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foam roller exercises

The Basics of Foam Rolling

by Athletico1 Comment

You have seen one at the gym, you have heard your friends talk about “foam rolling” but what benefits might foam rolling have for YOU.

The foam roll is used for self-massage and can be used on almost all muscle groups but mainly used for the lower body muscles. Foam rolling is a self-massage technique used by many athletes following a work out.  It helps massage and stretch the muscles.  This type of self-massage can help loosen tight muscles or help release those hard to get to trigger points. The foam roll can be used on all muscles but is mostly used for quadriceps, gluteal muscles, IT band, hamstrings, and calves. This type of massage can help aid muscles with recovery after a grueling weight lifting work out, a long run or just every day tightness.

Most often you hear of people foam rolling their IT, or Iliotibial band. The IT band is a thick band of fascia on the outside part of the knee, extending from the pelvis going over the hip down the side of the leg inserting just below the knee. If this muscle becomes very tight it becomes difficult to stretch on its own.  This is why an IT band is a common area of focus for foam rolling. If you have a tight IT band and choose to foam roll it, you may feel pain as you roll up and down your leg. The pain may even radiate into your hip as you roll over certain trigger points.

Similar to the pain you experience with stretching, think of the feeling as good pain.  You might ask, “Why would I do something that is painful?” However, releasing this tightness in your muscles will help restore the muscles primary function by breaking up muscle knots and allowing blood flow to the area.

Below are some examples of different foam rolling exercises to target specific muscle groups.

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Happy Foam Rolling!


Foam Rolling Hamstrings


Foam Rolling Calves


Foam Rolling Piriformis – a muscle in the gluteal region of the lower limb


Foam Rolling IT Band


Foam Rolling Quadriceps

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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