Foam rolling (a form of self-massage) gives benefits such as easing muscle soreness and aiding recovery. (1) It reduces stress, increases flexibility, and more! You can get rid of lower back pain, upper back pain, and hip pain by using a foam roller. In this foam roller guide, we’ll be talking about the best 21 exercises for back, hip, neck pain.
You can find one for under 25 dollars! It is inexpensive and convenient.
How Often Should You Use a Foam Roller?
While you exercise, it’s important to work hard, but with constant stress on your muscles, you should use a foam roller to give yourself a massage that makes you relax and give you the recovery your body needs.
It’s up to you, but we recommend that you use a foam roller on a daily basis for 5 to 20 minutes. You’ll notice the difference by relieving your tight pain points.
How to Use a Foam Roller?
It’s crazy simple to use a foam roller:
- Rollover, your body parts, to see where it hurts and soften your muscles at least ten times.
- When you find your sore spot lean into it, add pressure, and roll on!
We compiled the 21 best moves you can do with a foam roller.
First, warm up by rolling out some common tight areas such as the lower back, legs, glutes, etc. After you’ve done your regular warm-up, focus on keeping your core active stabilize throughout.
Second, you can create your own setup of workout. Just, pick two moves from each section below in our list: (upper body, lower body, and core) For each exercise, spend at least 30 seconds rolling slowly and gently and when you find a “knot” in the area you are rolling on, stop for a couple of seconds and let the roller apply pressure to that spot. Really focus on that area and roll slow and steadily, in the beginning, it will be uncomfortable, just keep breathing and the roller will give you a nice relief.
Make your list of workouts according to how much you can handle and don’t forget to change the exercises you do every once in a while when you start to feel bored. You should be in the moment and focus while you work out, so you don’t only go through the motions. Let’s see the best 21 exercises on this foam roller guide;
1. Back Roll
Start with the foam roller under the middle of your back in a reclined position, keep your feet hip-width apart.
Walk slowly forward as the roller rolls up to your back. Pause for a second and concentrate on any tight areas. Roll up and down, keep this motion for 30 to 60 seconds
2. Lat Roll
Keep the foam roller close to your armpit while you lay on your back, bend your knees with keeping your feet on the floor and hands under your head.
Twist slowly to the right and push slowly into your feet. This will make your body move back and the roller moving down along your lats on your right side. Go back to your starting point slowly.
Continue this movement for 30 to 60 seconds, concentrate on any tight areas.
Change your sides.
3. Side Rollout Push-Up
Begin the exercise by getting into a modified push-up position by keeping your knees on the mat, your left hand should be on the roller, and right hand on the floor.
Be slow and steady, focus on lowering weight with your right arm while your left arm stays straight and the roller goes smoothly from fingertips to wrist.
How to make this harder: Lift knees so you can do this exercise in a traditional push-up position.
4. Table Roll
Sit upright and extend your legs and ankles on the foam roller.
Put your hands on the floor behind you, don’t forget that your fingertips should face your feet. Keep your legs straight, thrust your hips up high as much as you can, and keep looking toward the ceiling as the roller moves massaging your calves.
While you keep your hips lifted, slowly swing them back between your arms as the roller moves to heels. Continue going back and forward while you control the movement, don’t let your hips touch the floor.
How to make this easier: Turn your fingertips away from you.
5. Plank Jack
Start in a plank position with holding a roller with your hands directly under shoulders.
Hop feet open and closed as you would perform a jumping jack, stay on your toes, and engage. Keep a slight bend in knees as you land.
How to make this harder: Increase speed and intensity to engage the core more.
Stand up and hold your roller behind back while you keep your fingertips facing away. Transfer weight onto the right leg and lift the left leg into an airplane position. The chest should hinge forward.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and away from your head. Push the roller up about 3 inches toward the ceiling. Keep your arms straight as possible so you can activate triceps, delts, and lats.
1. Calf Roll
Begin in a seated position with the foam roller directly under your calves while your hands behind your hips.
Lift your hips off the ground and slowly pull your body backwards; therefore, the roller rolls up your calf relieving any stress. Perform this exercise by moving back and forth gently for about 30 seconds and stop at any tight area.
2. Hamstring Roll
Lie on your back with palms facing down and foam roller right under your feet.
Lift hips into a bridge position keeping your hips, knees, and heels in a line. Engage hamstrings, so the roller doesn’t slip under you.
How to make this harder: Place palms on the ground facing up instead of down.
Roll up and down with controlling the muscles for 30 to 60 seconds, concentrating on any tighter areas.
3. IT Band Roll
Lay on your right side, keep your forearm down, and the foam roller resting above your knee joint. Bend left knee and place left foot in front of the right foot.
Ease up your right leg as you slowly roll yourself back; this will make the foam roller glide up your leg. Gently perform the move back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds, concentrate on any tight parts.
4. Quad Roll
Begin face down with foam roller right beneath the top of the thighs. Keep your hands below the chest with arms slightly bent in position.
Slowly press your arms to be straight, pull the body upward and forward so the foam roller rolls across the front of your thighs.
You can differentiate this move by also leaning your body weight onto one leg and roll and then switch to the other instead of rolling both at the same time.
Continue to push and pull the roller over the thighs for 30 to 60 seconds, focus on any tight areas.
5. Shin Roll
Kneel on your hands and feet with the foam roller right under your shins.
Lift your knees off the ground, pull your knees up towards your wrists and then push them back to the first position.
6. Overhead Squat
Our next exercise in our foam roller guide list is the overhead squats. Stand straight with your feet slightly turned out just a bit wider than hip-width. Hold up your foam roller horizontally overhead.
Squeeze your palms toward each other as you get your shoulder blades together. Keep elbows in line behind ears to engage upper back and arms; doing this will make this a whole-body exercise.
Sit into a deep squat, don’t let your “butt wink”. Press up your feet like you are pushing the floor to return to the starting position.
7. Plank Leg Lift
To do this exercise be on all fours with your hands on the roller. Lift knees to plank and engage your core. Raise right leg around 4 inches, then sweep foot out to the right, pause for a second, sweep leg back behind you, and lower to the floor.
8. Single Leg Wall Squat
Lean against a wall and sit, your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Place the roller horizontally behind your back, right under your shoulder blades, and extend arms.
Raise right flexed foot off the ground, keeping knees in line on the level of your hips. Push through left foot to stand about 3 inches, using a roller to slide up and down the wall.
Repeat with others with your left foot.
9. Inner Thigh Bridge
Lie with your face up, knees bent, feet on the floor, and palms up. Put foam roller between legs and flex feet to balance on your heels.
Lift hips off the floor and squeeze roller like you’re trying to break it in half. Hold for 45 seconds then lower back down.
10. Inner Thigh Plank
Our tenth and last exercise for the lower body in our foam roller guide is inner thigh plank. Lie face down while roller rests between inner thighs. Press up into a high plank. With weight over wrists and your core engaged, squeeze roller and bend knees until they are off the ground.
Press back into heels to return to the first position.
Are you enjoying our foam roller guide? We are continuing our guide with core exercises. If you need some motivation check our 32 Inspirational Fitness Quotes That Will Get You Going.
1. Alternating Heel Tap
Lie faceup with the roller is under your spine vertically. Place fingertips on the floor as you lift legs into a tabletop position. Keeping the 90-degree angle, tap one heel at a time to floor.
How to make this harder: Tap your heels faster so lower abs fire by pressing lower back into roller.
2. Sawing Plank
Begin with wrists on the foam roller in a forearm plank with your hands clasped to each other, feet must be hip-width and on hips level.
Use your arms to move back and forth slowly, so the roller moves from wrists to elbows, putting your stability to test.
3. Side Plank Reach Through
Lie on your right side. Place feet on the roller like you’re on a rope with the right foot in front of you. Lift hips to a side plank, balance on the right forearm and sides of your feet, and extend left arm up.
4. Walking Plank
Put the roller vertically between arms and legs while you position yourself in a high plank. Be aware that your shoulders should be over wrists and feet should be placed wider than hips for stability.
Place right hand then left hand on the roller and walk hands back to the floor alternating from right to left. Change the hand you start with and the hand you place in front of the other on the roller. Engage your core, keep your hips steady throughout the move.
How to make this easier: Put a towel alongside the roller to prevent it from moving.
5. Dead Bug
Lie faceup with the roller vertically under your mid-spine. Lift legs into tabletop position. Place arms on the floor in cactus position (elbows bent in line with shoulders, backs of the hands-on floor). While you press the back of your hands into the floor, lower back into the roller, kick legs out, then bend knees to return to the first position.
These were the top foam roller exercises in our foam roller guide to relieve stress! Don’t postpone living happier and healthier!
And, after you have read our foam roller guide if you don’t have a foam roller and asking yourself “which foam roller should I get?”. Here are our top picks from Amazon:
Which Foam Roller to Buy:
Lastly, if you want to read more on pain relief, check the article below:
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- THE EFFECTS OF SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE USING A FOAM ROLL OR ROLLER MASSAGER ON JOINT RANGE OF MOTION, MUSCLE RECOVERY, AND PERFORMANCE: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. Cheatham SW, Kolber MJ, Cain M. International journal of sports physical therapy, 2015, Nov.;10(6):2159-2896. Foam rolling as a recovery tool after an intense bout of physical activity. Macdonald GZ, Button DC, Drinkwater EJ. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 2014, Sep.;46(1):1530-0315.