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Just like any sport, regardless of how strenuous the sport is or how much physical contact is involved, there’s the chance for injury.
Any good athlete knows the importance of taking care of their body – whether to prevent injury or to care for their body well after an injury.
One of the great ways to do so is to invest in a foam roller. This option covers both preventative measures and promotes post-injury healing.
So what’s the best foam roller for tennis players?
It can be used for a variety of reasons and for a variety of injuries so it’s a great tool to have around. In this article, we’ll explore some of the benefits of using foam rollers for tennis players and highlight several products that may work well for your needs.
Common injuries in tennis players
There are a number of common injuries that tennis players can experience. A few types of injuries are discussed below.
- Shoulder Injuries: Many tennis players experience various shoulder injuries due to repeated hits or tennis strokes. Injuries to the rotator cuff are common as well because of overuse or not strengthening muscles enough in training.
- Back Injuries: Most back injuries stem from poor posture while playing. When your posture is off during a match or even training, it causes your form in all aspects of the game to be a little off as well. This results in poor use of your body and over-compensations in areas that shouldn’t be used without proper strengthening. Even with proper posture, it’s likely for tennis players to have back injuries because of that nature of their swings. Some swings (like front and backhands) require twisting of the spine, while other swings or serves hyperextend your back. Over time, it’s common to see some resulting back pain.
- Stress Fractures: Tennis is a very fast paced game that requires you to be quick on your feet. You may run or jump or shift your weight throughout the game quite a bit. If you do all of this without proper training, it’s likely that you’ll develop some sort of stress fracture. If you train too fast, you can tire your muscles out to the point that they can no longer do the work and they require the assistance of your bone. The added pressure to your bones results in a stress fracture.
- Muscle Strains: Most muscle strains can be avoided through proper stretching and training, but it’s common for tennis players to move too quickly and end up in pain. Quick or sudden movements often result in varying degrees of muscle strain.
- Tennis Elbow: This is by far the most common of all injuries, hence its name. This is an injury that happens over time due to overused muscles or improper hitting techniques. For players with tennis elbow, more often than not the pain is worst when the ball makes contact with the racquet, though any kind of overuse would be painful.
How a foam roller an help with tennis injuries?
Any tennis player looking to increase their fitness level should look into a foam roller. It’s one of the most inexpensive ways to promote muscle recovery and increase energy levels.
A foam roller is a cylindrical cone of resistant foam that can be easily placed between the body and the floor.
To use it correctly, you’d simply place the foam roller on the floor and position you body in such a way that the area that’s sore is targeted.
Then you would roll back and forth, allowing your body weight to apply pressure. As the pressure is applied to your muscles, the tension in them is released.
Because of the muscle tension relief, a tennis player foam roller can be beneficial for multiple reasons. As previously mentioned, they’re great for preventative use or post-injury use.
Tennis players put a lot of strain on their body in general, so simply using the roller to develop healthy muscles, joints, movement and range of motion is important.
After all, any tension leads to muscle tightness, which then leads to a limited range of motion. This causes pain and discomfort while playing.
Joint restriction leads to fatigue because neural feedback is affected. When overly tired, it’s common for that to contribute to poor form or lead to additional injuries over time.
A foam roller can help extend your muscles to their proper length, reduce joint restrictions and promote overall fitness for tennis players.
Regardless of which injuries you might be concerned about preventing or treating, there’s a benefit to using a foam roller.
Primary uses of foam roller exercises include:
- Improvements at Cellular Level – promotes healthy blood circulation
- Prevention of Common Injuries – eases any muscle tension to avoid a buildup that could result in an injury later on
- Reduces Tension – eases any stress that could impact your game due to carrying tension in the body or mind (we all know tennis is as much a mental game as it is physical)
- Improves Flexibility – reduces muscle tightness so you can see improvements in your overall flexibility which is helpful for avoiding any sprains or muscle strains during game play
If you’re curious about some exercise to try, this video may help you get started.
What to to look for in a foam roller for tennis
Depending on your specific needs, you might opt for a smaller foam roller or a larger one. Smaller foam rollers are great for targeting key pain points that need a more specific amount of directly applied pressure.
They’re also ideal for smaller body parts like wrists or arms.
Larger foam rollers are better for improving overall flexibility and reducing tension. These larger rollers are great for applying equal pressure to a larger area, like your back or legs.
There are other foam rollers that have grips to them to provide extra pressure in certain areas. This is to help relieve more pressure.
These types are most commonly used for those who have back issues, though they can be applied to other parts of the body as well.
Ultimately, it comes down to what your needs are and finding a foam roller that’s best for you.
Just be sure to get a foam roller with quality material and lasting durability so it won’t give out on you too soon.
When your foam roller loses its firmness, it becomes less effective at what it is designed to do – apply pressure to the appropriate areas to release muscle tension.
Best Foam Roller for Tennis Players
There are a range of foam roller options that may work for use with tennis-related injuries and injury prevention. The following options may prove a good place to start.
You should always consult your medical doctor for a professional opinion before using a foam roller on any injury.
AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller, Black and Speckled Colors
This is a great option for those looking for a smaller foam roller or a larger roller as it comes in various sizes.
The smaller option can better target those pain points that need direct pressure to relieve tension.
They are also ideal for those who have wrist or arm pain because of the smaller size.
The larger sizes are better for bigger areas you’d like to target, like your shoulders, your back, your glutes or your legs.
They’re also ideal for those who want to increase their overall flexibility, balance and strength because they cover more surface area and apply the pressure evenly across the desired area.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product may work for you.
These are a few key features about this particular model that make it a good option for tennis:
- High-density foam roller with molded edges; extra firm
- Ideal for balance, strengthening, flexibility, and rehab exercises
- High density expanded polypropylene (EPP) that is designed for deeper massage than standard foam roller
- Made from molded polypropylene to maintain firmness
- Lightweight, easy to clean and transport
- Measures approximately 12 x 6 x 6 inches (LxWxH)
- Maintains shape after moderate to heavy use and is perfect for all body types
321 STRONG Foam Roller – Medium Density Deep Tissue Massager for Muscle Massage and Myofascial Trigger Point Release, with 4K eBook
If you tend to have trouble with your arms, legs or feet (especially feet), this is a great foam roller for you. Its small size makes it perfect to roll along those smaller or harder to reach pain points.
Though it’s great to use as a preventative measure during warm up or cool down exercises, it’s also noted to be a great pain reliever for those recovering from muscle pain or injuries.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product may work for your needs.
These are some more specifics on the product:
- 12.75 inches x 5.25 inch diameter, lightweight yet rugged solid core EVA massage roller with triple grid 3D massage zones mimics the finger, palm, and thumb of a therapist’s hands.
- Travel friendly at just 1 lb .
- Medium density muscle roller is comfortable to use – making it easy for beginners, but still effective at penetrating the soft tissue layer of tired muscles. Soft enough to use while in pain from lower back injury.
- One of the best recovery tools to treat muscle pain, increase performance and flexibility. Rolling before and after exercise is part of a great stretching routine. Increases blood flow, flushing away stored lactic acid.
- Stretch overworked and strained muscles of the leg, arms, and feet by rolling during your warm up and cool downs.
- Great for the arch of the foot, and any part of the body but the spine or neck
- Purchase includes bonus ebook that’s helpful for beginners to learn how to properly use a foam roller
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @sebastiangauert