I started foam rolling regularly several years ago for injury prevention and have recently found myself consistently reaching for the Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller ($60) to give my muscles some attention. While the foam roller market is just about infinite, Roll Recovery offers a thoughtful design that’s simple and clean, meeting the needs of just about any athlete without getting out of hand with complex textures or functions.
The Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller is 18 inches long, 6 inches in diameter, and weighs 2.6 pounds, making it a mid-sized foam roller. The exterior is made with high-density EVA foam, and it has a hollow core with a plastic lining. Roll Recovery emphasizes the intention they put into every detail of this roller and the feedback they sought from elite athletes and physical therapists during the design process. Based on my experience so far with the R4 Body Roller, I am inclined to believe them.Shop the Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller
Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller Features and Specifications
The Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller sits right in the middle of the foam roller category in terms of size, weight, and firmness. At 18 inches in length and six inches in diameter, the roller isn’t small enough to easily pack in a duffel or suitcase for traveling, however, it would be easy to toss in the car for a road trip. At 2.6 pounds, it’s hefty enough to have some substance but not so heavy as to make it difficult to handle or maneuver.
The roller has a hollow core, then a layer of hard plastic, and finally an outer layer of fairly firm, high-density EVA foam that has some give. Roll Recovery states that the diamond-pattern texture provides better grip, though I feel neutral about this statement. What I do love is its shape and the groove in the middle for lining up along the spine to work out the back muscles.
This groove also works very well for the forearms, iliotibial bands, and Achilles tendons, and the concave and convex shapes on either side of it can target specific muscle groups or areas. I found that the roller’s subtle shape adds versatility that you don’t get with a flat roller and also eliminates the need for extreme textures that can sometimes feel painful, especially to those new to foam rolling.
Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller Performance
As I noted with its weight and size specifications, the Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller is neither the softest nor the firmest foam roller on the market, and there are plenty of other options that are either bigger or smaller. It’s a true all-round, mid-range roller that’s smooth and simple enough for people just starting to foam roll and versatile enough for seasoned athletes who know how to target and release their chronically tight spots.
Rather than this making it less noteworthy, I think these attributes make this roller the “Goldilocks” of the foam roller category. It’s a great choice if you’re not sure what kind of foam roller you want or if you’re shopping for someone else.
I believe the best feature is its shape, including the center groove and the convexities on either end that help target both large and small muscles and tendons. I also appreciate the roller’s relatively smooth-yet-firm surface, which I find more comfortable than a highly textured roller and just as effective.
Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller Overall Impressions
Overall, the Roll Recovery R4 Body Roller is a nice everyday roller that’s not overdesigned or superfluous in any way. Its mostly smooth surface is comfortable, while its subtle grooves and convex shapes provide versatility in its application. This foam roller would make a great gift for any runner or athlete.
I have two minor complaints with this roller. One is that the surface material attracts animal fur and dust — substances that seem impossible to ever completely remove from my floors. It’s not a magnet, as some of my clothes are, but it’s something I notice. I’ve found a simple solution in using a yoga mat underneath the roller rather than putting it directly on a carpet or rug.
My second gripe is regarding the price — $60 isn’t cheap for a foam roller, so before making the investment, you want to make sure it’s not going to mostly just sit in the living room corner. If you’re not sure you’re going to stick with the foam rolling routine, there are less expensive options.
All that said, if you’re thinking about investing in a foam roller, this one is an excellent choice.
Call for Comments
- What’s your favorite foam roller or recovery tool?
- Do you have a go-to recovery routine or any tips to share?
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