Are You Using Your Foam Roller Correctly?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/8/2012 6:00 PM   :  27 comments   :  21,678 Views

If you've ever used a foam roller, then you probably have a love-hate relationship with it (I know I do!). You love it because it works, but you hate it because it hurts. I liken it to a good massage. When you're "rolling out" on a foam roller, it hurts so good.
 
For those who have never massaged their sore or tight muscles with a foam roller, here is a series of videos I created to teach you the ropes!
 
How and Why to Use a Foam Roller
Watch this super short video to learn the basics (and where you'll find one if you want to buy one). If the embedded video below isn't working, click here.
 

 
As you learned, you can exercise on or with a foam roller, or use it for massaging your sore muscles (more on that below). Both are very worthy causes! Here's a complete list of exercise and Myofascial release demos available for free at SparkPeople.com.
 
Sample Workout: Firm Your Booty with a Foam Roller
Like the introductory video above mentioned, you can use a foam roller in a lot of ways. Think of it like a balance board or stability ball. It will add challenge to your core (and balance) when you exercise on its round surface. Here's a super short butt workout you can try with a foam roller. If the embedded video below isn't working, click here.
 

 
Sample Move: IT Band Release
This is a must-do for any runner. You've never felt your IT band like this before! But it's a great technique for any exerciser to learn the ropes of foam rolling (aka Myofascial release).  If the embedded video below isn't working, click here.
 

 
Are you a fan of foam rollers? What is your favorite way to use a foam roller?





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Comments

  • 27
    I recently tried "rolling out" at a local gym. It was pretty painful but I could also feel the difference after using it. Sadly, this gym is quite expensive and I can't join. I might just get my own roller and try to do it myself. - 6/2/2014   10:12:25 AM
  • 26
    I lie on mine lengthwise (like #13) and use it to stretch and relax my shoulders. Then I gradually shift myself backwards about one vertebra at a time, pausing and feeling the stretch, until my head and shoulders are resting on the floor. It helps keep my back and next flexible. I also have a special hard rubber wedge that has a similar effect, but it's a little more aggressive. - 2/16/2012   4:01:38 PM
  • 25
    I hyper-extended my knee 5 months ago. An xray shows no breaks or tears, but after 5 months it's still sore. So a physical therapist suggested a foam roller. I bought one online and it definitely hurts when I use it, but it feels so much better afterwards. My knee seems to be getting much better since I got my foam roller. - 2/12/2012   3:54:28 PM
  • 24
    I don't use mine as often as I should, but it's such a good tool! - 2/10/2012   1:37:55 PM
  • 23
    I use a styrofoam roller (super firm) at the gym as my preworkout warmup (15-20 minutes). At the start - it hurt six-ways from Sunday...but now even the IT-band rolling feels good-ish.

    It took a couple years of use, but I love it and have just begun exploring the exercises that also use the foam roller. - 2/10/2012   1:36:40 PM
  • 22
    I just bought a foam roller and can't wait to try it out. - 2/10/2012   10:03:21 AM
  • 21
    only a sadistic psycho loves their foam roller, however they are a useful tool. :) - 2/9/2012   8:22:55 PM
  • 20
    I can't stop thinking about the old foam hair rollers! LOL - 2/9/2012   1:58:15 PM
  • 19
    I love to roll my back and piriformis muscles! IT band, not so much! It HURTS! I was introduced to the foam roller by my PT after developing ITBS. I've never been a fan of the foam roller for my IT band - likely b/c it's never gotten fully released... - 2/9/2012   12:07:21 PM
  • 18
    My foam roller is the best piece of exercise equipment I own. I love to use it for stretching after a long bike ride or run. It also helps strengthen my core. - 2/9/2012   11:59:32 AM
  • 17
    I have used on when I was in therapy. They never explained exactly why it would help just that my IT band had many nodules (not sure of spelling) and this would help remove them. I was even told that if I don't have a foam roller at home I could us a rolling pin to help with the IT band. I tried it and didn't like using the rolling pin.

    The foam roller may be painful but well worth the pain. Now I think I will invest a foam roller. - 2/9/2012   11:35:23 AM
  • CIRANDELLA
    16
    Aha...well, the last time I checked, my hair was still straight, and my body was still curly, so I must've been using it all wrong... - 2/9/2012   10:15:23 AM
  • 15
    Hmmmm! - 2/9/2012   9:30:28 AM
  • 14
    I would love to have one but I'm just crazy with buying equipment. I'm waiting for about a month and my next piece will be a bigger kettlebell (the 26lber). - 2/9/2012   8:46:41 AM
  • 13
    If you lie lengthwise (pillow under your head) atop the roller and let your shoulders rest back, it's a great spine straightener. Physical therapist recommends doing this several times a day! - 2/9/2012   7:49:51 AM
  • 12
    I watched each video - I bought the foam roller for IT band issues -- and painful!! This reinforced that I need to use it more often.
    I was watching Coach Nicole do the bridge with the roller and talk in a controlled manner - I know my experience would be much different as I'm still struggling to get strong. That really brought home the term "fitness expert" to me, and I think I'd like to work myself off the "complete novice" level . . . . . - 2/9/2012   7:36:05 AM
  • 123ELAINE456
    11
    This is my first introduction of the foam roller. Would like to get one to see what it can do for me. Will check prices etc. Can't wait to get one. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. - 2/9/2012   4:54:36 AM
  • 10
    As a doorstop or corner decoration LOL - 2/9/2012   12:42:18 AM
  • 9
    At 62 I know it is a worth while item for me to use. - 2/9/2012   12:10:40 AM
  • MISSKRISMAE
    8
    I love my foam roller! Used one at the gym for the first time last month and decided to purchase my own. It's a great massage for my legs, especially my IT band, which is where it is the most painful for me (but where I need it the most). I usually use it before going to bed; it helps me feel relaxed so I can fall asleep. - 2/8/2012   11:22:35 PM
  • 7
    my Foam roller hates me (get off you fat bastard) - 2/8/2012   9:57:50 PM
  • 6
    I love using the foam roller, but since I don't actually own one the rolling pin works wonders, too. - 2/8/2012   9:36:09 PM
  • 5
    MF Release with a foam roller is sometimes known as "massage for the masses" - treatment without the high dollar cost. I first thought that using a foam roller had to hurt in order to be effective, but that isn't true. Think about it in the same way you learn to play your edge in yoga. Go too far, and injury and great discomfort are right around the corner. Patiently learn how to relax and set up your body in a way that enhances your movement, and the stretching / strengthening is much more effective.

    There may be something new and different about using foam rollers and other tools (tennis balls, padded cylinders, devices with handles) for MF release -- but it doesn't and shouldn't hurt in order to achieve results.

    Another point -- like other parts of your strength / stretch routine, regular practice can maintain the benefits, as long as you actually do it. - 2/8/2012   8:28:54 PM
  • 4
    love them when the right person is using it on me. I'm not so good at really geting the muscles by myself. - 2/8/2012   8:09:58 PM
  • 3
    Love foam rollers for my lower back! - 2/8/2012   8:03:38 PM
  • 2
    I received a roller for Christmas and have not yet used it. This blog gives me just the push I needed so I'll be trying these out in tomorrow's workout. Thx! - 2/8/2012   7:32:24 PM
  • 1
    I just got a foam roller this week...still getting used to it! - 2/8/2012   7:12:03 PM

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