Foam rolling has gained immense popularity lately and there are many reasons for the same. This technique is not only meant for professional athletes or sportspersons but benefits everyone. Foam rolling is very similar to a massage. In this article, we will be talking about foam rolling exercises and the benefits of foam rolling. Before we get into these details, let us understand the basics of what a foam roller is, what foam rolling does and what kind of benefits you can expect from this technique. 

A foam roller is a tool for self-myofascial release or SMR. This SMR tool helps in releasing tension and increasing the mobility and flexibility of muscles, fascia and connective tissues. Foam rollers are usually cylindrical in shape and their length varies from 1 to 4 feet while the diameter of these can be anywhere between 5 to 10 inches. 

If you’re wondering about when you should be foam rolling or how often you can do these exercises, here is the answer for you. Foam rolling exercises can be done every day and you can do them for the muscle groups that you have workout out. Foam rolling before working out will help increase blood flow and reduce muscle tension. Post work out foam rolling will reduce muscle stiffness and soreness. You can also try foam rolling before sleep time to get relief from any pains and aches that make sleeping uncomfortable. For example, you can choose the technique of foam rolling for knee pain. When foam rolling, you should avoid any known injuries. 

Foam rolling helps you by reducing soreness and stiffness, breaking up adhesions, decreasing tissue tension, increasing blood flow and improving your range of movement. This in turn leads to better flexibility and increased speed. Foam rollers work by reducing the tightness of the myofascia. This is the connecting tissue surrounding the muscles, the tightness of which reduces flexibility. 

In the upcoming sections of this article, we will be looking at the benefits of foam rolling and some exercises that you can do to improve flexibility and reduce soreness. 

Table Of Contents

The following topics about foam rolling will be discussed in detail in the upcoming sections of this article.

  • Benefits of foam rolling
  • Best foam roller exercises
  • Key takeaways
  • FAQs

Benefits Of Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is not just a good way to warm up your muscles before your workout session but it is also a great method that aids recovery. Let us take an in-depth look at the benefits that foam rolling offers.

  • Foam rolling helps in muscle repair recovery. 
  • It alleviates stiffness and soreness. 
  • The inflammation that is caused during the muscle repair process is reduced with the help of foam roller exercises. 
  • Foam rolling helps in reducing the tension and tightness in muscles which leads to the maintenance of proper muscle length. This in turn prevents injury. 
  • Foam rolling improves and increases blood flow. 
  • It helps increase the elasticity of your muscle tissue, fascia and joints. 

Other than these, foam rolling also helps in reducing stress.

Best Foam Roller Exercises

Let us now look at the various exercises for different muscle groups like foam rolling for knee pain, back pain, etc. to help you know how you can get the best out of your foam rolling sessions. 

1. Hip Flexors

  • Lie down on the floor with the roller underneath you and face the floor. 
  • Bring the roller underneath your left hip flexor and bend your right leg comfortably to the side. 
  • Rest on your forearm and slowly start rolling up and down and side to side on the roller. 
  • Make sure your hip flexors are targeted with a focus on your trigger points. 
  • Continue for 30 seconds. 
  • Switch sides and repeat. 

2. Calves

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended forward.
  • Position the foam roller underneath your calves. 
  • Lifting your body up from the floor, rest your weight on the roller. 
  • Cross your right leg over the left to add more pressure. 
  • Slowly start rolling your left calf on the roller as you navigate your body front and back with the help of your hands. 
  • Continue for 30 seconds. 
  • Switch sides and repeat. 

3. Shoulders

  • Begin by lying down on your side with the foam roller underneath your left shoulder. 
  • Let your lower body rest comfortably on the floor and keep your left hand outward to guide movement. 
  • Start slowly rolling up and down on your deltoid muscle. 
  • Continue for 30 seconds.
  • Switch sides and repeat. 

4. Upper Back

  • Lie down on your back with the foam roller underneath your upper back. 
  • Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent and place your hands on the sides on the floor. 
  • Bracing your core, lift yourself up forming a bridge position. 
  • Start by slowly rolling up and down between your lower neck and mid-back. 
  • Stop at the tight areas in between. 
  • Continue for 30 seconds. 

5. Hamstrings

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended and place the foam roller underneath your hamstrings. 
  • Rest your weight on the roller as you lift your body up.
  • Start by slowly rolling up and down between the knees and your glutes. 
  • Linger on your tender spots. 
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

Key Takeaways

We have now reached the conclusion of this guide on foam roller exercises and their benefits. In this article, we have discussed foam rolling as a technique for better flexibility and for reducing soreness, stiffness and aches. From the discussion above we can conclude that:

  • Foam rolling is a great method of self-massage that helps your muscles relax and improves your range of movement. 
  • You can easily indulge in foam rolling exercises at home. 
  • These exercises can be done on a daily basis and depending on your requirement, you can choose whether you wish to foam roll before or after your workout session. 
  • Foam rolling has multiple benefits which are also very similar to the benefits of massages. 


In the previous sections of this article on foam rolling, we have discussed various aspects of this type of exercise and how you can benefit from the same. Other than these, you might have some more questions regarding these exercises and their advantages. In this section, we have answered some of the common questions related to foam rolling exercises to help solve your doubts and queries. 

Does foam rolling help?

In this article, we have looked at the benefits of foam rolling but you might also want to know if foam rolling actually helps. The short and sweet answer to this is that yes, foam rolling helps. This type of method is not just helpful for athletes and physically active people but also for anyone who is feeling pain or soreness or stiffness in their muscles. Foam rolling has benefits very similar to massages. 

Does foam rolling help cellulite?

Yes, foam roller exercises help cellulite as well. This is one of the benefits of these exercises. We have discussed above that foam rolling helps in smoothening the fat underneath the skin, eliminating lumpy areas and loosening fascia. All this leads to the reduced visibility of cellulite. It also improves lymphatic drainage in cellulite-prone areas.

Does foam rolling increase flexibility?

Yes, foam rolling increases flexibility. We have looked at improved flexibility as one of the benefits of foam roller exercises. Along with increasing flexibility, foam rolling also improves muscular performance. Foam rolling releases the tightness of myofascia. This is caused by a sedentary lifestyle or injury or repeated regular movement or even surgery. Tight myofascia is known to reduce flexibility. 

When to foam roll and stretch?

The correct order for your to follow should be your workout routine followed by foam rolling and ending with some stretching. You should ensure that you foam roll all the muscle groups that you have worked on. 

How to foam roll glutes and hips?

Three major foam roller exercises that can help your glutes and hips are:

  • Rolling figure 4
  • Goddess roll
  • Psoas roll

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