Foam rollers are evolving by adding things like heat and vibration to mask aches and assist in breaking up muscle adhesions,” says Jaclyn Fulop, MSPT, a physical therapist and founder of Exchange Physical Therapy. There are also newer products on the market that are considered “smart” rollers, because they sync up to an app that allows you to track your recovery and follow instructional videos.

This doesn’t mean you should toss the foam roller that you already have, of course. “Traditional foam rollers use pressure from body weight as the energy source to relax muscles,” says Fulop, who points out that the size and shape of the tool plays a big roll—ahem—in the amount of pressure that’s being applied. But the new rollers can bring you different recovery-enhancing perks. Keep scrolling to see what products are in the new world of foam rollers.

1. TRX Rocker, $50

Photo: TRX

The Rocker specializes in giving your body deeper myofascial release, as well as more of a gentle massage. “The three different edges on this give you varied intensity, which you use to rock on instead of roll,” says Fulop, who notes that rocking in the same targeted area allows time for the muscle to “succumb to the pressure and release.”

2. Therabody The Wave Roller, $149

Photo: Therabody

Therabody, the brand behind the beloved Theragun percussive therapy device, recently introduced its Wave Roller, which is essentially a smart, vibrating muscle roller. It charges wirelessly (a true perk), has five different vibrating speed settings, and connects to an app that personalizes warmup and recovery, based on your workout.

3. HotRock, $89

Photo: HotRock

Both heating pads and traditional foam rollers soothe achey muscles, so when they’re combined, your body gets a one-two punch. “Rollers push blood around the body, kind of like squeezing toothpaste, and the heat assists further by widening your blood vessels,” says Fulop. “This promotes getting nutrients to the area for better recovery.”

4. Mobot Foam Roller Water Bottle, $60

Photo: Mobot

For those who like to foam roll on the go, this Mobot water bottle-foam roller hybrid is a tool you can bring everywhere you go… and you can stay hydrated while you relieve your sore muscles. There are three sizes (the $60 is the largest), is really sturdy, and comes in about a zillion really cute colors and prints.

5. Lululemon Double Roller Mini, $38

Photo: Lululemon

The new Lululemon take on a foam roller is a two-for-one: The larger tube is for digging into your limbs, while the mini, ridged one—that fits inside of the other!—is meant for your back. The added grooves of both allow you to truly roll away any muscle tension that you have.

6. Brazyn Life The Morph Collapsible Foam Roller, $68

Photo: Brazyn Life

You never know when the need to foam roll will strike, which is why this collapsible creation is brilliant. When it’s not flat and in your bag, it’s a trusty roller for all of your muscular aches and pains.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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