Blog Behind the Science How to use a vibrating foam roller for recovery
How to use a vibrating foam roller for recovery
How to use a vibrating foam roller for recovery

With so many recovery devices on the market, finding the best tool to aid you on your wellness journey can seem daunting. From massage guns to compression boots, figuring out what works best for you, or what combination of devices does the trick, is well, tricky.

Enter foam rollers. Arriving on the scene in the 1980’s, rollers were introduced as a self-massage tool typically made of foam. Since then, they have grown in popularity and expanded their range of practical applications. This includes the newest generation of devices, vibrating rollers.

Here at Therabody, we’ve reinvented the vibrating foam roller by introducing unique shapes  and materials, specially designed to be more comfortable and effective. We also understand that sometimes the best tool isn’t quite enough, you need to optimize how you use it, so our smart devices and Therabody app guide you every step of the way.

How does a vibrating roller work?

To understand the benefits of a vibrating foam roller, we first have to understand how a typical (non-vibrating) foam roller works. Because there is such a wide variety of rollers available, from soft and flexible to hard and knobby, highlighting specific uses can be difficult. However, there are some universal benefits that most foam rollers aim to accomplish.

First, the purpose of a rolling device is to put pressure on the body. This rolling pressure reduces the tension in the muscle, increases blood flow to the area, and can reduce soreness and discomfort. Combined, these effects can help increase your range of motion and prepare for activity, improve your recovery, or help those overactive muscles relax to improve your posture.

By dedicating time to roll, stretch, and loosen your muscles, you release tension and this can help your body find balance, relax and remain limber, even after a hard workout. We also know that those added textures and unique shapes designed to optimize how you apply pressure to the body make the rollers more effective. 

So, what makes a vibrating foam roller better?  

Vibrating foam rollers are able to aid in recovery more efficiently than standard rollers through a process called Vibration Therapy. This happens by applying vibration to a localized area of the body. Vibration can increase blood flow, reduce pain and sensitivity, decrease muscle tension, and warm-up the area.

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How to use a vibrating foam roller

While there are many applications for vibrating foam rollers, the overall technique remains the same. Start by placing the vibrating roller on the floor or a surface you can leverage. We recommend using a yoga pad or fitness mat to help make a more comfortable experience and add additional traction to your activity area. 

Rest your desired muscle (calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, forearms, biceps, etc.) on the roller with light pressure. Roll along the muscle, spending extra time on “knots"; those sore sensitive areas. You can add additional downward pressure by lifting your body off of the ground for leverage, or slowly moving your nearby joints through their range of motion. You should aim to spend 60-120 seconds on each area of your body to get the most from your session.

The targeted vibrations will help distract your brain from the pain of rolling over sore muscles, while also increasing circulation and delivering a pleasant warming sensation. This is blood flow increasing in that area, not only bringing much needed oxygen to the muscle, but also helping flush out metabolic waste. 

Continue this treatment on all muscle groups that are tight, sore, and/or have knots and cramps. Combine this with the deep-tissue massage of Theragun, stretching, and intentional breathing for a full-recovery routine.  

Quick 5-step guide to using your Wave Family Roller Device:

1. Turn on your Wave Device by firmly pressing and holding the power button for 1-2 seconds.

2. It will automatically start on the lowest of vibration settings. To increase frequency (speed of the vibration)), short press the plus button until the desired frequency is active.

3. Place the device under the treatment area gradually applying light to moderate pressure as needed. Roll each muscle group slowly back and forth, around 1-2 minutes.

4. To turn off the Wave Device, firmly press and hold the power button until the device turns off.

5. For a more guided experience, connect your smart Wave Device to the Therabody app. This provides you with a library of routines built by Therabody University experts to guide you through every step for your exact needs.

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What is the best vibrating foam roller for me?

As with most things, finding the best tool for your recovery will depend on what area of the body you are treating. Having a specialized device to treat specific areas ensures that each muscle receives the best treatment, optimizing blood flow and aiding in recovery.

All Wave Series devices are easily portable, with three unique shapes and three distinct purposes. With smart connectivity and innovative wave texture, our entire line of rollers are precisely designed to adapt powerful vibration and pressure to the body’s unique physiology.

Wave Roller: Combines powerful vibration therapy and an innovative wave texture to deliver the most powerful, efficient full-body foam rolling experience. This Bluetooth® enabled vibrating foam roller allows you to connect to the Therabody app for personalized recovery routines, releasing tension and increasing mobility where you need it most.

Wave Duo: Ergonomically contoured to the back, spine, and neck, this portable smart vibrating roller is a uniquely versatile rolling solution. Five powerful vibration frequencies and high-traction wave grooves work to deliver just the right angles of pressure to areas in need—reducing tension and improving movement.

Wave Solo: This ultra-portable smart vibration therapy device delivers pinpointed pressure and vibration to focused areas for reduced tension and improved movement. Three powerful vibration frequencies and innovative wave texture allow its ergonomic shape to work deep into hard-to-reach areas, while our innovative QuietRoll Technology™ effectively mutes sound and reverberations. Great for getting in tough to reach areas like the hips and other small joint spaces. 

Looking for additional resources, or specific examples on how to use your vibrating foam roller? Check out our catalogue of guided videos on how to properly roll out high-use muscle groups. 

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A smarter approach to whole-body wellness: words from Theragun founder Dr. Jason Wersland

The best advice I can think of is to set an intention and then be consistent with your actions towards that intention.  An enhanced natural lifestyle is just that; daily living your intention. Creating the perfect day and then living it. 

How we feel is also so important and recognizing how things affect you. Once you start paying attention to how you feel every day, you can start making little changes over time that make you feel better — like diet, exercise, recovery, mindfulness, etc. These don’t need to be dramatic changes, but once you start implementing these positive changes into your lifestyle, you will realize how much better you feel and won’t want to go back — it will become a habit.