How to use a foam roller

What is a foam roller, and how and why do I use it?

A foam roller is an excellent way for runners of all levels to manage tightness.  Tight muscles can be a contributing factor to many injuries, pain, poor posture, incorrect running technique, and compromised running efficiency.

Because many of us sit for hours at desks, certain muscles (like our hamstrings and hip flexors) are in a shortened position for long periods.  Muscles are surrounded by a sheath of tissue called fascia.  Certain massage techniques release restriction in the fascia, which can reduce pain and improve mobility.  Foam rolling is considered to be a form of self-release of the fascia (“Self Myofascial Release”).

Establishing and maintaining a regular myofascial release routine is important, and a foam roller is a great way to do that.  Your body and your physio will thank you!


Here is how to use a foam roller with wonderful videos from James Dunne at Kinetic Revolution…


Gluteals “Glutes” (your bottom muscles)


Quads (front of your thigh)


Hamstrings (back of your thigh)


Illiotibial band (ITB) (runs down the outer side of your thigh)

Important note in this video about how the ITB is different to your muscles – you can’t stretch an ITB, but you can deal with the muscles that pull on the ITB.  **Don’t use the foam roller near your knee** (where the pain usually is) as this can increase inflammation.  Concentrate on the hip area.  All this is explained in the video…


Calf (back of your lower leg)


Where do I get a foam roller?

You can purchase from physio supply stores, however the foam roller has now hit the mainstream!  If you’re in Australia, you can purchase for $15 at Kmart or Target.


Want to learn more running tips whilst following a running training program at home?  Check out our online running program that has weekly lessons and training plans.