Foam Rolling for Runners: The Ultimate Guide

4 Min Read

Foam Rolling for Runners: The Ultimate Guide

The Benefits of Foam Rolling

  • Relieves soreness and tightness
  • Promotes blood flow
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Improves range of motion
  • Reduces the risk of overuse injuries

When to Foam Roll

Foam rolling can be done before a run, after a run, or on recovery days.

* **Before a run:** Foam rolling can help warm up your muscles and prepare them for exercise.
* **After a run:** Foam rolling can help cool down your muscles and aid in recovery.
* **On recovery days:** Foam rolling can help relieve soreness and tightness.

How to Foam Roll

There are many different ways to foam roll. Here are a few of the most common techniques:

* **Hamstrings:** Sit with your hamstrings perpendicular to a foam roller. Use your arms to roll your leg over the roller, up and down the hamstrings.
* **Glutes and piriformis:** Sit on a foam roller with your legs in a figure-four position. Use the foot on the floor to create a rolling movement back and forth over the roller.
* **Quads:** Get into a plank position and place the foam roller just above your knees. Sway back and forth in that position, using your arms to support your weight.
* **Plantar fascia:** Stand with the arch of one foot on the roller. Use your weight to apply pressure as you roll your foot forward and backward.
* **Calves:** Sit back on the floor and place the foam roller under your calf. Cross your leg so that the bottom calf is pushed into the roller. Roll back and forth covering the entire area.
* **Latissimus dorsi and triceps:** Lie with the foam roller perpendicular to your body and your arm extended over the roller. Slide the roller down until it is under your side, resting on your lat muscle. Use your legs to create a rolling movement over the area from under the arm to the shoulder blade down along your side.
* **Pecs:** Lie on your stomach with the foam roller under your armpit area. Use your legs and opposite arm to roll over the foam roller, or lie still and let your body weight do the work.

Foam rolling should not be painful, but it may be slightly uncomfortable at first. Start by rolling for a few minutes each day and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.

Studies Referenced

* Hendricks, S. (2020). Effects of foam rolling on performance and recovery: A systematic review of the literature to guide practitioners on the use of foam rolling. J Bodyw Mov Ther. doi: 10. 1016/j. jbmt. 2019. 10. 019.
* Kerautret, Y. (2021). Foam Rolling Elicits Neuronal Relaxation Patterns Distinct from Manual Massage: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Brain Sci. 3390/brainsci11060818.
* Konrad, A. Foam Rolling Training Effects on Range of Motion: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N. z. ), 52(10), 2523-2535. https://doi. org/10. 1007/s40279-022-01699-8P.
* Pearcey, G. E. (2015). Foam Rolling for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Recovery of Dynamic Performance Measures. Journal of Athletic Training, 50(1), 5-13. 4085/1062-6050-50. 1. 01
* Wiewelhove, T. (2019). A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Foam Rolling on Performance and Recovery. Front Physiol. 3389/fphys. 00376.


* Sandra Gail Frayna, PT, physical therapist, founder of Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports
* Dr. Rubina Tahir, DC, doctor of chiropractic
* Rachel MacPherson, CSCS, CPT, certified personal trainer, performance specialist

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