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Why You Need A Foam Roller (Including 4 Foam Roller Exercises)

Louise Hendon | March 20
Why You Need A Foam Roller

I picked up a foam roller several years ago after my chiropractor recommended it.

I used it initially to help get rid of my chronic knee pain (it definitely helped), but over time I’ve also found that it’s amazing for rolling out a lot of kinks in my muscles – from my back (from slouching too much) to my lats (from rock climbing).

It’s like a whole body massager!

Foam rollers have gotten popular in many gyms as a way to roll out your muscles after exercising to prevent muscle soreness the next day (my CrossFit recommended it for that reason), but it can be a super cheap and great way to stretch and massage your muscles even if you don’t exercise!

Even though there are foam rollers at my gym, I find them so helpful that I keep one in my study and roll on it when I’m taking a break.

This is the foam roller I bought from Amazon for $13.99 (the 6×18 round). And read the rest of this article for 4 exercises to start getting rid of the kinks in your body.

foam roller

4 Foam Roller Exercises

Feel free to pin this image for 4 foam roller exercises and share on social media as well!

Why You Need A Foam Roller

Foam Roller Exercise 1: Rolling Out Your Back

foam roller exercise 1 - your back

Place the foam roller on your back and bend your knees to move the roller up and down your back. It feels especially good on your upper back. And if you place your arms under your head and roll on your side a little, you can also massage the muscles near your shoulder blade and the muscles near your arm pit.

Foam Roller Exercise 2: Rolling Out Side Of Your Thigh

foam roller exercise 2 - side of your thigh - for knee pain

This exercise on the foam roller is one I did a lot of for my knee. It releases the pull on your knee caps, which often cause knee pain.

Place the foam roller on the outside of your thigh, bend your other knee, and move the roller up and down.

Foam Roller Exercise 3: Rolling Out The Side Of Your Hip

foam roller exercise 3 - side of your hip

Place the foam roller on the side of your hip and roll out the muscle on your hip. This is a muscle that people can’t stretch well so using a foam roller (or a tennis ball) is a great way to get the kinks out of that muscle.

Foam Roller Exercise 4: Rolling Out Front Of Your Thigh

foam roller exercise 4 - front thigh

Lie on your front and place the foam roller on your thigh. Move the foam roller up and down using your elbow for balance. If you have knee pain, then roll right next to your knee cap.

Did The Foam Roller Help My Knee Pain?

The foam roller definitely helped to loosen my thigh muscles, and my knees definitely felt better as a result. But, it does require rolling frequently to keep that up.

Foam Roller Pain

Just one word of warning, if you have really tight muscles, then it can be really painful initially to roll on certain muscles – for me, the sides of my thighs were initially really tight and I could only roll a few times before breaking out in sweat due to the pain. But over time, the pain eases up as your muscles loosen.

Choosing A Firmer Foam Roller

When I used to work on rolling my legs a lot, it got to the point when I felt that my foam roller wasn’t firm enough so I decided to upgrade to a firmer option. There are expensive firm foam roller options on Amazon that you can check out, but I highly suggest going to your local hardware store and getting cheap PVC pipe – it works really well (I had one for a while).

But to start with, I highly recommend this foam roller from Amazon – it’s the one I’m using at home. It’s pretty cheap and pretty durable.