A foam roller is more than just a tool that you use on your thighs post-workout.
It can also be used to effectively remove tightness and trigger points over many other parts of your body.
In this post, we take a look at how to use a foam roller on specific parts of your body from head to toe.
To roll out your quads, roll from the top of the hip to the top of the knee. Keep your belly in and core tight.
You can try rolling with the feet facing out or inwards depending on where your tender spots are.
If you feel any tight spots bend and extend the knee to iron out any trigger points.
2) IT band
The IT bands stretch from the top of the hip down to the knee.
Some people say it’s a waste of time foam rolling the IT band as it has no effect but you can try it for yourself and see if you notice any positive benefits.
To roll the IT band, start at the middle of the leg and balance on your forearm keeping your core tight.
When you feel a knot bend and extend the leg. Repeat on the other side.
3) Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL)
The TFL is a small muscle near the top of the hip.
To foam roll the TFL, balance your quads on the foam roller then twist your body slightly to one side.
Angle your body then roll up and down and repeat on the other side.
If you want to go extreme or need more release, a massage ball can be very effective on this area.
The position of the roller is important because the adductors can be hard to reach, as they are in the fleshy area of your inner thigh.
The piriformis muscle helps abduct the leg and if it becomes too tight can give you the duck feet look, as well as sciatic pain.
Learning how to foam roll the piriformis can help alleviate these conditions.
To foam roll the piriformis, sit on the foam roller and cross one of your legs over the other, then drop the knee down and start rolling.
Having tight hamstrings is particularly common especially if you never stretch them out.
Luckily foam rolling the hamstrings is very easy to do.
Sit on the foam roller supporting yourself with your hands and start rolling from the butt then stop before the back of the knee.
If you don’t feel anything with a foam roller, you may require further pressure in which case you can use a lacrosse ball.
Runners and athletes are susceptible to getting tight calves.
By foam rolling them effectively, you can help release tension and prevent them from tightening up.
To foam roll your calf, place one ankle on your foam roller then cross the other on top for added pressure. Roll your foot from side to side. If you find any pressure points stop rolling and circle your ankle in both directions.
If you need more release you can try one of those myofascial release tools.
If you have shin pain or suffer from shin splints you should find foam rolling your shins beneficial.
To foam roll your shin, cross one leg over and place your shins on the roller. Roll up and down. Rotate your foot when any pressure points are felt.
9) Upper Back
Place the foam roller near the top of the shoulders. Rest your head in your hands, elevate your hips and roll up and down. Bring your elbows in for a deeper message.
For greater release massage balls are very effective in this area.
The lats which run down the side of your torso can also be prone to getting tight especially if you sit all day.
Start at the armpit, rest your head in your hands and rotate forward and back across the roller.
Move the roller down, then start rotating again. Then move the roller down one more
A foam roller is a great tool if you want to massage large areas of your body at once, however, there may be times when you only need to target a specific knot or trouble spot.
If you find that this is what you need, then I recommend trying out a massage ball.
They come in all different sizes and densities and can help further release any trouble spots that a foam roller may not be able to help with.
That being said, if you’re a beginner and new to foam rolling, a foam roller is a great tool to start with.
Just be patient and take it slow, and be prepared for a little discomfort at times. As time passes you’ll find that the discomfort was more than worth it.