Foam Rolling – Love it or Hate it, Five Must Try Exercises

What is Foam Rolling?

The foam roller is used to perform self myofascial release (SFM) or self massage to help relieve muscle soreness and enhance flexibility. The roller can be used as a dynamic warm-up that incorporates SFM, balance training and core training.

Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Hip Self Myofascial Rolling


Hip SFM stretches and releases tension from the hip muscles.

  1. Sit on top of roller, both feet on floor.
  2. Place right ankle on left thigh (or lower if uncomfortable) then shift weight towards right hip, right hand on floor.
  3. Roll up and down the hip for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Bridge on Foam Roller


Bridging on the foam roller strengthens the core and activates your hamstrings and glutes. The slightly unstable surface adds more intensity to a basic exercise.

  1. In a supine position, place heels on roller hip width apart.
  2. Engage core and glutes, exhale as you lift hips up.
  3. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, slowly return to starting position. Continue for 60 to 90 seconds.
  4. For more intensity, perform the bridge with one foot on the roller.

Quadriceps Self Myofascial Rolling to Push up Position


This exercise combines SFM for your quadriceps and hip flexors with upper body and core training.

  1. Begin in prone position on forearms, top of thighs on roller, feet off floor.
  2. Engage core, move forward using upper body until roller is right above the knees.
  3. Press up to pushup position leading with right arm and place balls of feet on floor. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, (more advanced exercisers can add a push-up) then come back down to roller and forearms.
  4. Roll back to starting position. Repeat leading with the left arm. Continue for 60 to 90 seconds.

To modify, move forward using your upper body until roller is above the knees, then place your feet on the floor and lift the thighs off the roller to a plank for five seconds, then return to the starting position.

Hip Extension on Foam Roller


The hip extension strengthens the core and glutes. The roller adds balance and intensity to this basic exercise.

  1. Kneel on roller, place hands on floor, hands underneath the chest. You also do this exercise on the forearms. Feet are off the floor.
  2. Extend right leg in back of you, foot flexed.
  3. Contract the abs and glutes, lift the leg straight up.
  4. Slowly lower the leg down without touching the floor. Complete 30 to 60 seconds on right leg before repeating with the left leg.

To modify, keep one foot one the floor as the other leg is in motion.

Walkout with Push up on Foam Roller


The walkout with push up on the foam roller dynamically stretches hamstrings, strengthens upper body and core. This is an advanced exercise!

  1. Stand in back of roller, feet hip width apart. Hinge at hip, placing hands on roller shoulder width apart.
  2. Engage core, roll roller forward until in push up position. You can adjust your feet if you need to.
  3. Perform a push-up
  4. Walk feet in towards roller. Stand up, repeat for 60 to 90 seconds.

To modify, roll the roller forward until you feel a slight stretch in the hamstrings, then roll back to starting position and stand up. The feet do not move during the modified exercise.

Ready to Go!


After completing the warm up your body will be ready for step sprints, hiking, a kettle bell routine or any activity that you love!

Photography by Sam Melendez

Written by Robin Gillespie

Profile photo of Robin Gillespie

Robin Marcel Gillespie has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. She is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Pilates and spin instructor who loves to dance. Robin is currently a weight loss coach and Fitness and Social Media Director at Everett Medical where she happily works with her sister, Dr. Linda Everett, to help people lose weight. Follow Robin's blog, "Know More, Weigh Less".

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