How to Use a Foam Roller for Myofascial Release
By Elizabeth Quinn, About.com Guide
Using a foam roller is simple, but working some areas may take a bit of practice and some body contortion. You start by finding a relatively open area with some floor space. Position your body with the area you want to work on top of the foam roller. Your body weight creates the pressure that massages and releases tight spots in the fascia. You control the pressure by applying more or less body weight on the foam roller and using your hands and feet to offset your weight as needed. It’s helpful to try a variety of positions and see what works best for you.
Tips for Using a Foam Roller
- Always check with your doctor before using a foam roller for myofascial release.
- Perform foam roller sessions when your muscles are warm or after a workout.
- Position the roller under the soft tissue area you want to release or loosen.
- Gently roll your body weight back and forth across the roller while targeting the affected muscle.
- Move slowly and work from the center of the body out toward your extremities.
- If you find a particularly painful area (trigger point), hold that position until the area softens.
- Focus on areas that are tight or have reduced range of motion.
- Roll over each area a few times until you feel it relax. Expect some discomfort. It may feel very tender or bruised at first.
- Stay on soft tissue and avoid rolling directly over bone or joints.
- Keep your first few foam roller sessions short. About 15 minutes is all you need.
- Rest a day between sessions when you start.
- Drink plenty of water after a session, just as you would after a sports massage.
- After a few weeks you can increase your session time and frequency if you choose.
- Do not use a foam roller without your physician’s approval if your have any heart or vascular illness or a chronic pain condition.
To get started or learn new, effective ways to grow your workout, download the Foam Rolling Guide with techniques, pictures and clear instructions.