Foam Rolling

@Mmmadisonmurray Images by Seb

Foam Rolling is a form of self-myofascial release. In simple terms, it is a self massage. Foam rolling releases tension and adhesions in the muscles. Not long ago foam rolling was something that you only saw professional athletes doing. Now you see foam rollers available at every gym and even for sale at most general retail stores. It is not only a common practice but almost expected if you are in the gym training.

The good news is that there is not a wrong way to foam roll, there are just better ways. Below are some tips and tricks to get the most out of foam rolling.

@Mmmadisonmurray Images by Seb

-It is best to foam roll before you workout but you can still benefit from foam rolling at anytime.

-If you have an injury or feel an injury coming on, you should foam roll the area of pain and the areas above and below the pain. This is one of the first things I have my clients do if they say they are feeling pain. This is also one of the first things that a Physical Therapist will have you do if you go to them for the pain. So save some cash and get on that roller!

-Always roll the full muscle first and then spend extra time on the tender areas. For example, If I was rolling my hamstrings I would do 1-2 full rolls from where my hamstring connects to my glutes all the way to right above the backside of my knee.

-Once you find the tender spots spend an additional 30-60 seconds on them. Roll in short quick movements, back and forth, side to side. Make sure that you are applying pressure the whole time.

-Make sure not to roll over any joints, just because it is uncomfortable!

-You will feel some pain when foam rolling. It should be a similar sensation as stretching…uncomfortable but not unbearable.

-Make sure you are breathing and not holding your breath. Let your body relax by breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

-There are all different types and densities of foam rollers. The harder they are the more intense they are. Start with a softer foam roller and work your way up to a hard plastic roller.

-You can roll all areas of your body. However, the ones I stick to are Glutes, Hamstrings, Calfs, Shins, Quads, Lats, IT band, Low back and Upper back.

Hopefully some of these tips gave you the confidence to grab a foam roller and roll out on your own. If you still aren’t sure what to do or just want an excuse to roll come join me every Sunday at Scottsdale BODI for a FREE foam rolling class. The foam rollers are provided and I will lead you through a full body foam roll! You can sign up online at


Madison Murray is a certified personal training, group fitness instructor, certified sports and exercise nutrition coach and a certified functional strength coach. For more info head to or check her out on instagram at @mmmadisonmurray

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