10 Effective Foam Roller Exercises To Improve Your Flexibility

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Do you know about the most valuable, inexpensive and versatile exercise equipment that you can get for yourself? It is a Foam Roller, your personal masseuse! Foam roller is used for self-myofascial release, which is a fancy name for self-massage to release muscle tightness. So without much ado, let me tell you all the many benefits of foam-rolling.

Benefits Of Foam Roller Exercises:

Feeling sore after yesterday’s workout? Do some foam rolling to speed up your recovery. The foam roller gives the benefits of a sports massage. It uses deep compression to break up tight muscles and works out the kinks and knots in them. Foam rolling improves blood circulation and reduces inflammation. It also reduces development of scar tissue and joint stress. You can do it anytime you feel like – before a workout, after a workout, while watching TV or just before going to sleep. Some people think that foam rolling is a post-workout exercise. But that is a wrong assumption. You should be doing some rolling before you start your workout too. Foam rolling loosens up your muscles and improves flexibility, which allows you to do your other exercises more effectively.

Top 10 Foam Roller Exercises:

Here are the 10 foam roller exercises that you must include into your routine. We mostly work on our arms, legs and back during our gym sessions, workouts, runs, etc. These exercises cover all your major sore spots. If a spot is too painful, hold and relax for a few minutes and then roll slowly. Go slow through each exercise for 5-10 minutes.

1. Calves:

This move will help your sore calf muscles.

  1. Sit with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Put the foam roller under your knees.
  3. Place your hands beside your hips and lift your butt up in such a way that your lower body is off the ground and supported only by your hands and the roller.
  4. Supporting your weight on your arms, roll back and forth from behind of the knees, just above the ankles. 

2. Hamstrings:

A painful hamstring has got to be one of the worst experiences you can get while working out. This move will provide relief for sure.

  1. Sit straight with your legs extended.
  2. Put the foam roller under your thighs right where your butt ends.
  3. It is as if you are sitting on the roller.
  4. Support your weight on your hand and keep the legs straight.
  5. Your legs do not touch the floor.
  6. Roll back and forth from where your butt ends to the point your knees start.
  7. Keep your legs straight throughout.

3. Quadriceps:

If you are working your quadriceps, then do this exercise while warming up to ensure that you don’t strain your muscles.

  1. Lie down on the floor with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Place the roller under your hips, right where your thighs begin.
  3. Stack your left leg on the right leg and lean on the right one.
  4. Now roll back and forth from hips to knee.
  5. Do the other side similarly.

4. Back:

Bad posture, an old mattress or sitting hours in front of the PC—all can lead to a painful back. Use this exercise to get some relief and also strengthen your back.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent a little and feet on the floor away from your butt.
  2. Place the roller under your lower back.
  3. Place your hands behind your head.
  4. Roll back and forth by sliding your butt near your feet and back again.
  5. The roller rolls from the lower back to the upper back and vice versa.
  6. Do not crane your neck or look towards your legs during this move. It can put stress on the spine.

5. Outer Thighs or IT Band:

Our legs work so hard! This exercise is the perfect way to pamper them a little.

  1. Get into a side plank and place the roller under your left hip.
  2. Bend your right leg and place that foot before the left leg which is straightened in the side plank. Also, put both the hands on the floor to support your weight.
  3. Roll back and forth from the hip to where your thigh ends. Do the other side similarly.

6. Butt:

Work your butt muscles before you start working out to prevent any injuries. You can also use this exercise post workout to relax your muscles.

  1. Sit on the roller with your hands and feet on the floor.
  2. Now lift your left leg and place that ankle over the right thigh.
  3. You have to support your weight on your hands and one foot.
  4. Roll your butt back and forth on the roller from where it starts to where it ends.
  5. Do the other side also.

7. Lats:

This move works on your latissimusdorsi muscles or lats.

  1. Lie down on your right side and place the roller under your right armpit with that hand extended overhead.
  2. Bend your left knee and put that foot on the floor.
  3. Now roll back and forth all over your flank by straightening and bending that left knee.
  4. Do the other side also.

8. Shins:

Follow the steps to do the shins effectively.

  1. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees.
  2. Place the roller under your shins just below the knees.
  3. Now arch your back up towards the sky in the cat pose and bring your knees towards your hands.
  4. This will roll the roller towards your ankles.
  5. Roll back into the starting position.
  6. Roll your shins back and forth by repeating these movements.

9. Feet:

Got sore feet? Try this move!

  1. Sit on your butt on the floor with your knees bent.
  2. Place the roller under your feet.
  3. Roll your feet on the roller by straightening and bending your knees.
  4. The movement should cover your entire foot from toe to heel.

10. Hands:

Give your hands some relaxation with this move.

  1. Sit with your legs straightened in front of you and the roller placed behind your back.
  2. Put your hands on the roller.
  3. Roll the roller from your hands up to your arms as you slowly lower your back towards the floor.
  4. Roll back as you lift yourself up.


You need to remember the following tips while doing the foam roller exercises:

  • Do not roll your organs, it can lead to injuries.
  • Do not roll your joints or bones.
  • Do not hold your breath during rolling. Breathe deeply and relax yourself.
  • Make sure the roller stays under your muscles all the time.

So, these are the 10 exercises you must be doing pre- and post-workout to give your muscles that much required TLC!

When do you prefer to do the foam roller exercise? Pre workout or post workout? Share your views with us in the comments section below.

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