Foam Roller Exercises for the Ultimate Recovery


The foam roller is really the unsung hero of the exercise equipment world. You’ve probably seen them in the studio or stacked in the stretching area of your gym, but if you’ve never used one before, your poor muscles are missing out!

These long, cylindrical rollers of varying textures are used to perform self-myofascial release, working on trigger points to relieve muscle tightness and soothe sore spots. Traditional stretching will stretch and elongate muscles, but a foam roller will help to actually break up knots, allowing normal blood flow to resume, resulting in optimal function. We’ve put together our favourite (and most effective) foam roller exercises which will have you moving freely in no time.

Our Top Tips for Best Results:

  • Make sure you move through each exercise for a minimum of 30 seconds (on both sides if required).
  • If you find an extra sticky and sore spot, hold your weight on that spot for a few deep breaths until you feel some release. Then slowly starting moving back into a massage.
  • Don’t forget to breathe! Foam Rolling increases circulation, so you want to keep the Oxygen flowing. It will also help with those extra sore bits 😉
  • The more you practice, the better the results! We recommend twice per week if you can (or jump into a Power PHIT or Reset & Realign class which both have a release within the class).
1. Chest Expansion & Upper Back Extension

Foam Roller Chest Expansion & Upper Back Extension

Place foam roller just below the shoulder blades and let your body extend over the shape of the roller keep your tailbone on the ground.

 

 

Tips:

If your head doesn’t reach the floor, either place your hands behind your head for support or pop a cushion under your head so as to not strain the neck

Great for:

A long day at the desk as it will counteract all that hunching forward over your computer!

2. Upper Back Release

Foam Roller Upper Back Release

Place the Foam Roller across your shoulder blades and with your hands behind your head to support your neck, lift your hips up off the floor so you are in a bridge-like position. Using your legs, push yourself forward and back so the foam roller massages your Upper Back.

 

Tips:

Make sure you move right from the top of the shoulders down to the bottom ribs and try angling side to side to further increase the reach of the massage.

Great for:

All the time! Our lives are leading us more and more towards forward postures thanks to computers and smart phones! This one will also feel glorious and you’ll feel taller in no time.

3. Calf Release

Foam Roller Calf Release

Seated with legs long, put the foam roller under both ankles and then cross one ankle on top of the other. Lift your hips off the floor using your arms and then push yourself forward and back massaging your calves. Repeat with other ankle on top.

 

Tips:

If holding your body weight off the floor is too much for your shoulders, keep your hips down and slide across the floor instead (most effective on hard floors).

Great for:

Runners who suffer from tight calves and Achilles, but also anyone who lacks mobility in their ankles and feet.

4. ITB & Side Leg Release

Foam Roller ITB & Side Leg Release

Place the foam roller underneath the side of your hip with legs stacked on top of each other and place either your hand or forearm on the floor for support. Roll your weight up and down so that the foam roller is reaching from the top of the hip right down to the top of the knee.

 

Tips:

If the pressure is too much, bend your top knee and place the foot on the floor in front of your body to take some weight off the foam roller.

Great For:

Anyone who suffers from knee niggles that may be caused by tracking issues.

5. Glute Release

Foam Roller Glute Release

Sit on the foam roller with your legs bent in front of you and then cross 1 ankle over the opposite knee like a Figure 4 Stretch. Turn slightly towards the side of the lifted leg and move forward and back on the foam roller to massage the Glutes.

 

Tips:

Be sure to massage right from the top of the pelvis (almost into the lower back) and right down to the sit bones as well as to the side to ensure you are massaging ALL parts of your glutes.

Great for:

Waking up the backside and increasing circulation after a day seated. Glute release can also sometimes help to relieve lower back tightness.

6. Quad Release

Foam Roller Quad Release

Starting in a kneeling position with the foam roller in front of you, walk your hands forward until the front of the thighs are resting on the foam roller. Using your arms, push yourself forward and back on the Foam Roller to massage the entire of the front of the thighs from the hips to the top of the knee.

Tips:

Try internally and externally rotating from the hips to ensure you are reaching all muscles in the front of the leg.

Great for:

Soothing sore muscles after a tough workout! Also great for countering the effects of sitting all day.