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Easy Guide To Releasing Stiffness With A Foam Roller

Make your post-workout pain feel good by rolling on with this self-massage tool. If you are a foam-roller newbie, then here’s a complete guide on how to use foam rollers in three easy ways.

By Sadhana Kumari
22 Apr 2022

We all have been through body pains and muscle aches, especially after a diligent workout. Do you know, you can ease muscle soreness just by self-massaging with a foam roller? Yes, that’s right! It is a kind of recovery tool that offers the pleasure of a massage and can be used by self to lower muscle stiffness post-workout. Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer, Vinod Channa explains, “foam rollers work effectively by targeting sensitive points in muscle . This technique can be done by self to release any discomfort, soreness, or inflammation before and after exercise.” According to a 2020 systematic review published in the Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, foam rollers can improve flexibility in the body and help in performing better too.


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How to Use A Foam Roller

Foam rollers are made up of EVA—a type of foam that is durable, and lightweight with high buoyancy. It comes in soft, medium, and hard densities, you can choose the ideal one depending upon the pressure you want to get the most out of rolling foam. Besides, it is handy and easy to carry around too. Channa suggests, “For those who go to gym regularly, their body is stiff already and they would need plastic rollers which are harder than the foam ones. Others who have just started exercising or do light exercise to maintain a daily routine, can opt for soft or medium foam rollers.”


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Channa suggests, “You can simply roll your back over the foam to release the tension and stiffness. Doing this allows continuous blood circulation and loosens the knots in the muscles which makes you feel relaxed. You might feel a pain that feels so satisfying, however, if you experience too much pain try switching the foam roll type. You might even go for a different type of warm-up or cool-down session.”


Benefits Of Using Foam Roll

1. Reduces DOMS: A study published in the Journal of athletic training in 2015 included eight males who experienced less delayed-onset muscle soreness after a heavy bout of workout and also performed better after using foam roll when compared with those without.

2. Boosts range of motion: Range of motion (distance and direction in which a bone joint can move freely) is important for flexibility during a workout. A study conducted in 2015 issued in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy showed increased flexibility and range of motion when paired with stretching with a foam roller.


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3. Minimises the appearance of cellulite: Foam roll primarily minimises muscle pain and the appearance of cellulite as this recovery tool targets the pressure points in the muscle. As fascia (connecting layer of tissue on each organ) promotes cellulite in the body, rolling over soothes and suppresses the cellulite visibility.

4. Reduces back pain: According to a study published in the International Journal Of Exercise Science, 2014, foam rolling was effective in not only reducing muscle pain but also declining tension in the back muscle when performed carefully.


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3 Ways to Use A Foam Roller To Ease Stiffness For Beginners

1. Quads



  • Place your forearms in the plank position on the floor and foam roller below your thighs.
  • Start rolling both thighs slowly till one inch before your knee. Repeat till your muscle feels relaxed.


Perk: It allows blood to flow in thighs that have been inactive due to muscle soreness or prolonged sitting.


2. Side quads



  • Start with the plank position, foam roll on your thighs.
  • Focus on the sides of your thighs and roll over till one inch above your knee.


Perk: It eases muscle stiffness in the IT band that runs along your pelvic area to the knee, caused due to heavy workouts.


3. Shoulder and spine



  • Position your foam roller aligned with your spine on the ground. Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor. Spread your arms, palms facing upwards.
  • Move your arms side by side till you find the hurting spot and relax at that point for a minute. Allow your shoulders and chest to stretch (due to good pain).


Perk: Releases tension in the back muscles and keeps you ready for your next exercise session.


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Precautions To Be Taken While Using A Foam Roller

Channa says, “anyone with a muscle strain due to heavy workout can use foam rollers to ease their pain. It requires little to no guidance to use and can be utilised by any age group. However, there are some precautions to be taken that can make your warm-up and cool-down easy.”


(a) Always roll on the foam roller slowly finding the right triggering spot.

(b) Do not roll directly on a joint as it may cause further damage.

(c ) Ensure not to exceed more than 20 seconds on one spot.

(d) Do not sustain pressure beyond pain tolerance.





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