The Top 5 Foam Rolling Exercises
Foam rolling can be helpful for treating a variety of injuries. Our team
at Thrive Now Physiotherapy often prescribe foam rolling exercises to target specific areas that are thicker and more resistant to loosening up with traditional stretching. A recent systematic review by the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that foam rolling can help increase the range of motion of your joints both before AND after exercising ( see article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637917/
Foam rolling can help loosen tight areas of muscle and fascia. These areas are often called trigger points, and by loosening them up first, it makes stretching the area a bit easier. It also can help prolong some of the beneficial effects from treatments such as intramuscular stimulation (IMS
), resulting in longer periods of relief in between sessions.
Below are some of my favorite areas to use a foam roller:
Iliotibial (IT) Band:
Adductors (otherwise known as your groin!):
Generally, I spend no longer than 1-2 minutes on any given area. If it doesn’t feel too tender then I just move onto the next area. If I do find an area that is particularly tender, I will stop and hold the pressure there for a few seconds until the tenderness starts to lessen. If in doubt about how to do any of these exercises then please consult with one of the friendly and knowledgeable physiotherapists on our team
Can the foam roller be used for the upper extremities?
Can you use your foam roller to release your chest muscles, shoulders, and lats? The short answer is, yes. However, the reason that I haven’t included these as part of my top five is that I find these areas are better released by using a lacrosse ball. We’ll leave that discussion though for another blog post!
Registered Physiotherapist, Co-Owner of Thrive Now Physiotherapy