What if I told you there was a piece of fitness equipment that costs less than $20 and has therapeutic benefits similar to a massage? I know this sounds like an infomercial, but I’m talking about a foam roller.
The foam roller exercises below can help you break up muscle knots and pains, work your core and abdominal muscles, and increase circulation in your body.
Personal trainers and physical therapists use foam rollers to help their clients/patients break up fibrous tissue and alleviate soreness. But you don’t need a specialist to help you do the foam roller exercises below. They’re easy to do all by yourself!
How to use a foam roller
Begin each move by lying with the part of your body you’re targeting on top of the foam roller, then roll slowly in both directions until you find a tender spot. Hold for 30-45 seconds, or until you feel the muscle relax. Then, continue to roll until you find another sore spot. It’s really that easy. When you’re first starting off, take it easy and go light on the pressure. As you become more experienced, you can increase the pressure by pressing your body down into the roller.
Foam roller benefits
The benefits of using a foam roller are mostly anecdotal, which means there’s not much research just yet that provides cold, hard evidence about the therapeutic benefits of foam rolling. But based on feedback I’ve heard from personal trainers, physical therapists, and healthcare professionals, foam rollers are a great way to promote “myofascial release,” which is using gentle, sustained pressure to break down connective scar tissue and loosen up tight muscles.
According to one of the few research studies conducted to measure the benefits of foam rollers, using a foam roller resulted in increased myofascial release of the quadriceps and an increased range of muscle in the knee joints. The research concluded that “these findings have substantial implications for the usage of self myofascial release in rehabilitative and athletic settings.”
Another benefit of foam rollers is they work multiple multiple groups. Several foam roller exercises allow you to work your back, shoulder, abs, core, and legs. So while you’re targeting a tight spot in your thighs, you’re also getting a core and ab workout.
And, foam roller are cheap. You can get one on Amazon for around $20.
So long story short here: using a foam roller may help you ease tension in stiff muscles, break down scar tissue, and improve your range of motion.
10 best foam roller exercises
Want More Tips on Getting Tight and Toned?
This article is #9 in my free 12-part tutorial called “Exercise 101: How to Get In Shape“.
Next up is article #10, where you’ll learn about the best exercises for tight and toned abs.
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