Keys To Foam Rolling

Stretching alone is not always sufficient to loosen up tight muscles. Foam rolling has been scientifically proven to improve range of motion and blood flow through breaking up adhesions in the fascia known as knots. These knots inhibit performance and make your body more prone to injury. Removing these knots equates to improved workouts and a reduction in injuries. Foam rolling will help you stay in the gym and reach your goals.

If you are having constant joint pain even after rolling out the surrounding muscles, you should consult a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor. Foam rolling should never be done over any joints.

Chiropractors work with the body to restore and maintain healthy joints, muscles, and nerves. At Activate Chiropractic we do a detailed exam to find the source of your pain. We then provide an individualized treatment plan to keep you working out at top performance. If you are having pain while working out, this is a warning system your body is using to tell you that your body isn’t functioning optimally. We can identify where and why this is occurring and work with your body to restore you back to optimal performance. Stay ahead of your injuries with foam rolling and chiropractic.

Tips to Rolling Properly:

You want to move slowly and deliberately through all of the muscle groups. When you find a sticking point, hold on it and take 5 deep breaths. The pain should subside within 15 to 30 seconds. If an area is to painful, hold above and below these areas while taking 5 deep breathes and then return to the original point. In the beginning, this may be painful, but as you continue to use your foam roller, the pain will diminish. Rolling should always “hurt so good;” never roll into sharp or shooting pain. While you are working through the muscle groups below, move around to find sticking points and this will begin to loosen up tight fascia from injuries or overuse.

Muscles to target:

Lower body:

  1. Quads – Roll the quads while in a plank position. Make sure to angle left and right to target the whole muscle. If you find a sticking point bend and extend your leg.

  1. TFL – This muscle lies high and just outside of midline on the hip. You can feel it while standing and turning your foot in and out. Start in the plank and rotate 30 degrees to find the muscle. This is a small muscle so you want to hold the foam roller on that position and breath through it. Then slowly roll the muscle out to flush the inflammation out.  Key muscle to target for runners.

  1. IT Bands – Lay on your side and prop yourself up as if you were doing a side plank and place your top foot in front for stabilization. Roll from the top of the hip to the top of the knee. This is a very sensitive band so roll slowly and take your time. Breath through any sticking points. Advanced rollers can place the top leg in line with the bottom for added pressure.

  1. Glutes – Sit on your foam roller and lean back with both hands. Cross one leg over to make a figure 4 and lean towards the side that is crossed. This will loosen up the piriformis and other tight glute muscles from sitting all day, squatting, and running up hills. Option to lay the stabilizing leg down with foot rotated out continue to lean towards that side and roll.

  1. Hamstrings – Place the roller at the bottom of your thighs, just above your  knees, while sitting back on your hands. Pick yourself up and roll through the muscle. Make sure to lean side to side to get the outside portion of the hamstring located about midway down the thigh and travelling up towards the glutes. Option to cross one leg over the other to increase pressure.

  1. Inner thigh – Place the foam roller along your side while you lay face down on the ground. Push the upper portion of the foam roller away from your upper body and throw your leg over. Make sure the foam roller is perpendicular to the inner thigh and begin rolling.

  1. Calves – Sit on your glutes with the roller just up from your ankle. Cross your leg and then roll back and forth as opposed to up and down. Move the roller up an inch or two and repeat all the way up the calf. When you find a sticking point you can do circles with your ankle in both directions.

  1. Shins – You want to go on all fours and cross one leg across your body in front of your other leg that will remain on the ground. Place your shin down on the roller. Then you can place the inside of your shin on the roller by shifting your body away from the roller. Make sure to get the inside and outside of your shins. When you find a sticking point you can do circles with your ankles.


Upper Body:

  1. Mid back – Place the roller perpendicular to the spine at the bottom of the shoulder blade. You do not want to go below this point. Place your hands behind your head crossing your fingers.  Then roll up slowly and deliberately to the top of the shoulder blade.

  1. Lats – Place the roller an inch below your armpit while laying on your side. Place your bottom hand on your head for support and rotate on roller forward and back. Move the roller down an inch and repeat.

  1. Chest – Place the roller at a 45 degree angle to your armpit while laying face down on the ground. Do short movements here and if you don’t feel it you can raise up into a plank position.