Foam Rolling

Summary

Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique. It can help relieve muscle tightness, soreness, and inflammation, and increase your joint range of motion. Foam rolling can be an effective tool to add to your warm-up or cooldown, before and after exercise. And the benefits of foam rolling may vary from person to person.

How to Use a Foam Roller

Using a foam roller can be uncomfortable so it’s better to be too gentle, rather than too intense, when you’re starting out learning how to use a roller. You can adjust your intensity as you learn how your body responds. Generally, you’re looking for that “it hurts so good” level of discomfort. Pushing past discomfort into real pain won’t speed up results, but it will risk injury. You can actually bruise muscles by rolling too intensely.

Follow these steps to use your foam roller:

  1. Pinpoint the sore or tight area of your muscle.
  2. Control your body as you slowly lower the targeted area so it’s centered above the roller.
  3. Lower your body onto the foam roller until you reach a point of discomfort (but not pain) and hold it there.
  4. Hold for 20–30 seconds
  5. The pressure alone provides benefits, but you can also roll slowly back and forth to further stimulate the area.
  6. Continue to move slowly along the muscle with the roller, stopping and holding in the areas that need more focus.

As you’re using your foam roller, experiment with slight adjustments to your body position in order to find the most effective technique. Also, remember to breathe. Many people get so fixated on the sensation of massaging a painful knot that they forget to even take a breath.

Primary Muscles

Secondary Muscles

Difficulty Level

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