Take a quick look around and imagine yourself as you enter your local gym. You will likely see at least two people using a foam roller as they stretch out their muscles. It is common knowledge that foam roller is a must-have for anyone who is serious about improving their muscular health.
Although foam roller therapy can help you recover from muscle soreness, it is not the best choice for everyone. Instead, you should consider other options to help you reach your ideal recovery.
One of the most effective alternatives is to use massage balls or spherical devices, which are both lightweight and can help break down scar tissue.
Massage Ball, Explained
The term massage ball refers to a small ball that is used for massage therapy. It can be easily grasped, and it is also referred to as a therapy ball. Some of the materials used to make these are hard rubber or metal.
On the other hand, high-tech foam balls are made of dense and flexible materials. They can be used to re-purpose tennis balls or other sports balls. These can be used to soothe strained muscles by wrestling them away from their canine companions.
What is the Advantage of Using a Massage Ball?
A massage ball can be portable, especially if it is made of lightweight materials. It will take up little space and can be carried around with you, making it an excellent choice for on-the-go users.
The shape of the ball allows it to exert force at the top of the curve, which creates a powerful and pinpoint pressure. This is why experienced users often prefer using a massage ball over a roller.
Instead of using foam roller pads, massage balls are designed to be placed on the specific points of sore muscles. They are smaller and more portable than the pads.
What is the Disadvantage of Using a Massage Ball?
Although hard massage balls can be beneficial for some people, they can also be hard to tolerate for others.
- If you’re new to deep tissue sports or Thai-style massage, you might need to get some pain to deal with the tension. Before you start doing a self-myofascial massage, it’s important to avoid jumping off the deep end.
- If you are suffering from a healing injury, you should consult a physical therapist or doctor first. A massage ball might put too much pressure on certain parts of your body, and it could cause bruising.
Although it is helpful for pinpoint work, a therapy ball might not be the best option for addressing sore quads. A roller is a more efficient tool.
- Unlike a roller, these balls are not easy to control. They tend to roll around behind furniture, get kicked around, and shoot off coffee cups.
- You should keep the ball away from pets or kids, as it may get chewed on. Explain to them that this object is not for playing with and may get lost inside a toy trunk.
Foam Roller, Explained
A foam roller is a type of apparatus used for myofascial release. It can come in various sizes, ranging from 4 to 6 inches across. Although the name suggests that these are made of 100 percent foam, it is only sometimes the case.
You will find various kinds of devices in this category, such as flexible components, casings, and hollow plastic tubes with rubber coating. You can also expect to see cylinders of foam with simulated leather sleeves.
Advantages of Using Foam Rollers
Stability is what makes foam roller sets work. They only roll in one direction, allowing you to control them without having to make adjustments. Also, the longer surface helps minimize the impact of the rolling motion. Compared to therapy balls, some types of foam roller sets are more comfortable.
The foam roller can target a wide area of your body at once, which can help spread the pressure out and provide you with greater comfort. By doing so, you can effectively address the soreness associated with exercise.
Disadvantages of Using Foam Rollers
Compared to balls, foam roller provides less control, accuracy, and pressure. It can also drive you crazy when trying to whack a certain area with one foam roller. Although they are not particularly heavy, there are better options for travel.
These devices are used for a more effective form of exercise, which is to roll your body back and forth across the roller. While doing this, you will be working on your pain relief. On the other hand, a therapy ball requires you to lie still for around 30 seconds to allow the pressure to work.
Massage Ball vs Foam Rollers: Which is the Best?
One of the main reasons many people prefer to use massage balls rather than foam rollers is their ability to exert more pressure on their aching muscles, providing them with an enhanced massage experience.
Unlike a paint roller, which can only cover a single muscle at a time, massage balls can do the same job over multiple bodies, which is why they are regarded as a work of art. The human body has been regarded as a work of art for a long time, and the care that it receives is deserved.
On the other hand, massage balls can be used to relieve tension and pain in various parts of the body, such as the upper back, neck, groin, and lower back. They are very convenient to carry and are ideal for people who are looking for a more effective alternative to foam roller therapy.
The balls’ shape and size make them ideal for carrying and use. They also provide more access to the smaller areas of the body that are often neglected by foam roller therapy.
Main Differences Between Massage Ball and Foam Rollers
The devices use a combination of massage techniques to relieve the discomfort and soreness caused by tight muscles. They can also help speed up the recovery process by stimulating circulation.
Although therapy balls are smaller in size, they need to be molded into a round shape to avoid using too much material. A solid foam cylinder is easier to manufacture, and it doesn’t have manufacturing areas that have raised seams.
Meanwhile, high-density expanded polypropylene foam is commonly used for cylinders. They can also be made with hard rubber or a hollow plastic core. Although there is a slight difference in hardness, the difference is less so when compared to massage balls.
The durability of a massage device depends on its materials and how often it is used. A hard rubber ball can last you for a long time, while a cheap foam roller might break down in a couple of months.
You can extend its life by using massage devices on floors that are free of debris, as they can prevent getting damaged due to stress. Also, keep in mind that pets can chew on them.
For tennis balls, you can get a pack for around $4. You can then go up to $20 for textured balls made of high-tech materials. The highest prices are usually associated with brands that have bigger names.
Depending on the length and type of foam roller you choose, its price can vary. For instance, a basic 12-inch model will set you back around $10. On the other hand, a long or textured one can cost you around $25.
While there are many advantages to using a ball or a roller, both of these are useful when it comes to massaging your muscles. The portability of balls makes them ideal for traveling, while the broader pressure of a roller helps with stretching.