Foam roller moves for the entire body

By Bryce Schmitt, CSCS

Foam rolling has transformed from a once mysterious technique used only by professional athletes, coaches, and therapists to a familiar everyday practice for people at all levels of fitness. Self-myofascial release “foam rolling” is a fancy term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger Schmitt_Bryce_MUG_RGBpoints.  A study in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that foam rolling for just a minute can improve your range of motion, while a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise discovered that rolling after an intense workout can relieve soreness over the next two days.

Foam roller moves for the entire body:

  • Upper Back Roll – Lie down with your back on the floor. Place a foam roller underneath your upper back and cross your arms in front of you, protracting your shoulder blades. Raise your hips off of the ground, placing your weight onto the roller. Shift your weight to one side, rolling the upper to mid back. Alternate sides.
  • Calf Roll – While seated, place a foam roller underneath your lower leg with the other leg placed on the floor supporting some of your weight. Place hands at sides or just behind you, and press down to raise your hips off of the floor, placing your weight against your calf muscle. Roll from below the knee to above the ankle.
  • IT Band Roll – Lie on your side with bottom leg placed onto a foam roller between the hip and the knee and top leg crossed in front of you. Place as much of your weight as is tolerable onto your bottom leg. Roll your leg over the foam from your hip to your knee.
  • Hamstrings Roll – While seated, extend your legs over a foam roller so that it is positioning on the back of the upper legs. Place your hands to the side or behind you to help support your weight. Relax the hamstrings; roll over the foam from below the hip to above the back of the knee.
  • Quadriceps Roll – Lie face down on the floor with your weight supported by your hands or forearms. Place a foam roller underneath one leg and keep that foot off the ground. Shifting as much weight onto the leg to be stretched as is tolerable, roll from above the knee to below the hip.
  • Glutes Roll – Sit with your butt on top of a foam roller. Bend your knees, and then cross one leg so that the ankle is over the knee. Shift your weight to the side of the crossed leg, rolling over your glutes until you feel tension.
  • Groin Roll – Lie face down with one leg on top of a foam roller so it’s against your inner thigh. Shift as much weight onto the foam roll as can be tolerated. While trying to relax the muscles of the inner thigh, roll over the area between your hip and knee.


Gladden, B. L. (Ed.). (2013). Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Ratamess, N. A. (Ed.). (2012). The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.