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The types of rollers are as different as their intended use. A massage roller is an increasingly popular device thanks to which you can perform a self-massage and save time and money on visits to a physiotherapist. You can sometimes get lost in the types of rollers that are available for purchase now: they come in all shapes, sizes, surfaces and … not all auto massage equipment is roller-shaped.


  1. Roller types - what are they for?
  2. Types of rollers - rollers of unusual sizes
  3. Roller types - massage balls
  4. Roller types - how to roll?
  5. Roller types - which roller should you choose? [TABLE]

Rollersare becoming more and more popular. No wonder that manufacturers of sports and rehabilitation accessories release new types of rollers, rollers and massage balls every year. Why? Rolling is an activity that will help relieve pain, reduce unfavorable muscle tension, accelerate regeneration, increase blood circulation, firm, improve mobility, remove toxins from tissues … and many more! The advantages of rolling-over cannot be overestimated. Get to know the most effective and popular types of rollers!

Roller types - what are they for?

1. The first division of rollers concerns their hardness. The shafts can be divided into:

  • Soft

Soft rollers are used to relax tense muscles, accelerate regeneration after training and improve circulation. They are intended for very gentle rolling. Soft rollers also work well as a warm-up against more severe rolling with harder rollers or a ball.

  • Medium

They have the same function as soft rollers but are a bit stronger. Thanks to their medium hardness, they reach deeper places in our body and improve their blood supply more effectively. This is the most frequently chosen type of roller. It is suitable for both beginners and advanced.

  • Twarde

Hard rollers, like their predecessors, replace the hand of a physiotherapist and work perfectly on muscles and fascia. Hard rollers are very intense in their action and are intended rather for people who are already skilled in rolling. Hard rollers even reach a lotdeeply located structures and effectively stimulate their action, thanks to which they accelerate the regeneration time of a given soft structure.

Rolling on hard rollers can be quite painful, and while rolling, we must make sure to relax the rolled muscle and breathe deeply. If, instead, we tense up even more and the pain is greater than the desired 7 on a 1:10 scale, this type of roller is not intended for us.

2. The second division of rollers is the classification into smooth and those with protrusions / notched:

  • Smooth rollers

These rollers are intended for post-workout rolling. Their task is to relax tense muscles, accelerate regeneration and reduce the effect of DOMS. Smooth rollers soothe tense muscles and fascia and reduce pain and stiffness. This directly contributes to increasing joint mobility and gaining greater ranges of motion.

What's more, regular rolling on smooth rollers increases the hydration and flexibility of the muscles and the surrounding fascial tissues. Soft rollers can be used whenever we feel the need to relax muscles, relieve pain and relax. Perfect for sports, everyday ailments and as a supplement to rehabilitation.

  • Rollers with protrusions / notched

This type of rollers is designed for pre-training rolling. It stimulates the muscles to work, accelerates blood circulation, warms up soft structures and is a form of warm-up before exercise - it activates myofascial structures to work.

What's more, the fluted roller gives the effect of vibration, thanks to which it effectively deals with cellulite. Roller with bumps also improves lymph flow and increases the removal of toxins from the body.

Roller can also be used at any time when we feel that we need a massage, we are tense and we have pains resulting from lack of movement.

Types of rollers - rollers of unusual sizes

Standard rollers, intended for full body massage, usually measure 30x15 cm. There are also, among others, slim rollers with dimensions of 30x10 cm and larger rolls with the size of 45x15 cm on the market.

The shape and size of the shafts matters! It depends on which muscle group and individual structures of our body will be nourished and relaxed.

Let's take a look at the most popular types of rollers:

  • Micro rolls

These rollers are designed for face and shoulder massage. They are usually used to massage the facial muscles to loosen them and relax -especially around the temples in the case of migraine headaches and mandibular pains. With smaller rollers, we can also successfully improve the firmness of the facial skin and reduce the harmful effects of stress.

The micro roller is also a product that can be used for precise relaxation of the muscles of the hands, fingers and forearms. Such a roller has a size of 6x3 cm, so it can even fit into a woman's toiletry bag! You can take it with you wherever you go.

  • Mini rolls

They are slightly larger than micro rollers, because their dimensions are usually 15x5.5 cm. They are designed to work on the myofascial structures of small muscle groups, especially the feet, calves, arms, forearms and elbows. Copes well with achilles tendon soreness, plantar fascia, tennis / golfer's elbow and, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome.

Thanks to the notched mini rollers, the tissue healing process is increased and the metabolism of tissues in those parts that cannot be reached with such precision by the roller intended for full body massage is accelerated.

Roller types - massage balls

We are used to thinking of rolling as a rolling of the body. Of course, this is true, but rolling is not only done on the roller! Our body consists of many different structures that need specific roller shapes to fit into them:

  • Massage balls

Massage balls are usually 8-12 cm in diameter and are intended for punctual and deep relaxation or muscle stimulation. Perfect for breaking muscle and fascia trigger points and mobilizing intermuscular fissures.

Massage balls are intended for those parts where the standard roller does not work so effectively, e.g. gluteal muscles, especially the pear-shaped muscle, chest, calves and arms.

It is also suitable for deep massage of the biceps, quadriceps, trapezius muscles and the iliotibial band. The smaller the ball, the more precise the action.

  • Duoballs

These are double balls designed for precise relaxation and mobilization of muscles and fascia located along the spine. The duoball ball will work well in working on the extensor muscles and the lumbar region.

It reduces the pain, stiffness and tension of the spine and is perfect for the treatment of many diseases of the musculoskeletal system, e.g. discopathy. A double ball is also recommended for people who have severe back and neck pain, both fatigue and overload.

It is also recommendedfor people with migraine headaches, slouching and exposed to long-term stress. Duoball will also work well for people with deepened and lifted lumbar lordosis.

Roller types - how to roll?

So, how is this rolling? Better before or after training? Fast or slow? Every day or only when we feel tense? And exactly, the roller relaxes the muscles or allows them to work more effectively? Many of us ask ourselves these and similar questions … and we know the answer!

  • Rolling before training- should be dynamic and shouldn't last too long. It is assumed that rolling before exercise should last no more than a minute for a given muscle part. It consists in relatively quick and vigorous movements from the attachment to the attachment of the muscle. How many such lengths should there be? Usually, eight lengths are recommended for a given muscle group. Before training, notched rollers and massage balls for more difficult-to-reach structures will work best.
  • Rolling after training- can take much longer. Everything changes here: speed, accuracy and rollover time. In order to relax, reduce pain and improve mobility, it is recommended to roll slowly - moving the roller centimeter by centimeter every second. In addition, a given muscle part should be as relaxed as possible. If, for example, we are rolling the iliotibial band, we should even shuffle our foot across the floor - it must not be stretched like a string and be above the ground (which is a common mistake!). While rolling, we should breathe deeply and this also applies to rolling before training. It's worth spending about 3 minutes for each muscle, but don't overdo it! If we feel that a place is particularly painful for us, let's stay there for a long time and take a few deep breaths. Of course, you cannot overdo anything, because if we do not know moderation, painful bruises may appear in these places.

Which is more effective after training or before? The answer is: each is effective! Both of these strategies have a lot of purpose and each has its own application and specific goal that you need to adapt to your needs.

ATTENTION! Do not step directly on joints and bone structures while you roll! Rollers are intended only for working with soft tissue.

If we sit a lot and want to do a workout after work, it is worth first stimulating the nervous system to work and warming up the muscles on the notched roller. If we are passionate athletes, surely our muscles are locally pinched andpainful. Then it is worth relaxing on a smooth roller right after the end of physical exertion

How many times a week to roll? The most important thing to remember is that you cannot roll over every day, as daily physical activity is inadvisable. You should roll every second or third day. The simplest rule is - roll when the soreness / soreness is gone after the previous rolling.

How many times a day to roll? You can roll up to three times a day, but you have to remember that it is worth consulting a physiotherapist or trainer. Such a system will not be good for everyone and it is certainly not a universal system. Rolling around training, i.e. before and after training, will be much more effective.

Roller types - which roller should you choose? [TABLE]

You want to buy a massage roller, but are not sure which type is right for you? Our table will help you choose a roller that suits your needs!

Roller typeFor whom?Before or after training?For what?How to roll?
Smooth, softFor pain-sensitive tissues with a lot of pain and beginners in rollingAfter trainingFor relaxing muscles, accelerating regenerationSlowly, moving another centimeter with each second
Smooth, medium-hardFor moderately pain-sensitive tissues with moderate sorenessAfter trainingFor relaxing muscles, accelerating regenerationSlowly, moving another centimeter with each second
Smooth, hardFor the pain-tolerant and advanced rollerAfter trainingFor relaxing muscles, accelerating regenerationSlowly, moving another centimeter with each second
dotted / ribbed, medium-hardFor those who need to stimulate their muscles to work; have a sedentary job / do not move muchBefore trainingTo stimulate muscles to work and improve circulationQuite dynamically, several (maximum 10) lengths per muscle
Studded / notched, hardFor those who need to stimulate their muscles to work; have a sedentary job / do not move muchBefore trainingTo stimulate muscles to work and improve circulationQuite dynamically, several lengths per muscle
Small roll, smoothFor those who want to relax their musclesfeetAfter trainingFor relaxing the muscles of the foot, elbows, forearms, calvesSlowly, moving another centimeter with each second
Small roll, notchedFor those who want to stimulate the foot muscles to work and improve its circulationBefore trainingTo stimulate the muscles of the foot, elbows, forearms, calvesQuite dynamically, several lengths on each side
Ball, smallFor those who want to reach deeper fascia-muscular structures, break down trigger points more precisely and massage smaller muscle partsBefore / After trainingMore accurate rollingBefore training - dynamically; After training - slowly
Ball, mediumFor those who want to reach deeper fascia-muscular structures and massage smaller muscle partsBefore / After trainingMore accurate rollingBefore training - dynamically; After training - slowly
Duoball ballFor those who have a tense, immobile and sore spineBefore / After trainingFor paraspinal musclesBefore training - quite dynamic, but not too fast due to the spine; After training - slowly
About the authorMałgorzata Kośla She is a qualified fitness instructor and certified personal trainer. Since childhood, her greatest passion was sport - she played football and basketball. Then a new love came - dance, especially dancehall. He likes to sweat at the gym and relaxes in yoga and meditation sessions. He is constantly expanding his knowledge about training and a he althy lifestyle. What besides sports? He runs a store with natural cosmetics and he althy food, writes his own blog ( and deals with copywriting.

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