The benefits of self-myofascial release are pretty indisputable at this point, but I will confess I’ve always been guilty of foam roller negligence. It’s a simple practice, but when I’m at the gym I always find myself bolting out the door without allowing time for the poor foam rollers in the corner. However, after receiving the Gaiam Muscle Therapy foam roller to review, I can say foam rolling has become a regular activity.
The first thing I noticed about this roller was the difference in size from the rollers I was used to. I had only worked with a 36” roller before I received this product. The Muscle Therapy roller is only 18” long, so for some people it might not be as comfortable or versatile as a longer roller. I actually liked the smaller size, which was perfect for rolling my glutes, IT band, and hamstrings after running.
Ideally, you would probably want to have both a 36” roller and this roller to really get the most out of your foam rolling routine. People who have a broader upper body might also have a hard time getting the most benefit from an 18” roller. My husband likes using this one for his legs but not so much for the upper body. However, I have a pretty slight frame, so it is the perfect size for me.
The size of the roller also makes it more convenient for car travel and everyday storage. We brought it on our summer vacation and it was easy to just stick the roller in the back of the trunk of our car since it is so short and compact. At home, we keep it in the corner by our couch and I like to use it while we watch movies. It has held up pretty well despite all the use it gets and the long trip in our car.
In terms of firmness, I thought this foam roller was a bit soft at first compared to other rollers I had used before. It’s certainly not one of the more hardcore rollers out there, but I was pleased with the level of firmness. I would recommend it especially for people who are new to foam rolling, due to both the smaller size and firmness level.
My only minor complaint about this product is the DVD that came with it. Although the instruction in the DVD was good, a lot of viewers might find it hard to do some of the exercises in the video, which are easier done with a longer foam roller. It would be much more helpful to have a video that demonstrates exercises for this specific foam roller, since the size does make a difference.
Overall, I’m glad to have this roller and use it daily. If you find yourself neglecting the foam rollers at the gym, do yourself a favor and get one or more for home use. This product is an affordable and effective basic roller to start off your collection.
The Gaiam 18″ Muscle Therapy Foam Roller is available at Gaiam.com.