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Foam Rolling: A Beginner's Guide

29th Jun 2015

The humble foam roller. It may not look like much, but when used correctly it can be extremely effective in your quest to stay injury free. Foam rolling (or self-myofascial release to give it it's official title), works by not only elongating and lengthening muscles, but also massages the muscle intensely, much like a massage from a massage therapist, but at a fraction of the cost.

While foam rolling for injury avoidance is not a full replacement for proper stretching, warming up or cooling down, it can be used as a tool to limit soreness and tightness through increased blood flow and flexibility. Today we'll be taking a look at the types of foam rollers currently available on the market, along with providing some beginner's exercises to get you started.

Which Foam Roller is Right for Me?

If you're new to the world of foam rolling you'd think that the cheapest, least dense roller would do, right? Wrong. The cheaper EPE models with no ridges are prone to becoming oval very quickly, especially if used on a regular basis. Which, as you can imagine, makes them useless for when foam rolling for injury avoidance. It's important to be aware of the different types of foam rollers on the market - ranging from the original foam roller to Trigger Point Therapy to the Rumble Roller. Each roller effectively stretches the muscle out in a similar manner, though the denser the roller or the deeper the ridges on the roller, the more intense the stretch will be.

Mobile Physio Dublin suggests trying out a few different models in the shop, and choosing the right one for you. Spring for one of the more expensive side if your budget allows, as the roller will generally be of a higher quality, and will last far longer.

Beginner's Foam Rolling Exercises

Below we've discussed three foam rolling for injury avoidance exercises that are great for ensuring your lower limbs are flexible and warmed up prior to exercise to avoid common muscle strains and tears, but they also help improve bio-mechanics and stability to prevent leg injuries in the future.


The iliotibial band is a fibrous band of tissue that runs down the outer thigh, from the hip to just below the knee, inserting into the shinbone . It helps provide stability to the outer side of the knee joint, particularly during running.

Place the foam roller under your ITB (outer thigh) as shown above. Using your arms, slowly move your body up and down the roller allowing it to massage the outer thigh. Breathe normally keeping your leg relaxed. Repeat this process for 15 – 90 seconds provided it is comfortable and does not cause pain. This exercise can be performed with both legs off the ground, or with the upper leg in contact with the ground (via the foot) in front of or behind the lower leg.


Releasing your quadriceps (quads) is one of the easiest foam rolling for injury avoidance exercises, but is also incredibly effective. Simply lay on top of the roller using your hands for balance and work the front of the thigh from the hip down to the knee.

You can perform this exercise with one or both legs on the roller, depending upon how much pressure you can handle or desire. If you want less pressure, keep one leg off the roller and use the foot to support some of your body weight.


Sit with back of your thighs on top of the foam roller and both hands on the floor behind you. Keep your leg muscles relaxed, and let your heels lightly drag the floor.Roll your hamstrings from just above your knees to just below your pelvis.

To increase intensity of this exercise, simply shift your weight to one leg by crossing your legs at the ankle. Repeat this exercise for roughly 3 minutes if doing both at once, or 90 seconds if you've increased the intensity by crossing one leg over the other

For more information go to MobilePhysioDublin.com

About Me

My name is Ash; I am A 22 year old health addict who is in a love triangle with a clean, nutritious, healthy, lifestyle and lazy days, yummy food and cocktails! I am not someone who will get up before work at 6am to go for a run on the beach (even though I would love to be!!) but I am someone who has found a balance...

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