Tight and sore leg muscles are a common complaint among many people, whether they’re active runners, regular exercisers or those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. The best leg roller utilises pressure applied from your own strength to alleviate discomfort in the leg area, which often helps reduce pain in other parts of the body.
What Is a Leg Roller?
A leg roller is a lightweight, handheld device, which is used to provide self massage for the leg area. It’s made up of a number of plastic or rubber beads threaded onto a firm central rod, with handles at either end. It’s used by grasping the handles and rolling the beads over a certain muscle group. The pressure from this and the surface of the beads helps to release tight muscles and myofascial tissue. Because the device is handheld, it’s easy to vary the pressure used and possible to use the product in many situations.
Who Needs a Leg Roller?
A leg roller can be used by people of all ages and backgrounds for many different issues. It’s particularly useful for those who do a lot of high-impact training, such as runners, as they frequently suffer from tight and sore muscles in their legs. However it’s also very useful for those who do any kind of exercise or training, and is effective for releasing muscles that have tightened up through overuse or as a result of a sedentary lifestyle.
A leg roller provides a form of myofascial release. The fascial system comprises all of the mesh-like connective tissue in the body, which supports the internal organs and links all of the muscles. This fascial layer can become tense for many different reasons, including injury, overuse during a particular activity, or as a result of bad posture or inactivity over a long period of time. While tight fascia may not be immediately noticeable, over time it can result in reduced freedom of movement and increased pain in the body.
How Do I Choose the Best Leg Roller?
There are a number of leg rollers available in varying sizes, densities and textures. It’s best to get advice from a physical therapist or fitness professional before selecting a roller, as they can recommend to you the best density, size and texture for your requirements.
Low density leg rollers are best for sedentary or inexperienced users, while higher density products are more beneficial for those who are more active, especially if their muscles are already accustomed to being released through rolling or massage. Shorter rollers measuring up to about 17 inches are best for the leg area, as they’re more apt at releasing smaller, harder to access muscles. The massaging surface of a leg roller can be smooth, which is generally better for inexperienced users, or textured, which is preferable for more experienced athletes as it provides a more targeted, intense massage effect.
What Is the Best Way to Use a Leg Roller?
A leg roller can be used many ways and on many parts of the body. There are a lot of online tutorials and videos on YouTube which provide information on this, but if you’re a first time user or you have a specific issue it’s always advisable to consult with a physical therapist or fitness professional, as they’ll be able to guide you in the best methods for your needs.
In general, the best way to use a leg roller involves grasping the handles of the roller, and running the massaging surface over different areas of your leg. It’s easy to increase or decrease the pressure as the muscles release and your pain threshold changes. It’s important to actively relax your muscles when using the roller, and to use it directly on your skin or through very light clothing for best results. Frequent use with lighter pressure applied is more effective than applying maximum pressure, and while some relief is usually felt instantaneously, longer lasting results require regular use over a long period of time.
A leg roller can be used to warm up the muscles before exercise, and when doing this it’s best to spend around 30 seconds on each particular area. The roller can also be used during exercise to release tension and cramping, and after a workout to speed up muscle recovery. It’s important to focus on the most fatigued muscles when using the roller during and after exercise, and if pain from a weak muscle is felt at any point it’s beneficial to vary the pressure on this area between soft and firm. For those who are more sedentary, it’s most effective to use the roller at regular intervals throughout the day to prevent muscle stiffness.
The following video shows a demonstration of how to effectively use a leg roller:
What Are the Features and Benefits of a Leg Roller?
As leg rollers are available in a selection of sizes, textures and densities, the features and benefits vary depending on your personal needs. Products with a higher density give a more intense pressure, and tend to be more durable, while lower density products are better suited to inexperienced users and less active people. For the leg area specifically, it’s best to use a smaller sized roller in order to easily access all of the muscle groups. Longer rollers are useful if you’re also wanting to massage larger areas of the body, like the back, or if you have a larger frame than average. However they’re less portable than smaller products. Rollers with smooth massaging surfaces provide an even pressure and are usually more versatile for different areas, although they’re more likely to slip as they have less friction against the surface of the body. Rollers with a textured surface tend to provide more intense, targeted pressure on problem areas and tight spots. The best leg roller will increase flexibility and mobility through myofascial release, and improve circulation which helps to quicken recovery. It also aids in injury prevention and increases muscle endurance.
What Is the Best Leg Roller?
With so many products for myofascial release available, trying to select the best leg roller can be somewhat overwhelming. We’ve made things easier by selecting five of the best leg rollers on the market, and evaluated each one of them for you on benefits, quality and price.
In our opinion, the best leg roller is The Fitness Room Premium Muscle Roller Massage Stick. This product is highly effective with a durable steel core, and a medium density, textured rolling surface, which was superior to that of the Physix Gear Sport Muscle Roller Stick. The IDSON Muscle Roller Stick did not roll as smoothly as the Fitness Room leg roller, and was also the heaviest of the products we evaluated.
The Fitness Room leg roller is much better value than The Stick Therapeutic Body Massage Stick, and features better workmanship that the Elite Muscle Roller Stick. The combination of effectiveness, quality, durability and value for money make The Fitness Room Premium Muscle Roller Massage Stick the best leg roller available.