{Fitness Tips} Foam Rolling

By Kira O’Donnell

Foam Rolling 101

WHAT is foam rolling?

Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release using your body weight with a foam cylinder. It has the same effect as a deep-tissue massage but is less expensive and can be done right in your living room. There are various sizes and densities of foam rollers. I would recommend that beginners start off with a softer roll and gradually move up to a more dense one.

Foam Rolling Stretch:  Glutes - Legs are in a figure-4 position
Foam Rolling Stretch: Glutes – Legs are in a figure-4 position


WHO should foam roll?

People who work out, have tired, tight, or achy muscles, YOU! Working out causes micro tears and swelling in the muscle fibers which cause that soreness that you feel days after a hard workout. Over time, the muscles can develop adhesions or knots, which can lead to tightness and decreased range of motion in your muscles. This decreased range of motion can wreak havoc on different joints over time causing injury or discomfort in the knee, back, hip, etc.

Foam Rolling Stretch:  Lats (under armpit)
Foam Rolling Stretch: Lats (under armpit)

WHY should I foam roll?

  • Improved blood circulation which in turn promotes efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products at the cellular level
  • Increased flexibility
  • Decreased chance of muscle related injury
  • Breaking down of scar tissue and adhesions
  • Improved performance
Foam Rolling Stretch
Foam Rolling Stretch: Pecs and paraspinals – For this one you just lay on the foam roll with it centered on your spine and let your arms relax. As you hold the stretch your arms will slowly lower towards the floor stretching your chest muscles and relaxing the muscles along your spine.

HOW do I foam roll?

  1. Pick which muscle you want to target and place it on the foam roll
  2. Using your body weight slowly roll back and forth on the foam roller over that targeted area. If you find a specific spot that is painful, hold that position until the area feels like it is loosening up.
  3. Roll over each desired muscle a few times and then move onto the other side.
  4. Be sure to stay well hydrated as foam rolling helps to rid of the muscles of toxins.

It is completely normal to feel some discomfort while foam rolling, just as you would if someone were giving you a deep tissue massage. After a few repetitions the muscle you are working should feel softer and looser. The more frequently you foam roll the longer you will better able tolerate it.

Foam Rolling Stretch: Quads
Foam Rolling Stretch: Quads

WHEN should I foam roll?

You can foam roll before you work out to get the blood circulating in your muscles. Foam rolling after your workout when you muscles are warm is also beneficial for increasing range of motion. Any time your muscles are feeling tight or achy can also be a good time to foam roll.

Foam Rolling Stretch: IT band (between hip bone and top of knee)
Foam Rolling Stretch: IT band (between hip bone and top of knee)

WHERE can I get a foam roll?

There are many websites that sell foam rollers of various lengths, densities, and prices. You can also find them at TJMaxx, Walmart, Target, and most sporting goods stores.

Foam Rolling Stretch: Upper back and shoulders
Foam Rolling Stretch: Upper back and shoulders

Do you foam roll?  What are some of your favorite foam rolling stretches?  Comment below! 🙂