Do Vibrating Foam Rollers Really Work?

Foam rolling has been a mainstay of workout pre and post body treatment for a number of years now. During that time it has been proven, through countless scientific studies that it is a great tool that enhance, motion, flexibility and performance while training and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following your workout.

Another muscle treatment which has been around for a long time is vibration. Vibration has been proven to reduce the frequency with which pain signals are sent to the central nervous system. So, it would seem that the amalgamation of foam rolling and vibration would be a no-brainer. So, how effective is vibration foam rolling in the real world? And how can you get the most benefit from this new technology?

Read on to find out.

What is a Vibrating Foam Roller?

A foam roller takes the familiar cylindrical foam roller and adds vibration technology to it. This allows the user to apply vibration to the target muscle group while also getting the benefits of self myofascial release and compression. You will find different vibrating foam rollers at different frequencies, with the ideal appearing to be around 33 Hz. Most vibrating foam rollers on the market (there aren’t that many of them yet) allow you to choose your vibration setting between low, medium and high. 

Vibrating Foam Roller Benefits

While the recent advent of foam vibration rollers hasn’t provided enough time for any serious scientific investigation, the benefits of muscle vibration are well documented. Vibration relaxes tense muscles, which makes it a useful tool both before and after your workout. It can also take away a measure of the initial stinging pain that some people get with myofascial release.

Vibration foam rolling softens the fascia that surrounds muscle fiber (fascia is a bit like cling film). Fascia can become stiff which inhibits the muscle’s ability to move freely. Fascia is bathed in ground substance, a lubricating fluid. When the muscle is inactive the ground substance thickens, inhibiting movement. Vibration foam rolling changes the consistency of ground substance from a thick gel to a fluid.

Vibration foam rolling also increases the quality of the muscle tissue itself. It allows you to deeply and firmly knead the muscle. In addition it can numb trigger points. Trigger points are hot spots around the body where there is a natural tendency for increased amounts of tension or inflammation were a selection of muscles connect to perform their tasks. This is similar to a junction of roads. And just like a bottleneck when there is too much traffic, these areas con become congested. Vibration massage on these trigger points will almost magically reduce the sensitivity in these areas.

Vibration foam rolling can also break up scar tissue. Muscle fibers are damaged and scar on a regular basis if you perform intense physical activity. The most common example is DOMS, which is believed to be due to tiny tears in the muscle. Self administered sports massage is an effective way to manage this type of damage.


Getting the Best from Your Vibration Foam Roller

Our VIBR vibrating foam roller is a great tool that can greatly lessen your muscle aches and pains. But only if you use it properly. Here are a 7 ways to get the most from your VIBR vibrating foam roller.

Start Slow

Your vibration roller will probably allow you to use 3 or more vibration intensities. Even though you may be tempted to jump directly to the higher levels (especially if you’ve got some serious pain), the smart way to go is begin with the lowest level for the first 2-3 sessions until you get used to the unique sensation on your muscles.

You need to create a mind-body connection while you are rolling, So, when rolling your quads, each motion should take approximately 3 seconds. Count in your head as you roll.

Take Your Time

Your self massage session should be a slow process. Take your time on each muscle, spending at least 2-3 minutes to really get deep into the fiber.

Long, Slow Movements

To really get into the fascia and loosen up the ground substance, you need to use long, slow, sweeping movements that will cover the entire length of fascia. Follow the long axis of the muscle. Rather than trying to squash and stretch out your muscles, think about rolling between the origin and insertion points of the muscle. Use a downward pressure (as much as you can handle). Concentrate on your large muscle groups, such as the thighs, hamstrings, calves and upper back.

Use Small Movements on Trigger Points

In order to get into your trigger points, use small, repetitive movements, also known as ‘micro isolation’ techniques. Really dig in with as much downward pressure as you can handle - and take it slow.

Roll Every Day

Repetition is the key to success in most things and vibration foam rolling is no exception. You sessions will only take 15 minutes but they should be daily. The more you put into foam rolling, the more you will get out of it.

Roll Along the Longest Axis of the Muscle

To work the muscle to fullest effect, roll along the longest axis of the muscle. As an example, when working the quadriceps, go from knee to hip and back again. Keep the pressure constant.

Stay Hydrated

The goal of vibration foam rolling is to manage or reduce inflammation and enhance tissue function. Both of these goals are reliant on optimal hydration levels. As a result, you need to make sure that you are never thirsty when you are foam rolling. 

Duncan Peters
Duncan Peters

My name is Duncan Peters. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years.

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