Have you considered using a half foam roller for stretches and exercises? This is a half-circle roller compared to the round full foam roller. Certain stretches/exercises are more ideal with the ½ foam roller like one-leg balance. It’s a lot tougher to balance yourself on a tube and probably is something you shouldn’t do anyway for safety reasons. However, there are still situations when a full-size foam roller is practical.
A foam roller is a self-massage tool. It can be a $100 store-bought version or a DIY type made from a PVC tube, yoga mat, and duct tape. There are different functions of the roller including stretching, exercise, and recovery. If you’re looking for equipment to achieve all these goals then the full foam roller is a good option. However, you can still use the ½ roller for other functions. The main difference is the half-circle shape, which is more practical sometimes versus the circular roller. Each type has multiple functions, pros, and cons.
What Exactly Is a Foam Roller?
This is a piece of stretching/exercise equipment that’s sometimes available at public gyms. It’s a PVC tube wrapped in a yoga mat. If you already have the mat you can make a DIY version for about $1.
The foam roller can be used as a self-massage tool or “myofascial release” method. Myofascial is an affliction that affects the thin tissue in the human muscles called the fascia. It’s made up of collagen proteins, which also make up 80% of the skin.
The fascia holds muscles in place and helps people maintain a full range of motion. One way to think of the stuff is the white fibers around orange slices. They hope to hold everything together.
There are different kinds of self-massage using a foam roller. If you hear something called a “half foam roller” this refers to the same equipment that’s in the shape of a half-circle instead of a full circle.
So, how does it work? When you press on one tissue you also press down on other tissues. In some situations, there’s only fascia being activated. That includes on the bottom of the foot. Another area is the IT band, which is a tendon that runs along the thigh.
Myofascial release is done when muscles/fascia gets tight. This can be caused by various things like repetition, over-use, tightness, and weakness. When this happens you might experience a limited range of motion. It’s going to be uncomfortable but it helps to protect your body from damage.
A foam roller can help by moving tissue so it moves back to the original position and becomes loose. There are different ways to do this including sports massages. In this situation, the therapist figures out where there are changes in texture/softness and requires some work. Another way you can deal with this situation is by using foam rollers.
Half Foam Roller: Top Exercises
Put the roller at the pelvis. Rest in the position while moving knees in/out to glide the pelvis. Make sure to skip this exercise if you have issues with the spine moving too much. You should talk to your doctor about what exercises are best suited to you.
Put the roller under the pelvic area. Breathe in. Breathe out and flatten the spine towards the ground. Make sure not to make the abdomen puffed up when you flatten the spine. Breathe in and arch back. This softens the hip crease. Rock the pelvis back/forth using the ½ roller to move easier.
Stand on the roller. Standing as tall as possible. If it becomes easy then try different variations. Try using arm weight, looking right-to-left, and so on. This will help to boost balance and strengthen feet. There are various methods you can try for this exercise.
Put the roller under the lower back to do some pelvic tilts. Breathe out and pull in lower abs while flattening the spine. The bottom should rise off the floor. Breathe in and release the back. This allows the bottom to contact the floor. It will help to provide more back extension.
Lie on the back with your knees bent. Put the half roller a little under the chest area. Use your hands to support your head. Then extend the head backward. Stay in the position then move knees side-to-side a little, about 10x. Repeat this exercise with the roller moved a little closer to the head.
Lie on the stomach with a roller under the quads in front of the thigh. Bend/strengthen knee a couple of times. Then move the roller to another spot. This option is a little tough but very effective.
Key Features of Half Foam Rollers
Commercial foam rollers tend to range from $50 to $100 for decent quality. Travel units will usually cost less and high-end units will cost more. Make sure to set a budget so you won’t spend more than you can afford.
You can also make your foam roller. If you already have an unused yoga mat, then the cost can be under $1 when you factor in the PVC tube and duct tape. Even if you shell out some money for a yoga mat, the total price will still likely be in the under-$10 range.
Make sure to consider the foam’s materials when buying a foam roller. In some cases, they contain cheap materials that produce a petroleum-like smell.
You can find foam rollers in different sizes. For example, you could go with a full-size unit for your home. Meanwhile, there are travel sizes for public gyms and trips/vacations. These options are compact and can be carried around wherever you go.
The main shapes are full foam and half foam. A full roller has a tube shape like PVC tubes. Meanwhile, half roller includes a half-circle. These options are used for different stretches/exercises. Make sure to research which option is better for the functions and exercises you’re planning. This will help you to choose wisely.
This is a key issue to consider when picking a foam roller and involves the foam itself. There are different factors like cushion, firmness, and compression. All these terms mean the same thing and are related to the foam’s firmness.
There are some key reasons to consider this issue. A compressed foam will generally last longer because it’s denser. It’s also better when you have to deal with super-tight muscle knots, for example. Different terms refer to density like high-density and soft when picking half foam rollers.