Four Tips for Foam Rolling

Four Tips for Foam Rolling

  • Sarah Schebek, M.Ed.
  • November, 2018
  • Active Living
Foam rolling is a great way to relieve soreness and reduce muscle tightness outside of traditional stretching. Check out these four tips for your foam-rolling routine!

Foam rolling is a massage technique known as self-myofascial release or SMR. Fascia is a thin membrane layer that covers our muscles and sometimes, due to injury or inflammation, this fascia can lose its elasticity leading to tightness or pain commonly referred to as “trigger points.”  By using your own body weight and a foam roller, you can work on releasing some of these trigger points to improve flexibility, mobility, and muscular imbalances. While foam rolling shouldn’t replace your stretching routine altogether, research has shown that by foam rolling before stretching, you can achieve a deeper stretch since the foam-rolling process acts as a warm up for your muscles. One of the best things about foam rolling is that it can be included in both your warm-up and cool-down or anytime throughout the day. These days, most workout facilities have foam rollers on hand, but if you are interested in purchasing your own, they are fairly affordable and some styles can be easily transported in your gym bag! Check out these four tips for your foam rolling routine


  1. Ease into it: Foam rolling can be a bit painful, especially over our really tight muscle groups. To ease up on the pain, try to shift some of your body weight into your hands or onto the side of your body opposite to the muscle group you are rolling on. As your muscles become suppler, you will be able to shift weight off of your hands and back onto the different muscle groups.  
  1. Slow and controlled: Instead of rolling over a large group of muscles at once, focus on targeting small areas and move through each trigger point slowly. This will help to prevent any further inflammation.   
  1. Avoid joints: Be sure to only apply the pressure from your foam roller and body weight onto soft muscle tissue. 
  1. Prioritize: Many of us have several different areas that feel tight on our bodies, but focusing on each of those areas every day is time consuming and might be unrealistic for a lot of us. Instead, try to pick which areas would be most beneficial for you to work on first and then build in some secondary areas throughout the week or on a rest day. 


Find more tips for flexibility and exercise by checking out the OSU Health Plan YouTube channel and our video on How To Foam Roll. To sign up for Physical Activity Programs, Educational Programs or a Group Health Coaching series, register on

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