How To Use A Foam Roller

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Physical Therapy

Foam rollers are among the most popular recovery tools for helping athletes recover after competing, or average gym-goers ease those aching muscles following a workout. Foam rollers have proven very effective in easing muscle tension, relaxing joints, and speeding up recovery times. Different techniques accomplish different things; learning how, when, and why to use a foam roller with EIM Personal Training can help you bounce back after a tough workout, or improve general flexibility, 

How To Use A Foam Roller

Foam Rolling is among the latest trends in workout recovery. Neither the science nor the technique behind foam rolling tired muscles or joints is new, but the products for accomplishing these ends are. Discover how to use a foam roller effectively to relieve muscle tension, improve flexibility, and aid in post-workout recovery. Find out how this versatile physical therapy tool can enhance your overall well-being and promote muscle health. 

Step 1: Find the Foam Roller That’s Right for You

Finding the right foam roller can seem difficult given how many products are out there today. Some are simple dense foam cylinders, while others are textured. For more targeted muscle and joint treatment, size options also vary. Some smaller foam rollers can focus on one muscle group allowing you to get to the root of the soreness or pain quickly. 

Step 2: Find the problem area or tired muscles

Pinpointing where your pain, discomfort, or soreness is coming from is the first step in treating those aches and pains with a foam roller. The most common areas that foam rollers help are the lower back and legs which are prone to stiffness and soreness after a workout or injury. 

Foam rollers can also be used on the upper back and even the shoulders as long as your technique is on point. Keep reading to see how to roll out those aches and pains. 

Using the Foam Roller 

To a new user, a foam roller can be painful at first, so easing into treatment is probably your best bet. This means that gentle, rather than intense treatment, is probably best when you’re first starting out using a foam roller. 

To begin, control your body so that the targeted muscle or area is centered on the foam roller. Once you are properly lined up, lower your body onto the foam roller and begin rolling back and forth over the target area. As we’ve said, this will probably be uncomfortable at first, but the results of treatment are worth the initial discomfort. 

Continue this for 20-30 seconds at a time. Note that although rolling back and forth can provide more relief, simply applying pressure to the problem area with the foam roller can have positive effects as well. Just listen to your body; discomfort is OK, pain is not. 

Common Foam Roller Exercises

As we’ve said, foam rollers can treat a lot of areas of the body. The most common target areas are the legs and back. Let’s look at some common exercises that can help relieve soreness and improve flexibility after just one use. 

For sore quadriceps, lie flat with your thighs on the foam roller. Roll back and forth over your quads one leg at a time. You should prop yourself up with your elbows so that not all of your weight is resting on one leg at any point. This will help prevent accidental painful uses of the device. Repeat this with the next leg as long as soreness persists. If you’re in pain, reach out to EIM Personal Training. We’re here to help.

The Hamstring is also a popular target area for foam roller users. The premise of rolling out the hamstrings is the same as it is for the quadriceps. For this exercise, however, prop yourself up either with your elbows or hands and roll out each hamstring for 20-30 seconds repeating as symptoms linger. This is a great way to beat soreness after running. 

The back is probably the most self-explanatory area to target with a foam roller. To use the foam roller this way, simply lie down on the device and roll the entirety of your back on the foam roller. You may hear your back pop during this treatment method which is completely normal. Rolling out your back each day can help improve flexibility and circulation immensely. 

EIM Personal Training

Foam rollers are among the fastest-growing recovery tools for athletes and those looking to improve their soreness levels or general flexibility. This article is far from exhaustive for all the ways you can use a foam roller to improve your health. Research for yourself and see how this simple device can change your fitness journey and your lifestyle.  

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