6 Best Foam Roller Exercises to Do on Your Recovery Days

A foam roller is an excellent tool to reduce muscle soreness. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)
A foam roller is an excellent tool to reduce muscle soreness. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)

A foam roller is an effective, lightweight tool that can be easily incorporated into your workouts, particularly on your recovery days.

Foam rolling, sometimes called "self-myofascial release," eases soreness and inflammation, releases muscle knots, and offers a deep tissue massage. It also helps improve your flexibility and range of motion while increasing lymphatic flow and blood circulation.

Studies suggest that using a foam roller reduces neuromuscular exhaustion, increases the range of motion, and reduces post-workout soreness.


Foam Rolling on Your Recovery Days

Using a foam roller is one of the best methods for the active recovery of your muscles and joints.

In fact, there's no other cheaper, deeper, and more effective option for a self-massage than a foam roller. So, if you're planning some time off from your workouts, consider foam rolling on your rest days and give your muscles the recovery they deserve.


Foam Roller Exercises on Your Recovery Days

Here's a look at six such exercises:

1. Adductor Roll

This exercise reduces knee pain and relieves groin tightness.

To do it:

  • Lie on your stomach with a foam roller parallel beside you, and raise your torso through your hands.
  • Straighten both your legs behind you, and bend your left leg at about 90 degrees.
  • Lift your left leg, and put it on the top of the roller.
  • Start to move your leg back and forth as the roller massages your groin.
  • Repeat on your right leg.
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2. Hamstring Roll

The hamstring foam rolling exercise releases hamstring tightness and reduces back and knee pain.

To do it:

  • Sit straight with both your legs extended straight in front of you.
  • Place a roller underneath your thighs, and position your hands behind you for support.
  • Bend your right knee so that your right foot is flat on the ground, and start shifting your body back and forth as the roller moves from your butt to above your knees.
  • To avoid irritating your joints, do not move the roller behind your knee.
  • To experience a deeper massage, simply cross your right leg over your left.
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3. Upper Back Roll

The upper back roll foaming exercise alleviates tension and pain in your upper back and improves posture. This exercise also helps align your head, spine, and neck.

To do it:

  • Lie down, and place a roller under your spine to support your tailbone and head.
  • Bend your knees, and position your feet on the floor.
  • Spread your arms to your sides, and keep your palms facing toward the ceiling.
  • Relax into this position for a few minutes and repeat.
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4. Oblique Roll

This foam rolling exercise helps relieve back tightness and is also great for your abs.

To do it:

  • Lie down on your left side with a roller placed under and perpendicular to your abdomen.
  • Place your left forearm on the ground with your left leg straight and heel flat on the floor.
  • Slowly move forward and back as the roller massages your obliques.
  • You can even move down and up to massage other areas of your body as well.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
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5. Calf Roll

This exercise is good not only for your calf muscles but also for your heel, foot, and Achilles tendon. It also helps reduce knee pain.

To do it:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you.
  • Place the roller beneath your left calf.
  • Cross your right leg over your left to add more pressure.
  • Position your hands behind you for support, and start shifting your weight back and forth as the roller massages your calf.
  • Place the roller beneath your right calf and repeat the routine.
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6. Lateral Quad Roll

Lateral quad foam rolling helps reduce quad tightness and relieves knee pain.

To do it:

  • Place the roller on the floor perpendicular to your body, and position the right side of your thigh on it.
  • Keep your right leg straight and the left foot flat on the floor. Place your left forearm on the ground to help you support.
  • Start rotating your body towards the floor to work on the outer muscle of your quad.
  • Continue to roll back and forth.
  • Switch to your left side and repeat.
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Takeaway

Foam rolling has several benefits, and the most important one is the reduction of muscle pain, tightness, soreness, or inflammation. However, if you're experiencing severe pain, do not use a foam roller until the pain has stopped.

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Edited by Bhargav