Easy foam roller exercises you can do at home

25 May 2017

If you've never heard of foam rollers or if you just have no idea why you would want use one, your life is about to be turned upside down. Foam rolling is a type of self-myofascial release in which pressure is applied to certain body parts to relieve pain. Simply put, it is a great alternative to getting a full body massage and it even has the all the same benefits.

When you roll, fibrous tissue is broken down, circulation is boosted and this helps you relieve tension and pain, just like getting a massage would. It is a great way to work on your knots or trigger points by yourself.

What Are the Benefits of Foam Rolling?

  • Breaking up scar tissue and adhesions between the skin, muscles and bone
  • Improving mobility and flexibility
  • Helping in removing lactic acid and speeding up your post-workout recovery
  • Improving blood circulation and helping with injury recovery

Basic Exercise Guidelines

  • It is recommended to use a foam roller once your muscles are already warm, so do a quick warm-up before starting
  • Perform each exercise by rolling back and forth for 20 to 30 seconds before moving on
  • Breathe deeply and slowly, focusing on every inhale and exhale at a time 
  • When you find a knot or a trigger point, stop rolling and apply pressure for 30 seconds before
  • moving on
  • If you are new to foam rolling, only perform the exercises once every other day for the first two or three weeks

Here are some of the most popular exercises you can do at home, all by yourself.

1. Middle and Lower Back Roll

Sit on the floor, plant your feet and keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place the roller on the lower back, just above the waistline, and lift the buttocks.

Lower your upper body, raise your hands off the floor and slowly roll the roller toward your upper back by increasingly bending your knees.

Foam Roller Back Massage

2. Laterals Roll

Lie on the side, supporting yourself with your lower arm, and position the roller just above your hip on the lateral muscles. Keep your lower leg straight and your upper leg bent with the foot planted behind you.

Slowly roll upward while maintaining your balance by placing your upper arm in front of you. Roll up and down in this position, and then change sides.

Foam Roller laterals Massage

3. Buttocks and Hamstring Roll

Sit on the floor, supporting yourself with both your hands, and place the foam roller under your buttocks. Place one foot on the ground and extend the other one.

Lightly raise the bent leg and turn it outward.  Roll back and forth in this position, with the roller under the buttocks, then changes sides.

Foam Roller Buttocks Massage

4. Calf and Achilles Tendon Roll

Sit on the floor by supporting yourself firmly with your hands behind you and the roller positioned under your calves.

Slowly roll over the entire calf region, making sure you shift your legs lightly from left to right, ensuring the entire calf is massaged. 

Foam Roller Calf Massage

5. Outer Thigh Roll

Get in a side plank position and place the roller under the outer thigh of your lower leg.  Prop the upper body by almost entirely extending your arms and plant the upper leg in front of you for support.

Slowly roll back and forth with the help of your arms and upper leg. Make sure you work the entire area from your hip to your knee. Then change sides.

Foam Roller Thigh Massage

For a short guide on all foam rolling basics, check out this video:

What Do I Need to Perform These Exercises?

All you need is a small carpeted space in your home (or you can simply use a yoga mat) and a foam roller. There are many, many foam rollers to choose from out there, in a range of different lengths, textures and levels of firmness. Choosing the right foam roller for you depends on your needs – for example an ultramarathon runner will probably need a firmer foam roller than someone who is just using a foam roller as part of their everyday yoga routine.

Our Top Foam Roller Recommendations

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