10 Ways to Firm Up with a Foam Roller

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Foam rollers have become a mainstay in gyms and homes across the country to help those who experience muscle tightness especially following an intense workout routine. Their primary use is to help release muscle tension, while helping to break down adhesions or scar tissue within the muscles. Foam roller are also known to increase blood flow to the soft tissue which may help promote healing, which in turn may lead to a faster recovery.

While many of us are familiar with foam roller exercises for myofascial release, foam rollers can be more than just a recovery tool--they can also be used as an adjunct to your regular exercise routine. By working your muscles in a variety of ways this helps keep your workouts fresh while providing the challenge your muscles need in order to keep your body from experiencing that all-too-common dreaded plateau.

Below are some fun and challenging exercises you can do using a foam roller.


Star-side Plank

Kneeling Roll-ins with Foam Roller

Lower Back

Back Extensions (Swan) on Foam Roller

Butt, Chest, Core, Triceps

Single-Leg Seesaw

Arms, Back, Chest

Rows to Fly

Triceps, Shoulders, Chest

Pushups on Foam Roller


Triceps Dips on Foam Roller

Glutes, Hamstrings

Bridges on Foam Roller

Single-Leg Bridge Hold on Foam Roller with Toe Taps

Full Body

Switch Step

To view more exercises using the foam roller see Coach Nicole's Video 5-Minute Booty Firming Workout with a Foam Roller and a list of all foam roller exercises found in the fitness library on SparkPeople.com

Have you used the foam roller in your exercise routine? Would you consider doing these exercises? What exercises would you like featured in the Fitness Round-up?

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CECELW 10/12/2019
I never thought about using a foam roller. I only used my foam roller for tight muscles Report
The only links that worked for me in this article were the SP links. None of the Shape links were working, did anyone else experience this? Report
Good to know! Report
I love using my foam roller! Report
thanks Report
been wanting to get one. thanks for the article. Report
I found at the gym the smaller roller was best for me, so I think you have to try several to see what works best. Report
I love my roller! Report
I really would like to get the FR but am wondering which is the best size lengthwise? I have read many articles but none actually stated which size is best for which excercises...can anyone help me? Report
I was trying to access the Tricep Dips on a foam roller link but cannot find the article? It leads to an outside site. Report
I just got one as a gift so thanks for the great blog and thanks to the other post, I have 2 retrievers so I will make sure to keep it away from them they love to chew on everything :) Report
I just got one as a gift so thanks for the great blog and thanks to the other post, I have 2 retrievers so I will make sure to keep it away from them they love to chew on everything :) Report
I love foam rollers. I have two: one is 6" in diameter and 36" long; the other one is 4" in diameter and 36" long. The 4" one is just for my neck; the other one can be used for different things. I can lie on it lengthwise to stretch my shoulders, inch my neck and back off of it gradually to loosen up a stiff back, put my lower back on it to release my sacroiliac joint, and stand on it to improve my balance. Thanks for the exercises. I'll enjoy them too. Happy spring. Report
Word of warning...do not leave a foam roller and a golden retriever in the same room together! Mine is shredded, though thankfully does not seem to have been ingested! I was putting off getting a new one, but seeing the exercises I can do with it in addition to the myofacial release, I am going to get a new one this weekend. Thanks for the great blog! Report
I have been using the foam roller for a year now, and I can attest that it really works. I use it up to 5 minutes a day on the IT band. You can get one at most sporting goods stores. Report
I love my foam roller too, it's great for stripping out your IT Band if it's tight, or most other areas of your body....saves on trips to massage and chiro :) Report
I'm sure foam rollers would help me, thanks for the info. Report
I can testify the roller foam helps with muscle tension. I such a secret wonder tool! I use it for my calves, hamstrings, quads, IT band, back and shoulder. Report
I just recently started using a foam roller. I have found that it really has helped reduce any soreness in my legs. So much more comfortable than an ice bath!! Report
At the moment, I only use the foam roller for self myofascial release. I haven't used it in particular for any of my regular exercises. When I was working on a pilates reformer, I was using the foam rollers for several balance and core exercises then. I miss working out on a reformer. My PT left for a better job. :(

May give some of the exercises listed a try to see what I think. We'll keep you posted.

excited to use my FR with these exercises! Thank you! Report
Thanks am taking my roller to NYC next week end for the More 1/2 - will incorporate some exercise with my muscle releases! Wish me luck! Report
never tried it, never thought to try it...until now! Wow! Amazing what all you can do with this now that someone like you were able to give us some great ideas! Thanks for this blog, Nancy! Report
just bought one today, so all these tips will really help Report
Thanks for the tips! Report
I will have to try it.
As part of my plantar fasciitis PT, they used a foam roller. It made me a convert and I am now a greatful owner of my own. Thanks for these other ideas to use it! Report
Thanks. I certainly want to start using a FR since at my age I need the benefit. Report
I just bought a foam roller and planned to use it mostly for myofascial release but I'm going to do some of these exercises too. Thanks. Report
I am going to look for these in the next couple days. I like new exercises and to change up to keep things new and not boring. Thanks! I find so many great things in spark blogs! Report
I have never hear of these. I will look into them. Report
I will invest in a foam roller. I like to do my exercises with different tools like the resistance band and step and weights, so this will be a nice addition to my exercise paraphernalia. Thanks! Report
Great blog. I love working out with the foam rollers!! Report
I love my foam roller and use it everyday. I take one on trips with me. I've done your 5 minute video before and found it challenging. One area that I like working is the muscles on my side below my armpit. I get very tight in the whole upper back region and my massage therapist showed my how tight I was there as well. Report
Thanks, I never knew I could do all of these exercises with my roller! Report
I ordered my foam roller from Amazon and love it. I use it everyday! Report
Where do you buy foam rollers? Report
I love my foam roller. . .this is a great blog thank you. Report