What’s the difference between foam rollers and massage sticks?

Foam Roller vs Massage Roller

Foam rollers and massage sticks are great recovery tools which help to reduce pain and soreness, increase flexibility and range of motion and help to prevent injury. Both tools are very effective and are go to products for athletes, professional sports players, personal trainers and those who workout, but what’s the difference between the two?

Foam rollers are easy to use by simply using your body weight to roll over the affected area. Rolling back and forth a few inches at a time for up to a minute will help to increase blood flow and speed up the recovery process. Foam rolling regularly helps to keep muscles loose and reduces the risk of injury, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of foam rolling as part of your fitness regime and not just used when you are sore. Foam rollers are available in different lengths ranging from around 15cm to 90cm so you can choose which one is best for you. The longer foam rollers allow you to work on larger areas of the body. Smaller foam rollers will fit into a sports bag and are light enough to be carried. Larger foam rollers are ideal for your home gym. You can choose either a smooth surface foam roller or one with a textured or bumpy surface which is designed specifically for treating the trigger points in the muscles, helping to release knots and tension.

Massage sticks are much thinner and smaller than foam rollers. The benefits of using massage sticks are very similar in that you can target pain, soreness and muscle tightness, increasing blood flow and speeding up recovery. What is different is that rather than using your body weight to massage the area, you hold the stick with your hands, like a rolling pin, and roll back and forth over the area to be treated using the pressure from your hands. It’s easy to control the amount of pressure you use with massage sticks. Massage sticks are ideal for reaching more awkward areas. They are light and compact so they are easy to pop into your gym or yoga bag and carry with you.

Foam Rollers

Massage Sticks

Use your body weight to roll

Holding the stick, use pressure from your hands to roll

Can target large areas of the body at once

Can easily reach awkward areas

Available with either a smooth or textured surface

Can use it yourself or can have someone use it on you.

Larger foam rollers are ideal for gym and home use. Smaller ones are easy to carry in a sports bag.

Light and small so easy to carry and store