How to Foam Roll Like a Pro

Photographer: Sweat RX

Stretching Is Not Enough

Stretching is very beneficial and cannot be neglected. But in the case of muscle knots, stretching alone is not enough. When stretching a muscle with knots, you are only stretching the healthy muscle tissue. The knot remains a knot, laughing in the face of the stretch. It’s time to take matters into your own hands and learn how to roll. Make room for a new type of massage, used pre-workout, pre-stretching, or simply to start the day.



  • Start lying on your right side with the foam roller under your armpit and the right arm extended in flat on the floor.
  • Place your left arm down in front for greater stability and balance, and begin rolling out the lats, up and down, and forward and back. After 60 seconds, move onto the other side and repeat.

Hip flexors/ Thighs

hip flexor thighs

Exercise caption:

Since your hip flexors are located slightly towards the outer part of your pelvic region, you’ll experience a much more effective result if you roll with just one thigh rather than roll on both sides at the same time.  As you’re rolling up and down on your hip flexors, you should try to rotate your body just a smidge from right to left to access the full width of this area.

  • Start facedown on the floor with one thigh on the roller, and forearms propping up the torso.
  • Roll up two inches, then down one, spending extra time on any knots or trigger points (the motto: Search and destroy!)
  • Continue until you hit the entire front side of thigh, about 60 seconds per side.

Rhomboids / Upper Back

rhomboid mid back

  • Lying on your back with your knees bent and roller under your shoulder blades, engage the core and raise the hips up off the ground, maintaining the head and neck in a comfortable ‘neutral’ position.
  • To effectively target the rhomboids stretch your arms to either side or place them behind your head to expand your rhomboids. Using your legs, roll your body upwards and downwards from your shoulder blades to the middle of your back. Spend 60 seconds rolling up and down the upper to mid-back, and alternating the rhomboids until the muscles relax.
  •  To target the mid back – cross the arms across the body ( like your giving yourself a hug!)

Tensor Fascia Latae ( TFL)


Use your legs and arms to roll the length of your IT band , traveling right down to just above your knee joint. As you get closer to your knee, you may feel more tenderness, so be prepared to use your arms and legs to ease pressure off of your IT band.

  • Lie on your right side with your right thigh on the foam roller, and right forearm propping up the torso.
  • It is very important to maintain proper Core control (abdominal Drawn-In position & tight gluteus) to prevent low back compensations.
  • Roll between the knees and the hip bone, taking extra time on any tender areas

If a “tender point” is located, stop rolling, and rest on the tender point until pain decreases by 75%. Continue for 60 seconds and switch sides.

Vastus Medialis Obliquus ( VMO)


  • Face down on ground with one leg to the side, and forearms propping up the torso.
  • With the foam roll just above the inside of your knee roll the inside of the quad back and forth just above the knee.
  • Hold on sore spots for an extended time to release the tension, the more uncomfortable it is, the more that muscle needs to be massaged.


How we roll

Key Points for Specific Foam Roller Exercises

1. Roll back and forth across the painful or stiff area for 60 seconds.
2. Spend extra time directly over the knot or trigger point itself.
3. Roll the injured area two to three time a day. For prevention of injuries, two to three times a week is recommended.
4. Avoid rolling over bony areas.
5. Always stretch the area following foam rolling.


Related Categories: Performance

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