Myofascial release was one of the the things I had discovered over the past year or so along the way on my fitness journey. The name sounds kind of strange and fancy, but it really just means a massage. Essentially.
But seriously, myofascial release can an important part of exercising regularly – subjecting your muscles and connective tissue (which is what ‘fascia’ refers to) to lots of work and stress can make them quite tense, and rolling them out with tools like foam rollers or trigger balls etc can help to relax contracted muscles/fascia and improve blood circulation.
Or so many people say anyway. The jury is split on this, some are all for it and the rest don’t believe that it works or that it could make things worse. Personally, for someone who spends half my time aching from working out or dancing, foam rollers and trigger balls are my friends. It feels good, and I feel lighter and less in pain after rolling, so I’m happy.
If you’re worried about trying this though, consult a physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor first.
And okay I know it seems a little excessive to have three foam rollers (and a trigger ball too actually) at home, but it’s because I bought one from Sole Fitness Singapore and then the folks at Foam Roller Singapore sent me two to try out.
So here is a little personal evaluation of these three different types of foam rollers:
On the Iliotibial Band or more commonly known as the ITB (left one, which is super tight)
Orangina: The little round knobs applied just the right amount of pressure on my super tense muscles.
Neon: Suitable firmness that didn’t hurt too much and applied an even pressure.
Blackie: OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH.
On the ITB (right one, which is less tight)
Orangina: Same as the left, the little round knobs applied just the right amount of pressure on my super tense muscles.
Neon: Nice firm foam that applies good even pressure on the muscle; you’d have to move around on the various parts to get a bit of an extra push with the ridges.
Blackie: Gets deep into the tissue and muscles, and rubs them out. Rather painful though.
Verdict: They all do a pretty good job on the right ITB, so no favourite here.
On the Calves
Orangina: Not bad, quite a nice rub with the little round knobs.
Neon: Good pressure but not satisfying as it didn’t get deep enough.
Blackie: This was awesome! The sharp spikes pushed deep into the muscles and gave them a lovely rolling.
On the Hamstring and Glutes
Orangina: The foam is a little spongy and collapses so the intensity is not so strong. But because of the small knobby shapes, it gives the muscle a pretty good rub anyway.
Neon: Nice firm foam that applies good even pressure, which was quite soothing.
Blackie: Quite painful, but it felt like the spikes were really getting into my muscles and tissues nice and deep.
Verdict: They all do a pretty good job on the hamstrings, so no favourite here. I thought The Fascianator (Blackie) was quite ‘shiok’ (satisfying) on the glutes.
On the Mid and Lower Back
Orangina: I didn’t really feel much but maybe I just needed to put more weight on it…
Neon: This was good! As mentioned previously the nice firm foam gives a strong, even pressure, and the groove lines give added pressure at certain well distributed spots. Easy to roll.
Blackie: Maybe not for the back… it was kind of difficult to roll. Unless high intensity is required?
Also rolled my quadriceps, adductors and deltoids, and felt that the green and orange ones were best for these. The black one was great for the upper back and shoulders as the central ridge and spikes were able to get into the many knots I had there.
Overall, I felt that these different types of foam rollers would suit people and body parts with varying needs. Both sites also have a few other options from less to more intense rolling.
The Trigger Point Foam Roller (S$35) is sufficient for general use, the Masseur’s Hand (S$42) is suitable for applying strong and even pressure, and The Fascianator (S$49) is good for experienced users of foam rollers who really like super hard and deep massages.
For the pectorals, I prefer to use my TP Factor Massage Ball as it offers targeted pressure onto the muscle for deep compression, but that’s a story for another day.
I like that the ones from Foam Roller Singapore (Neon and Blackie, i.e. Masseur’s Hand and The Fascianator) have an ABS Polymer Core instead of the usual PVC one (which is the white one in the orange one I believe), which is supposedly of better quality and more durable. It looks cooler (black) and seems sturdier to me.
Here are some infographics shared by Foam Roller Singapore to help people figure out the basics of foam rolling:
They’ve also kindly offered readers of my blog 10% off all their products (except the already discounted ones and before shipping costs is added)! Just enter the code “Michelleteo” when you are checking out 🙂