When it comes to foam rollers, size matters!  Let’s make sure you have the right size for you.

This is Brian and Christina at Your HealthySteps. We teach foam rolling and self care skills so you be active, pain free, and healthy and do things you love to do!

Foam rollers are simple and effective self care tools that can help bring back flexibility in your muscle and increase your range of motion.  When it comes to getting the full benefits from foam rolling you must be consistent in using it.  To make this a tool that you are going to use often, you want to make sure your roller is easy to use, easy to handle, and easy to store.

Foam rollers come in an assortment of sizes, colors, shapes and density. It can be a bit overwhelming but they are well worth the purchase.  Here, we’ll explore what is the best size foam roller to buy.

Foam Roller Diameters:
As far as foam rollers go there are two dimensions that we want to look at; diameter and length. Let’s talk about diameter. The two most common diameters are 4” and 6” foam rollers. The four inch is advertised as allowing more targeted work for certain areas of the body such as shoulder or back. The 6 inch is the most widely used diameter in foam rollers.

After using and teaching foam rolling for the past 14 years, we have found that the 6 inch diameter foam roller is the most versatile size.  We use this diameter in our Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Ultimate Foam Roller Blue Print programs.  It easily covers a wide range of muscle groups.

Foam Roller Lengths:
Foam roller typically come in 3 sizes; 12inch (25-30cm), 18 inch (45.72cm), 36 inch ( 90cm).

The 12 inch (25-30cm) is the smallest foam roller out there. It is advertised as a great size for traveling. It might be good for the cars, but 6”X12” is going to take up a lot of luggage space. The biggest complaint with this size is that there is not enough room on the foam roller. Clients have told us “I’m always falling off the thing”.  This can be frustrating especially if your just learning how to use a foam rolling. As far as cost goes it’s going to be a little less expensive.

The next size is the 18 inch or 45.72 cm. This is the size foam roller we use to teach our clients our foam rolling techniques. It is the size we use for all of our classes and in-services. The 18 inch is easy to use, easy to store, and doesn’t t take up a lot of room. The feedback from our clients and students has been overwhelmingly positive.  No one has complained about falling off the foam roller. Christina and I use the 18” at home. We consider it easy to use, handle and store. We have even thrown it in the back of the car when traveling. I can honestly tell you I have not put it in my luggage when traveling by plane and more then likely never will!

The next size foam roller is the 36 inch (90 cm). This is the longest size foam roller that you will run across.  It is actually more then a foot longer then the 18 inch. It is most commonly seen in Physical Therapy offices, gyms, and hotels. The biggest complaint is that there seems to be a lot of excess roller that is either gets in the way.  All the extra roller causes the foam roller to roll off course. This can be very frustrating for beginners trying to learn to foam rolling.  Having a roller head it’s own direction is also frustrating for advanced users who just want to get their rolling done.  Another complaint is storage because they take up a lot of space. The most common benefit advertised with the 36 inch is that you can lay your back on top of it and stretch your chest while supporting your head. We’ve had all size people do this same stretch with the 18 inch foam roller. The 36 inch foam roller will be a bit more expensive.

Our vote is a foam roller that is 6 inches in diameter and 18 inch in length. 

Grab our free report: The 4 things no one has ever told you about foam rolling, and tips on how to immediately improve you foam rolling techniques

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