Foam Rolling 101

Foam Roller Top Trainer Guide

Why Foam Roll?

Just like every athlete needs a healthy recovery meal, every hard working body needs a foam roller. As we workout our muscles develop micro-tears.  We can use the roller to apply pressure to sensitive areas in their muscles-sometimes called trigger points, knots, or areas of increased muscle density.

Benefits of Foam Rolling:

  • Decreases muscle stiffness
  • Breaks up adhesions and scar tissue which improves muscle extensibility
  • Increases blood flow to the muscle
  • Reduces soreness from workouts
  • Increases short-term flexibility to improve workout performance

Before You Start:

Foam rolling is hard work. Some positions feel great while other muscles that are tight and need myofascial release will be “painful.” Don’t forget to breathe.  If you have never used a foam roller, we suggest working with an experienced personal trainer, physical therapist, or coach who can show you proper form and technique.

Foam Rolling Different Areas of the body:

LATERAL THIGH:

Muscle focus: Vastus lateralis, Iliotibial band

IT Band Foam Rolling Gif

Roll from the pelvis down the outside of the leg. Use your left leg to control the amount of pressure. Use the opposite leg to balance and move back and forth

Top Trainer Tip:

The ITBand is a thick section of fascia, with very little blood flow. Its not recommended to roll directly on the ITBand but rotate the body forward or back to roll over the muscles along the ITband.


POSTERIOR HIP:

Muscle focus: Piriformis, gluteus maximus

Foam Roll Hips & Butt Gif

The affected leg is crossed to place the hip rotator group in an elongated position. Use the opposite leg to move your body back and forth slowly. As a general rule of thumb, 10 slow rolls are done in each position

Top Trainer Tip:

Do not roll over your sacrum or coccyx (tailbone)


HAMSTRINGS:

Muscle focus: Semitendonosus, Semimembranosus, Biceps femoris

Foam Roll Hamstrings Gif

Start by sitting on the roller, using your arms to right below the bony protrusion at the top of your legs. Turn slightly to the right or left to focus more on the inside or outside of the hamstrings. Roll down your leg until right above the back of your knee. DO NOT roll over the back of your knee.

Top Trainer Tip:

For added pressure, cross one leg over the other to push down on the treated leg.


INNER THIGH:

Muscle focus: Adductor magnus, Sartorius, Vastus medialis

Foam Roll Inside Leg Gif

Place the roller near your knee inside your thigh. Roll up towards the “groin,” stopping on any trigger points.

Top Trainer Tip:

A general rule of thumb is to spend 20 seconds on each tender spot. When you take deep breaths in and out, you allow the entire body to relax, improving the benefit for the affected muscle.


ANTERIOR THIGH:

Muscle focus: Quadriceps femoris, rectus femoris, sartorius

Foam Roll Quads Gif

Roll from the bottom of the pelvis to above the knee joint, using your upper body and core to keep your spine in neutral.

Top Trainer Tip:

Go slower so that the superficial layers and muscles have time to adapt and manage the compression. DO NOT roll over the knee.


CALVES:

Muscle focus: Gastrocnemis, soleus

Foam Roll Calves Gif

Use your upper body strength to balance your lower legs perpendicular to the foam roller. Roll from the achilles tendon to the top of the muscle belly.

Top Trainer Tip:

To increase pressure cross one leg over the other and press down with the top leg.


LATS:

Muscle Focus:  Latissimus Dorsi

Foam Roll Lats Gif

Lay with your side on the foam roller with your arm extended out.   You should just be above the bottom of your ribs.  Slowly roll up to your shoulder to your armpit.

Top Trainer Tip:

Most people have muscle tightness by the shoulder blade.  Spend around 20 seconds at a time in this area.


UPPER PECTORALS:

Muscle focus: Pectoralis Major and Minor

Foam Roll Chest Gif

Lay face down on the foam roller just above the armpit area.  Press your chest firmly into the roller with small movements.

Top Trainer Tip:

Spend some time on each sore spot, 15-20 seconds each.


UPPER BACK:

Muscle focus: Rhomboids, Middle trap, erector spinae, Latissimus dorsi

Foam Roll Upper Back Gif

Start with the roller positioned appropriately as shown in the picture. Slowly move your body over the roller by “walking” with your feet.

Top Trainer Tip:

Do not roll lower than your ribs.

By Top Trainer