Foam rolling is our go-to before or after a great workout. But can a vibration roller give us better results than regular foam?
There are several types of regular foam rollers. Some are soft to suit beginners, while a firm roller is best for intense muscle tension.
Textured surface and grid foam rollers are also available for a deep massage. And then there’s the vibrating type that comes with adjustable vibration settings.
The question is, does the added vibration therapy matter? Is it beneficial? Here are some reasons why you should consider upgrading your recovery tool.
Faster Muscle Pain Relief
Our muscle tissue tightens whenever we do intense exercises or start a new routine. It becomes tight due to the lack of air.
We can rest and let sore muscles recover, but that will take time.
And if we don’t speed up the recovery phase, delayed-onset muscle pain (DOMS) and discomfort will set in.
Foam rolling encourages blood to flow so oxygen can get to our muscles.
This reaction becomes faster with the help of a vibration roller.
Previous research even noted that vibration stimulation results in better pain reduction.
That’s because, aside from the affected muscle, vibration waves can reach surrounding trigger points as well.
Researchers in a 2019 study also found better improvements in pain perception among participants after vibration foam rolling treatment.
This effect is helpful for athletes who train constantly. With faster recovery after exercise, they can stick to their programme without sacrificing performance.
Do you feel back pain after work or exercise? Try this list of foam rolling exercises for relief.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Increasing your muscles’ protection from further damage is another advantage of using a vibrating foam roller.
You see, without immediate treatment, DOMS can lead to microscopic tears that weaken our muscles.
Foam rolling with vibration therapy improves circulation and encourages contraction to release painful muscle knots.
And so, on top of avoiding discomfort, relieving DOMS prevents injury.
Researchers of a 2013 study with college-aged participants, for example, found that vibration reduces DOMS severity.
To protect yourself from injury post-workout, check out these other tools that relieve muscle soreness.
Better Range of Motion
When muscles are sore and tight after a workout, we feel all sorts of body aches that limit our range of motion.
However, the use of a vibration roller helps solve this problem.
A 2015 study, for instance, showed that high-intensity vibration foam rolling led to significantly higher flexibility than regular foam.
The researchers explained that this is mainly due to our fascia. These are protective fibres surrounding the muscles to make them glide with ease.
During muscular overload (or after heavy physical activity), sticky adhesions form within the fascia. These then lead to pain and reduced mobility.
Vibration waves can break down these adhesions so you can move freely and be pain-free.
More importantly, better flexibility means you’re at your best every gym time, training or competition!
In a more recent 2019 study, researchers did not find significant differences between vibration and non-vibration foam rolling treatments, though.
But both help in improving range of motion, balance and stability.
Improved Skin Appearance
Did you know that vibration therapy reduces cellulite? Cellulite is a cosmetic condition when fat collects and pushes the tissue within your skin.
It affects your skin’s appearance by creating lumps or dimples on the stomach, thighs and bottom.
But with consistent use of a vibrating foam roller, your circulation improves, promoting collagen production.
You then get less cellulite and smoother skin as a result. Cellulite is common among women and those trying to lose weight.
And so, if you’re working out for weight loss, cooling down with a vibrating roller gives you dual effects!
Verdict: Is a Vibration Roller Better?
Traditional foam rollers can relieve sore muscles, encourage circulation and improve range of movement. And vibrating foam rollers are equally effective.
However, scientific research has shown that vibration therapy provides additional positive results.
In particular, it speeds up the recovery process, so you can avoid injury and stick to your routine.
Plus, we have to admit, those vibration waves are the best simulation of a satisfying manual massage.
And for that, I’d pick vibration foam rollers any day!
Are you interested in trying a vibration roller? My reviews and buying guide might help.