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Workout Tips

This section of our health library is devoted to – you guessed it – workout tips! Learn about all things fitness in these articles that are designed to help you get up and get moving, regardless of your physical ability.

The DO's and DON'Ts of Foam Rolling

Foam rolling stretches can lead to a successful post-workout recovery. However, oftentimes these exercises and stretches are performed incorrectly, ultimately decreasing your efforts. Increase your recovery success with the dos and don'ts of foam rolling.


Stretches, warm-ups, and cool-downs are just as essential as the main exercise practice. With the popularity of foam roller stretches, how do they accommodate workout recoveries? Should you be foam rolling, too?

What is Foam Rolling?

Foam rolling utilizes a foam roller to provide myofascial release, or the relaxation of contracting muscles. When you exercise, muscle fibers tear and swell and can create adhesions, or thick "knots" of muscle fibers, over time. Foam rolling exercises helps to smooth and lengthen tight muscles. When muscles are relaxed, blood flow and circulation is improved and promote a speedier recovery.

Nonetheless, foam roller stretching can contribute to successful post-workout recoveries. Unfortunately, though, foam rolling exercises are often misperformed, reducing their effectiveness. Increase your recovery success with the dos and don'ts of foam rolling.


Foam Roll for Recovery

Use foam rolling exercises to help the body recover from sore muscles. Foam rollers can help speed up the post-workout recovery and healing processes, keeping the body healthy and ready to go for the next workout session.

Go Slow

Position the foam roller on the direct muscle you are targeting, then position yourself over the roll. Relax and use your body weight to slowly roll over each area at least 5 to 10 times. Feel free to pause to relieve tension.

Spend More Time on Sensitive Areas

Although you can and should target all body areas, spend more time on sensitive areas. Continue rolling back and forth until the tenderness eases.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydrated muscles can create more harm than good. It is important to stay hydrated and drink lots of water after foam rolling!


Undermine Their Need

Effective foam rolling can be used and needed to rid and reduce muscle adhesions. Do not think foam roller stretching is only for high level athletes!

Only Use for Sore Muscles

Don't assume foam rolling is only for flared muscles. Foam roller exercises can also be used as part of a warm-up or cool-down routine and assist in improving muscle length and flexibility.

Think They're All the Same

Not all foam rollers are created and treated the same. Low-density rollers will provide less pressure compared to more firm, high-density rollers.

Ignore Pain

If you have ever used a foam roller, you may know its use is quite different than a relaxed massage. However, it is important to discontinue rolling if the pain is unbearable. Foam rolling should be uncomfortable, but tolerable.

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on June 15, 2016. Updated on July 27, 2016.


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