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Foam Rolling and Why YOU Need To Add This To Your Program

Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling or Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) is a safe and effective way to improve the tone of a muscles and break down muscle adhesion’s (you know the feeling when you’ve smashed your legs on a big run or with lots of squats or lunges and they feel quite hard and bumpy?) If you can imagine all your muscles are surrounded by a glad wrap, called fascia. When we exercise, muscle is broken down and small tears are made (in a good way! don’t think painful shredding muscles) This enables our muscles to get bigger and grow. These little micro tears in the muscle become trapped in the fascia and need to be “smoothed” or “rolled
 out. If you think leaving them will eventually fix the soreness, you are unfortunately wrong. It just leads to more problems down the road such as muscle imbalance, reduced flexibility (limiting what types of exercises you can perform) and pain. What the foam roller aims to do is smooth out these adhesion’s and aid recovery.  While stretching allows muscles to lengthen, this lengthening can sometimes lead to injury. Foam rolling ensures recovery is speedy and muscle imbalances are corrected.  

I recommend everyone foam roll, if you are not already doing so.

How do you foam roll?

You use a high density foam roller (generally 10cm x 90cms) on your whole body before and after a workout. Available from New Outlook Fitness  $55 plus postage

I generally get clients (and myself) to start on their fronts. Place the roller across your quads and slowly roll along the quad. Find the sore spots and stay on them for 45secs- 1min, just keep working your way through the whole body. You’ll experience cracks and creaks, this is perfectly normal and saves you going to the chiro for an adjustment!

Here are the spots I recommend you try rolling:


Body is positioned prone with quadriceps on foam roll.  It is very important to maintain proper Core control (abdominal Drawn-In position & tight gluteals) to prevent low back compensations.  Roll from pelvic bone to knee, emphasizing the lateral thigh

 ITB (iliotibial band) 

Particularly good if you are a runner and experience sore knees. Position yourself side lying on foam roll.  Bottom leg is raised slightly off floor or just touching depending on pain level.  Maintain head in “neutral” with ears aligned with shoulders.  Roll just below hip joint down the lateral thigh to the knee.

TFL (Tensor Fasicae Latae) 

Great to reduce hip flexor pain and aid back pain
Position the body as shown below.  Foam roll is placed just lateral to the anterior (front) pelvic bone

 Glutes (Piriformis) 

These get tight and sore from squats and lunges. Roll these to improve ROM (range of movement) Begin positioned as shown with foot crossed to opposite knee.  Roll on the posterior hip area.  Increase the stretch by pulling the knee toward the opposite shoulder


Place hamstrings on the roll with hips unsupported.  Feet are crossed to increase leverage.  
Roll from knee toward posterior hip while keeping quadriceps tightened.


Place calves on the roll with hips unsupported.  Feet are crossed to increase leverage.

Don’t forget the upper body:


Position yourself side lying with arm outstretched and foam roll placed in axillary area.  Thumb is pointed up to pre-stretch the latissumus dorsi muscle.  Movement during this technique is minimal.

Back (upper) 
Don’t go any lower than your navel.
Place Hands either side of head. While maintaining abdominal Draw-In position, raise hips until unsupported.  Also stabilize the head in “neutral.”  Roll mid-back area on the roller.


Lie on roller vertically. Place hands either side of head and hold this one for 1-3mins. maintain neutral spine along the roller also. Great if you sit in front of a computer all day

Ahhhh! Can’t you feel the relief already? Are you a foam roller? Do you rate it’s benefits?

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7 Responses to Foam Rolling and Why YOU Need To Add This To Your Program

  1. Thank you! This was very informative. I know so many people who say great things about foam rolling, but could never really explain to me the benefits…they just kept talking about how great they felt afterwards. Lol.

  2. Great posts, and good to see that I’m doing my foam rolling properly! I haven’t been doing any upperbody (except back) so will give this a go tonight.

    My favourite place to roll is TFL and down the medial side of my quads.

    And you forgot to warn everyone that rolling isn’t exactly a nice feeling – it freaking hurts! But in a good way!

  3. This has been so helpful. I have been told to use foam rollers because I have been running a lot, but I never knew the reason behind it. One question though – does one still need foam rollers even when he/she does yoga?

  4. Thanks the feedback guys! Glad I could help

    Kayla- foam rolling is necessary for everyone and any activity. Yoga is a form of stretching or lengthening. As mention in the article it can lead to injury. I’m not saying don’t stretch or do yoga but foam rolling is another component to add to your routine. You need to break down the muscle adhesions- this is, in my opinion and experience more benefical for recovery

  5. I love foam rolling my ITB’s, it really helps my knee. Very informative will start rolling other areas!

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