10 Ways to Firm Up with a Foam Roller


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  33 comments   :  28,221 Views

Foam rollers have become a mainstay in gyms and homes across the country to help those who experience muscle tightness especially following an intense workout routine. Their primary use is to help release muscle tension, while helping to break down adhesions or scar tissue within the muscles. Foam roller are also known to increase blood flow to the soft tissue which may help promote healing, which in turn may lead to a faster recovery.

While many of us are familiar with foam roller exercises for myofascial release, foam rollers can be more than just a recovery tool--they can also be used as an adjunct to your regular exercise routine. By working your muscles in a variety of ways this helps keep your workouts fresh while providing the challenge your muscles need in order to keep your body from experiencing that all-too-common dreaded plateau.

Below are some fun and challenging exercises you can do using a foam roller.


Star-side Plank

Kneeling Roll-ins with Foam Roller

Lower Back

Back Extensions (Swan) on Foam Roller

Butt, Chest, Core, Triceps

Single-Leg Seesaw

Arms, Back, Chest

Rows to Fly

Triceps, Shoulders, Chest

Pushups on Foam Roller


Triceps Dips on Foam Roller

Glutes, Hamstrings

Bridges on Foam Roller

Single-Leg Bridge Hold on Foam Roller with Toe Taps

Full Body

Switch Step

To view more exercises using the foam roller see Coach Nicole's Video 5-Minute Booty Firming Workout with a Foam Roller and a list of all foam roller exercises found in the fitness library on SparkPeople.com

Have you used the foam roller in your exercise routine? Would you consider doing these exercises? What exercises would you like featured in the Fitness Round-up?

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  • 33
    been wanting to get one. thanks for the article. - 11/12/2017   9:18:21 AM
  • 32
    I found at the gym the smaller roller was best for me, so I think you have to try several to see what works best. - 9/18/2017   12:16:55 AM
  • 31
    I love my roller! - 7/27/2017   8:06:32 PM
    I really would like to get the FR but am wondering which is the best size lengthwise? I have read many articles but none actually stated which size is best for which excercises...can anyone help me? - 2/21/2016   8:36:45 AM
  • 29
    I was trying to access the Tricep Dips on a foam roller link but cannot find the article? It leads to an outside site. - 4/7/2015   12:02:48 PM
    I just got one as a gift so thanks for the great blog and thanks to the other post, I have 2 retrievers so I will make sure to keep it away from them they love to chew on everything :) - 3/29/2011   12:30:23 PM
    I just got one as a gift so thanks for the great blog and thanks to the other post, I have 2 retrievers so I will make sure to keep it away from them they love to chew on everything :) - 3/29/2011   12:30:13 PM
  • 26
    I love foam rollers. I have two: one is 6" in diameter and 36" long; the other one is 4" in diameter and 36" long. The 4" one is just for my neck; the other one can be used for different things. I can lie on it lengthwise to stretch my shoulders, inch my neck and back off of it gradually to loosen up a stiff back, put my lower back on it to release my sacroiliac joint, and stand on it to improve my balance. Thanks for the exercises. I'll enjoy them too. Happy spring. - 3/26/2011   3:19:44 PM
  • 25
    Word of warning...do not leave a foam roller and a golden retriever in the same room together! Mine is shredded, though thankfully does not seem to have been ingested! I was putting off getting a new one, but seeing the exercises I can do with it in addition to the myofacial release, I am going to get a new one this weekend. Thanks for the great blog! - 3/24/2011   2:07:52 PM
  • 24
    I have been using the foam roller for a year now, and I can attest that it really works. I use it up to 5 minutes a day on the IT band. You can get one at most sporting goods stores. - 3/23/2011   4:39:12 PM
  • 23
    I love my foam roller too, it's great for stripping out your IT Band if it's tight, or most other areas of your body....saves on trips to massage and chiro :) - 3/23/2011   1:54:11 PM
  • 22
    I'm sure foam rollers would help me, thanks for the info. - 3/23/2011   12:50:37 PM
    I can testify the roller foam helps with muscle tension. I such a secret wonder tool! I use it for my calves, hamstrings, quads, IT band, back and shoulder. - 3/23/2011   11:02:58 AM
  • 20
    I just recently started using a foam roller. I have found that it really has helped reduce any soreness in my legs. So much more comfortable than an ice bath!! - 3/23/2011   10:53:24 AM
    At the moment, I only use the foam roller for self myofascial release. I haven't used it in particular for any of my regular exercises. When I was working on a pilates reformer, I was using the foam rollers for several balance and core exercises then. I miss working out on a reformer. My PT left for a better job. :(

    May give some of the exercises listed a try to see what I think. We'll keep you posted.

    - 3/23/2011   10:04:40 AM
  • 18
    excited to use my FR with these exercises! Thank you! - 3/23/2011   10:00:50 AM
  • 17
    Thanks am taking my roller to NYC next week end for the More 1/2 - will incorporate some exercise with my muscle releases! Wish me luck! - 3/23/2011   8:36:36 AM
  • 16
    never tried it, never thought to try it...until now! Wow! Amazing what all you can do with this now that someone like you were able to give us some great ideas! Thanks for this blog, Nancy! - 3/23/2011   7:34:48 AM
  • 15
    just bought one today, so all these tips will really help - 3/23/2011   12:25:29 AM
    Thanks for the tips! - 3/22/2011   10:54:04 PM
  • 13
    I will have to try it.
    - 3/22/2011   10:39:14 PM
    As part of my plantar fasciitis PT, they used a foam roller. It made me a convert and I am now a greatful owner of my own. Thanks for these other ideas to use it! - 3/22/2011   9:53:17 PM
  • 11
    Thanks. I certainly want to start using a FR since at my age I need the benefit. - 3/22/2011   8:38:26 PM
  • 10
    I just bought a foam roller and planned to use it mostly for myofascial release but I'm going to do some of these exercises too. Thanks. - 3/22/2011   3:34:56 PM
  • 9
    I am going to look for these in the next couple days. I like new exercises and to change up to keep things new and not boring. Thanks! I find so many great things in spark blogs! - 3/22/2011   2:43:25 PM
    I have never hear of these. I will look into them. - 3/22/2011   1:06:53 PM
  • 7
    I will invest in a foam roller. I like to do my exercises with different tools like the resistance band and step and weights, so this will be a nice addition to my exercise paraphernalia. Thanks! - 3/22/2011   12:33:37 PM
  • 6
    Great blog. I love working out with the foam rollers!! - 3/22/2011   11:55:54 AM
  • 5
    I love my foam roller and use it everyday. I take one on trips with me. I've done your 5 minute video before and found it challenging. One area that I like working is the muscles on my side below my armpit. I get very tight in the whole upper back region and my massage therapist showed my how tight I was there as well. - 3/22/2011   11:44:45 AM
  • 4
    Thanks, I never knew I could do all of these exercises with my roller! - 3/22/2011   11:38:37 AM
  • 3
    I ordered my foam roller from Amazon and love it. I use it everyday! - 3/22/2011   11:38:36 AM
  • 2
    Where do you buy foam rollers? - 3/22/2011   11:33:49 AM
  • 1
    I love my foam roller. . .this is a great blog thank you. - 3/22/2011   11:04:10 AM

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