How to Use a Foam Roller the Right Way

Using a foam roller offers plenty of great benefits for your body. It’s a fantastic and inexpensive piece of equipment that can help work out the knots in your muscles while also improving your circulation and reducing stress.

A foam roller is a great tool to help prevent exercise-related injuries by prepping muscles before engaging in strenuous activities. Plus, using a foam roller after your workout will help you with recovery and limit your soreness.

Regularly using a foam roller can improve flexibility – so it’s worth adding to your health and wellness regime!

To get you started, check out the following tips that will help guide you toward completing an effective foam rolling.

woman rolling her calves
man rolling his IT band

Don't Roll for Too Long

It may feel like you need to work on those knots, but rolling for too long can work against injury prevention and increase tissue inflammation. Spend 30 seconds max on trigger points and 60-90 seconds rolling out the area for the most beneficial results. It’s also important to be patient while you roll out your muscles and not go through each section of your body too quickly. Taking your time will help your muscles relax and ultimately allow for an increase in circulation, range of motion, and overall flexibility.

Keep Breathing

Be mindful of your breathing during your foam rolling session. It’s important to keep breathing at an average pace (even on those sore spots!) to oxygenate the muscle consistently. Holding your breath will cause your body to tense up and leave you with a massage that isn’t as deep and refreshing as it could’ve been.

Don't Roll Over Joints

The purpose of a foam roller is to relieve soft-tissue tension – so don’t roll over any bony parts of your body! Doing so can cause your joints to hyper-extend and leave you in more pain. Avoid your ankles, elbows, hips, knees, and shins to dodge unwanted injuries.

Avoid Rolling Your Lower Back

Many of us hold a lot of tension in our lower back, so using the foam roller on this area may seem like a great idea. However, in this case, using a foam roller to relieve lower back pain isn’t a good move. Why? Well, it can increase the pressure on discs and vertebrae and lead your spinal muscles to spasm to try and protect the spine. Save yourself from more pain and stretch your lower back for relief. You can also try rolling out muscles like the piriformis, hamstrings, and hip flexors to help release any pressure and tension in your lower back.

Roll Around the Pain

Although rolling can sometimes be uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean you should be pushing into painful points on your body. If you feel pain, roll over the surrounding areas, as the pain may stem from imbalances in other areas. You’re more likely to harm than help yourself if you go straight for the painful spot. For instance, instead of painfully rolling over your Iliotibial band (IT band), try rolling your tensor fascia latae (TFL), which is the muscle that attaches to the IT band. Your TFL lies from the top of your pelvis to just above the bony prominence below your hip – so give it some attention!

Book an Appointment Today!

Contact us if you have any questions or need a consultation.

Please book an appointment with one of Innovation Physical Therapy’s experienced physiotherapists by calling one of our clinics in Edmonton, including RiverbendBelvedere, Namao, or our newest clinic in Southgate Centre.

If you have any further questions, contact Innovation Physical Therapy today. We’re here to help you, “Love Getting Better!”