Beginners Guide to Foam Rolling

Reduce pain, prevent injuries and increase flexibility by introducing foam rolling to your exercise routine.

Foam rolling is a type of self-massage. It allows you to alleviate tightness or knots in your muscles using a cylindrical piece of foam, called a foam roller. It can help reduce soreness and inflammation as muscles repair, prevent injuries due to tension and tightness, increase blood flow and elasticity and promote overall relaxation. We’ll show you a few muscle-specific techniques to help you jumpstart your foam rolling routine.

First, you’ll need a foam roller. We recommend a low to medium-density smooth roller for beginners. Once you’ve got one, all you’ll need is some open floor space and you’ll be ready to go.

Quads

  1. Position yourself in a forearm plank with the roller under your quads.
  2. Slowly roll down until the roller reaches just above your knees, then roll in the opposite direction until you reach your hip flexors.
  3. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  4. If you hit a knot, hold there for a few breaths then keep rolling.

Calves

  1. Sit on the floor (legs extended) with the roller under your calves.
  2. Lift your body up so the majority of your weight is on the roller, then cross your left leg over your right.
  3. Slowly roll your right calf back and forth on the foam roller, shifting your whole body with your arms.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  5. Cross the right leg over to focus on your left calf, then repeat.

Hamstrings

  1. Sit on the floor (legs extended) with the roller under your hamstrings.
  2. Lift your body up so the majority of your weight is on the roller, then slowly roll up and down between the back of your knees and your glutes.
  3. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  4. If you hit a knot, hold there for a few breaths then keep rolling.

IT band (outer thigh)

  1. Lie on your right side with the roller under the outside of your right thigh. Rest your bodyweight on your right forearm. Straighten your right leg and bend your left leg at the knee, placing your left foot in front of your right leg.
  2. Bracing yourself with your upper body and left leg, slowly roll up and down between your knee and glute.
  3. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  4. If you hit a knot, hold there for a few breaths then keep rolling.
  5. Switch to the opposite position to roll your left IT band.

Upper back

  1. Lie on your back with the foam roller under your upper back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms or put them down by your sides.
  2. Lift your body up into a shallow bridge position.
  3. Slowly roll up and down between your lower neck and mid-back.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  5. If you hit a knot, hold there for a few breaths then keep rolling.

Shoulders

  1. Lie on your side with the foam roller under your right shoulder. Rest your lower body on the ground with your left arm out to guide your movement.
  2. Slowly roll up and down over your deltoid muscle.
  3. Repeat for 30 seconds.
  4. Switch sides and repeat on your left shoulder.

Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Source
Older man outdoors rolling his back with a foam roller

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