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Vibrating Foam Roller Benefits and Expert Tips

It’s no secret that a foam roller is an extremely beneficial workout tool to add to your gym bag.Foam rollers have been a staple of physical therapy and sports training for many years. Foam rolling helps warm up your muscles before a workout, which increases flexibility and range of motion. It also helps you recover faster after an intense workout.

Vibrating foam rollers go one step further than your typical foam roller. They combine foam rolling with vibration, which gives you a variety of benefits that you can’t get with a regular foam roller. These innovative products are perfect for both warm-up and recovery for all kinds of activities from CrossFit to yoga.

I picked up a NextRoller vibrating foam roller to dive into this topic and explore the benefits of vibrating rollers.

Understanding the Unique Benefits of a Vibrating Foam Roller  

So, what does vibration do that a typical foam roller can’t accomplish? There are many more physiological benefits to when you add vibration to foam rolling. Here are a few of the benefits of incorporating a vibrating foam roller into your workout routine...

1. Helps With Muscle Soreness and Pain

Photo: Emily Mendez

Vibration has been used for many years in the world of therapy and rehabilitation for pain management. Scientific research backs up the use of vibration therapy for pain management.One study found that vibration therapy applied with moderate pressure for 25 to 45 minutes reduced muscle pain in about 69 percent of patients who were suffering from chronic and acute muscle pain. Vibration therapy directly alleviated pain in the sore muscle and also in trigger points outside the muscle.1

Vibration therapy also helps with reducing delayed-onset muscle pain. Delayed onset muscle soreness typically occurs about 24 to 72 hours after performing intense bouts of exercise that are not part of your normal routine. Both athletes and non-athletes alike experience this phenomenon when doing an unfamiliar exercise. The NextRoller is great at getting rid of this soreness much quicker.2

So, why does vibration plus foam rolling work so well at reducing muscle pain and soreness? Tight, sore muscles are a consequence of physical activity. Tissue can become tense when you start a new workout program after being inactive. They can also become tight after simply spending too much time working at your desk. Tight, sore muscles are a source of pain and discomfort.3

Vibrating foam rollers releases tight muscles, which is why they help reduce muscle pain and soreness. This fantastic tool delivers a targeted message to your muscles, which releases knotted muscles. The NextRoller is similar to a deep tissue massage in its ability to unlock tight muscles.  

2. Improves Range Of Motion

Vibrating foam rollers have been found to boost flexibility and range of motion by as much as 40 percent. One study conducted at the University of Chapel Hill North Carolina examined the effects of foam rolling plus vibration therapy on range of motion and pain. The study looked at the differences between a high-intensity vibrating foam roller and standard foam roller without vibration.

Photo: Martha Kapima

Participants performed weight-bearing exercises over the course of two weeks. Ten participants used a regular non-vibrating foam roller while ten others used a vibrating foam roller after working out. The participants who used the vibrating foam roller had a significant increase in their range of motion and flexibility compared to the ones who used a standard foam roller.4  

Are you wondering exactly how a vibrating foam roller can increase your range of motion? The answer has to do with your fascia. Located approximately 2 mm under your skin is your fascia. Fascia is made up primarily of densely packed collagen fibers. These fibers wrap your blood vessels, nerves, bones and muscles in a protective layer called your fascia. It helps keep your body taut and allows your muscles to glide around smoothly.5  

The problem with fascia is that if you don’t move it on a regular basis, then sticky adhesions will form between the surfaces. Adhesions can also form when you repetitively overload your muscles. These adhesions can become strong enough to severely limit your range of motion. When your range of motion is limited, it prevents your body from moving as it should. This leads to pain and a limited range of motion.5

Vibration helps break up adhesions that form and inhibit range of motion. The NextRoller features three different levels of intensity to help loosen adhesions. You choose the level of vibration that you need to keep your muscles flexible and moving.

3. Reduces The Risk of Injury

Photo: Ruby Mendez 

Vibration therapy not only helps with muscle soreness and pain after a workout, but it helps reduce the risk of injury. Delayed onset muscle soreness talked about above can increase the risk of further damage if it is not appropriately treated. This condition is due to microscopic tears in the muscles, which weakens them. Weak muscles lead to injury. Delayed onset muscle soreness also inhibits the muscles' ability to absorb the shock of subsequent workouts. Vibration improves circulation and helps relieve delayed onset muscle soreness, both of which help reduce the chance of injury.6

Another way that the NextRoller decreases the chance of injury is by improving range of motion and flexibility. Muscles that are inflexible tire more quickly, which can lead to injury. The NextRoller lengthens and loosens tight muscles, improving flexibility.

4. Improves Athletic Performance

The NextRoller targets two things that are critical for athletic performance — strength and flexibility. That is why many high-profile professional athletes swear by the NextRoller. Chicago Bears defensive end Bilal Nichols and Los Angeles Chargers defensive guard Dan Feeney are just two of the pro-NFL players who use the NextRoller to improve their performance. The NextRoller helps them heal faster and return to training sooner.

When muscles are tight and sore, it is impossible to perform at a high level. The NextRoller’s vibration targets deep into muscles to help loosen them. This action is what helps top athletes play their best game.

Photo: Emily Mendez

My Top Vibrating Foam Roller Tips!

You don’t need to be a professional athlete to experience tired or sore muscles. Everyone from Weekend Warriors to serious athletes can benefit from the NextRoller. It is easy to use this workout tool regardless of your fitness level. Here are a few ideas to get you started...

Photo: Martha Kapima

Warming up with a NextRoller

A quick session with the NextRoller before a workout will help wake your muscles up. It stimulates blood flow and circulation, which makes helps improve flexibility.

Using the NextRoller before your workout routine will give you a much better warm-up compared to static stretching.

A proper warm-up gives you better mobility and leads to less discomfort.7

Top 4 NextRoller Warm Up Exercises

It is important to use the NextRoller the right way to get the most benefit from it. Get max results from your next gym session by rolling out these commonly sore or tight or spots during your warm up.

Note: before performing any exercise, make sure you check with your doctor first to be sure it is okay with your workout routine.

Photo: Ruby Mendez

1. Glute Roll

This exercise helps relieve muscular tension that makes the IT band feel tight. Sit on top of the NextRoller. Place your right foot above your left knee. Put your hands on the floor directly behind you. Roll back and forward while holding pressure on tight spots for up to 90 seconds. Repeat on left leg.

2. Calf Roll

Photo: Martha Kapima

For this exercise, extend your right leg and rest it on the foam roller.

Place your left foot on the floor with your knees bent. Position your hands behind your hips.

Slowly lift your hips off the floor. Roll your right leg back and forth.

Travel from the bottom of your calf muscle to just below the back of the knee. Hold pressure on any tight spots for up to 90 seconds.

Repeat on opposite side.

3. Quadriceps Roll

Lie facedown on the NextRoller. It should be positioned right above the knees.

Lean on your forearms and slowly roll back and forth. Roll from just above your knees to right below the hip bones.

Hold pressure on tight spots for 90 seconds or so.

Photo: Ruby Mendez

4. Thoracic Spine Roll

Photo: Ruby Mendez

Poor thoracic spine mobility can lead to back pain, which is why it is so important to stretch and strengthen your spine. Here is a great thoracic spine exercise using the NextRoller.

Lie on the NextRoller facing up. Position the roller right underneath your upper back. Cross your hands over your chest or behind your head, whichever is more comfortable. Place your feet hip-width apart on the floor.

Use your legs to gently roll from your upper to mid-back. Hold the pressure on tight spots for up to 90 seconds.

Cooling Down with a Vibrating Foam Roller

Using the NextRoller after a workout helps decrease post-workout muscle soreness by getting rid of waste products that cause pain. It increases blood flow to the muscles and helps break down any scar tissue that has formed. This helps your fatigued muscles recover faster so that you are in less pain after a workout.8

Check out these top post-workout exercises that you can do with the NextRoller. Try them all. Your body will thank you.

Photo: Martha Kapima

1. Hamstring Stretch

Photo: Martha Kapima

The hamstrings are the muscles at the back of the thighs that attach to the pelvis. They are prone to tightness after a tough workout. They can also get tight after sitting at work all day.

Using the NextRoller will help loosen them up and improve hip mobility, as well as decrease post-workout lower back pain.

Sit with one leg stretched out on the foam roller. You can bend your other knee and or stretch out the leg and cross your ankles. Place your hands on the floor behind you.

Roll up and down on the NextRoller going from your glutes to just above your knee.

2. Outer Thigh Stretch

Runners are especially prone to tightness in the thigh area after a run. When the hip is repeatedly flexing and extending over time as with running, it can cause the upper thigh to get tight.

To roll out your thighs on the NextRoller, lie on your side with the NextRoller under your right hip.

Tighten your abs and glutes for stability. Slowly roll down your hip to just above your knee. Hold for up to 90 seconds on any tight spots. Switch to the other side and repeat.

Photo: Martha Kapima

More Uses For The NextRoller

Photo: Emily Mendez

The NextRoller is a super-versatile piece of workout equipment that can be used for everything from yoga to massage. Here are some other uses for the NextRoller. If you don’t have this versatile fitness tool, you are missing out on so much.

1. Foot Massage

Photo: Ruby Mendez

Do you often stand for long periods of time at the office? If so, then your feet deserve a little love. The NextRoller is the perfect tool for a foot massage. Simply slip off your shoes and try this exercise.

Stand with your NextRoller under the arch of one foot. Turn on the vibration setting to the one that feels most comfortable for you. Gently apply pressure to the arch by leaning your foot forward. Slowly roll back and forth over the NextRoller.

2. Release Trigger Points

Trigger points are tightly banded areas of muscle tissue that will not release unless pressure is applied to them. Releasing trigger points helps relieve pain.

Using the NextRoller to release these areas can provide immediate and lasting pain relief. It also helps promote more restful sleep.

 

Photo: Martha Kapima

Try this myofascial release exercise to loosen up trigger points in the upper back. Place the NextRoller underneath your shoulder blades. Place your arms behind your neck or in front of you. You can lift your hips off the floor and gently apply pressure for up to 60 seconds. Or, you can simply relax with your hips on the floor and the NextRoller under your shoulder blades. Stay in this position for about 60 seconds or until you feel your muscles release.

3. Intensify Your Lunges

Photo: Ruby Mendez

A lunge is one of the best exercises that you can do to build leg strength and power.

The NextRoller is a great tool to help you intensify your lunge. This lunge improves your balance too.

To do this exercise, simply place one foot on the top of the NextRoller and extend the leg behind you.

Bend your front knee as you lower back into a lunge.

Pro Tip: when rising out of the lunge to stand, draw the NextRoller in towards you.

3 Ways to Complement Your Yoga Practice

The NextRoller is the perfect companion to your yoga mat. I love that it's portable enough to stash in your yoga bag and take to the studio.

I personally like using my NextRoller as a prop for yoga poses to help me ease into them and open up my muscles and joints. It's also great for relaxing post-practice meditation and stretching.

Here are a few ways that you can add this versatile tool to your yoga practice...

Photo: Martha Kapima

Photo: Ruby Mendez

1. Savasana Prop

Savasana is the final pose in yoga and arguably one of the most important. This pose is often practiced much too quickly. But, it is a pose that you need to spend a lot of time in to get the most benefit. One way to stay in Savasana longer is by using props. Props can help alleviate discomfort that you might experience in the pose.

One of the best ways to relieve pressure on your lower back during this pose is to slip the NextRoller under your knees. This small adjustment feels great and will help keep you from squirming around in the pose.

2. Advanced Pose Prop  

Working towards advanced yoga poses can build serious strength and fitness. The problem is that it can be hard to reach these more difficult poses without a little help. A step-by-step approach is needed to get into most advanced poses.

Try using a NextRoller to make difficult poses like the triangle (Trikonasana) and crow (Bakasana) more accessible. Since the NextRoller is taller than a yoga block, it will help you get into these poses and stretch your muscles easier compared to a yoga block.  

Photo: Ruby Mendez

Photo: Martha Kapima

3. Post Practice Stretching

Stretching is a must if you want to stay injury free and perform at your peak. However, it can be hard to perform some stretches without a little help.

The NextRoller's added benefit of vibration provides a soothing factor that will actually make you look forward to your cool down stretches.

Vibration settings 1 and 2 (the low and medium levels) are particularly relaxing after a challenging yoga practice!

Two Additional Favorite Stretches!

Vibrating foam rollers feel particularly great on hips and hamstrings. Here are two of my favorite stretches for targeting these larger muscle groups...

1. Hip Flexor Stretch

To stretch tight hip flexors, simply place the NextRoller under your thigh and lunge forward with your opposite leg.

Place both hands to the outside of the front leg and sink your hips down towards the floor. Hold the stretch for 60 seconds or so.

Photo: Ruby Mendez

Photo: Ruby Mendez

2. Hamstring Stretch

The NextRoller's dual zone surface is perfect for stretching and rolling out your hamstrings.

Prop one foot on top of the NextRoller, lean in and place one hand on the roller.

Hold the stretch for about 60 seconds.

If you're looking to up your warm-up and recovery game, a vibrating foam roller is a great choice! You can check out the NextRoller I used for this article here.


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