You're Rolling Wrong- How To Foam Roll

Foam Roll, Roller
Photo By: Roger Mommaerts

As an experienced fitness manager, I see gym goers doing things wrong every day. You name it, I’ve seen it. The most common thing I observe performed improperly is foam rolling. Not only are amateurs rolling wrong, but professionals are also teaching wrong. One of the biggest professional culprits is CrossFit! Read this brief description on the foam roll to understand its use and experience the wide array of benefits.

The foam roll is an excellent, simple fitness tool – safe for all. As we’ve mentioned before, foam rolling is a valuable way to increase flexibility, improve muscle imbalances, and decrease recovery time. It also decreases the chances of injury when used properly.  But guess what? If you’re doing it wrong, you will not experience any of these benefits. Here is a breakdown of how the roller works and how to use it properly.

Search & Destroy

When utilizing the foam roll, you should be searching for tender spots on the body – the tool is not used for simply rolling. Your goal during the “rolling” portion of the movement is to seek out these tender spots in the muscles that need extra attention. Slowly and methodically roll designated muscle groups until you’ve found a tender spot. Keep in mind that some muscle groups may have several problem areas, while others may have none.

Foam Roll, Roller
Photo By: Lee Leblanc

60 Second Rule

Rather than rolling constantly, it is important to hold the foam roller on the tender spots you’ve found for a minimum of 60 seconds. Allow the muscles to sink into the roller during this time. Picture tender areas as huge bundles of muscle fibers. For these fibers to break up and effectively loosen you up, constant pressure must be applied for a minimum of 60 seconds. We’ll spare you the scientific details on this one.

Getting Started

Begin foam rolling by focusing on the larger muscle groups of the lower body. The glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps are great places to start. As you progress with the roller, smaller muscle groups in the lower body as well as upper body muscles may benefit from rolling as well.

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