Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Foam rolling exercises have so many benefits and I highly recommend them.  Have you tried foam rolling yet?  Foam rolling has been the go-to cool-down method I used to recover after workouts, destress, break up knots, and feel better.

Foam rolling has been helping me so much which is why I’m sharing the benefits, tips, and the best foam rolling exercises so you can experience the magic, too.

 

 

What is Foam Rolling?

 

A foam roller is a cylinder-shaped ‘roll’ made of dense foam.  It’s kind of like a large rolling pin without handles but for the body… not baking.

Foam rollers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and can have various levels of firmness and texture.  The most popular and beneficial rollers are either smooth or textured.

  • Smooth rollers are most common foam rollers.  They have a smooth, dense surface. They’re best for beginners and advanced exercisers alike.  This option isn’t as intense as textured options and is also less expensive.
  • Textured foam rollers have raised bumps, grooves, and spikes on them. These types of foam rollers dig deeper into muscles and are used to work out stubborn knots, adhesions, and tension.  Textured rollers are more painful than smooth rollers.

 

Plain Black Foam Roller

This is the foam roller I use.  I got mine from Amazon.  It’s 36″.  I find that the wider roller gives me the most stability and surface area to roll around on.

 

Foam Rolling Benefits

 

I recommend foam rolling for a lot of reasons.

Foam rolling has a lot of benefits including:

  • Reducing sore muscles and breaking up adhesions (aka knots) that happen from exercise, stress, and poor posture.
  • Promotes relaxation and stress relief.
  • Reducing inflammation.
  • Helps prevent injuries by improving muscle tension and tightness.
  • Increases blood flow to muscle tissue, joints, and fascia which helps with mobility, the sense of well-being, and can help create a smoother appearance of fat underneath your skin.
  • You can even foam roll specifically to reduce and rehabilitate muscles and reduce joint pain.  Please note, the foam rolling exercises and tips I’m sharing are intended as a cool down for post-workout recovery and stress & tension relief – not to rehabilitate or reduce pain from an injury.

 

Foam rolling exercises benefit people that sit at a desk all day, have poor posture, stress, joint issues, and active exercisers.  Plus, foam rolling exercises are super easy and make you feel great.

 

trainer Christina Carlyle demonstrating 8 different foam rolling exercises and text that says the best foam rolling exercises for women

 

FOAM ROLLING TIPS FOR THE BEST RESULTS

 

Here are some foam rolling tips.

  • To foam roll you simply roll your body on top of the roller.  Unlike a rolling pin when rolling out dough… When foam rolling you’re on top of the roller and you push down on top of it instead of being rolled on.
  • Start with light pressure and build up as you get used to foam rolling.  To lessen the pressure you can split the stance of your hands and feet.  This helps distribute weight more evenly across the roller.  You can also roll with two legs to reduce pressure on the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. (Which I do in the demo)  Also, using your hands to push your upper body off of the ground – instead of keeping your upper body low, keeps the core engaged which helps keep the pressure off of leg muscles and stretches and works the core, too. (This is what I try to do for all foam rolling exercises that have me facing downward)
  • It may be painful to foam roll especially if your muscles are super tight… if you skip warm-ups/cool down’s I’m talking to you.  If you find a knot, it’s best to concentrate on the knot area for 30-60 seconds.
  • To modify for pain, reduce the amount of body weight and pressure you’re putting onto the roller. For example, if you’re rolling out your calf, use your arms to help support your body and take some of your body weight off of the roller.
  • Start by slowly rolling for 10-20 seconds.  As you progress you can work your way up to 45 to 60 seconds.
  • After your session is over drink plenty of water to help flush out the byproducts and acids that were released from rolling.

 

THE BEST FOAM ROLLING EXERCISES

 

Here are some of my go-to foam rolling exercises.  You’ll notice there aren’t any foam rolling exercises for the arms.  That’s because I find that a foam roller is too big for such a small muscle group.  Plus the position to foam roll the arms is awkward and can hurt the back and neck.

A smaller massage stick would work better BUT you’d need both arms to use it which isn’t possible to do yourself.  For arms, I recommend skipping foam rolling and sticking to traditional arm stretches or using a tennis ball.

 

 

The instructions for the foam rolling exercises below are all the same.

  • Get in into position, then roll back and forth in a controlled, slow, but steady pace.
  • Roll for 15-30 seconds on sore areas.
  • Work your way up to 30-60 seconds.
  • You can do 3 sets of 15 seconds to maximize the benefits.
  • For the exercises that you see me in a plank position, you can modify these and do them on your forearms.  I use the full plank position to engage my core more.

 

I hope you enjoyed these foam rolling exercises.

Have you tried foam rolling yet?  How did you like it?  Let me know in the comments.

Your Coach and Biggest Cheerleader,

 

 

 

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