FOAM ROLLING – some basic moves

FOAM ROLLER INFO! The basics….

Below is some information for you when starting out with a foam roller. Contact Kirsty (07787 406 552 or to arrange a consultation so she can demonstrate the movements to you to ensure you are carrying out the exercises correctly. Foam rollers can enhance sporting performance as well as alleviate aches and pains.

I definitely would not be without my foam roller!



Experienced runners get different injuries than beginners. Beginners are famous for shin splints and runner’s knee. Long-time runners work for their injuries. The most common injuries seen in experienced runners are muscle knots or “trigger points”. These injuries start as very minor micro-tears. Next, a repetitive tear-and-repair cycle causes a know or a trigger point to develop. The runner then starts to experience pain and stiffness in the area. Common trouble spots include: the front and back of the thighs, the deep hip region, and the outside of the thigh, known as the IT Band.

Stretching Is Not Enough

Stretching is very beneficial and cannot be neglected. But in the case of muscle knots, stretching alone is not enough. When stretching a muscle with knots, you are only stretching the healthy muscle tissue. The knot remains a knot, laughing in the face of the stretch.

Tough Love

The best way to attack a troublesome muscle knot is direct pressure. A well-trained massage therapist can effectively apply pressure to break up and relieve muscle knots. These knots are pesky. It typically takes several treatment sessions to fix a well-placed knot. To make matters worse, these sneaky knots are famous for recurring again and again when you are least expecting it.

A Foam Roller Life

The best way to eliminate and prevent muscle knots is the foam roller. The foam roller is a firm foam log that is six inches in diameter. Use the roller against the muscle knots with your own body weight to generate the direct pressure. Imagine using a rolling pin to roll out lumps in bread dough. A foam roller is a good alternative to repetitive trips to the massage therapist. Your foam roller is always available and doesn’t accept tips! Bottom line: The foam roller is an inexpensive, yet highly effective way to treat and prevent the most common injuries seen in runners. A few minutes a day can help keep you on the road for years to come.

Key Points for Specific Foam Roller Exercises

1. Roll across the painful or stiff area for 60 seconds – IN ONE DIRECTION ONLY so the blood flow is going back to the heart.
2. Spend extra time directly over the knot or trigger point itself.
3. Roll the injured area two to three time a day. For prevention of injuries, two to three times a week is recommended.
4. Avoid rolling over bony areas.
5. Always stretch the area following foam rolling.
Massage your IT band

Best for runner’s knee

Your iliotibial band (ITB) runs along the outside of your leg from hip to knee; it often becomes overtight from high-mileage hoofing.


Lie on your right side while propping yourself up with your elbow and forearm. Slip a foam roller beneath the outside of your right thigh and lift your right foot. Cross your left leg over your right and plant your left foot on the floor. Now roll back and forth for 30 seconds from the bottom of your hip to just above your knee. Then turn over and work your left ITB. To increase pressure, take your bracing leg off the floor and stack it on top of the leg you’re massaging.

Massage your Piriformis
Best for sciatica

Tension in the piriformis (between your sacrum and the top of your femur) can irritate the sciatic nerve, causing butt and hamstring pain.


Sit on a foam roller and support yourself by placing your left hand on the floor. Now lift your left leg and place your ankle across your right bent knee, holding it there with your right hand. Lean to your left and position yourself so the roller is directly under your left butt cheek. Roll back and forth over the piriformis. Alternate positions to hit the muscle from different angles until you find the hot spot. Roll for 30 seconds, and then do your right butt cheek.


Massage your Thoracic spine
Best for upper-back mobility

Big chest muscles, weak back muscles, and sitting all day can conspire to cause pain from your neck to your lumbar region.


Lie on your back and place a foam roller beneath your upper back, near your shoulder blades. Your feet and butt should be on the ground and your hands behind your head. Now brace your abs as if you were about to be punched in the stomach, and slowly work the roller for 30 seconds up and down your upper back–that is, from your shoulder blades to your middle back (not your lower back).

Massage your Hamstrings
Best for lower-back pain

Inflexible hamstrings can interfere with sports performance and cause lower-back pain.


Sit on a foam roller with your legs outstretched, and support yourself by placing your hands on the floor behind you. Position yourself so the roller is directly under your hamstrings. Slowly roll forward and back from the base of your glutes to the bend in your knee for 30 seconds. Try it with your feet turned out and then with your feet turned in, to work the hams from all angles. You can increase the pressure by stacking one leg on top of the other.

Massage your Quadriceps
Best for jumper’s knee

Tight quads can tug on your patellar tendons, causing pain around your kneecaps.

To keep your knees healthy and loose, lie on your stomach with the roller placed under your thighs. Holding your body straight, roll yourself back and forth from hip to midthigh for 30 seconds. Bend your knees to increase the pressure.


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