Five Foam Rolling Exercises For Runners

If you're a runner, then a foam roller should be your new best friend. The repetitive stress of running can cause tight muscles. Left untreated, tight, overactive muscles can cause muscle imbalances, poor posture, improper movement and ultimately injury. 

Foam rolling, known as a self-myofascial release, is a technique that uses gentle pressure to break up the knots within the muscle and helps release muscular tension or tightness. Foam rolling is a form of self-massage.

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Why do runners need to foam roll?

  • Foam rolling helps correct existing muscle imbalances. Muscles imbalances occur when some muscles surrounding the joint are overactive (tight/shortened) and others are under active (weak/lengthened). Muscle imbalances can be caused by poor posture, repetitive movement or improper training technique. Foam rolling helps reduce knots within the muscle and inhibit overactive muscles. 
  • Foam rolling can help increase mobility.
  • Foam rolling can help decrease muscle soreness.
  • Foam rolling can help with Injury prevention (when combined with adequate rest and strength training).

In short, foam rolling can help you become a faster, strong less prone to injury runner. What's not to love about that?

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While lying on your side, place the foam roll under your hip and prop yourself up with your forearm. Cross your top leg over the lower leg.

Slowly roll from the hip downwards toward the knee until you find a tender spot. Once the tender spot is discovered, hold until muscle relaxes, at least 30 seconds.  This is an important point: Don't just roll, hold on the tender spots for at least 30 seconds.


Place foam roller under mid-calf. Cross one leg over the other to increase pressure. Slowly roll calf area to find the most tender spot. Hold on tender area for at least 30 seconds. Switch legs.


Lie face down with one thigh flexed and foam roll in the groin region, inside the upper thigh. Slowly roll the thigh area to find the tender spot. Hold tender spot for at least 30 seconds until discomfort is reduced. Repeat on opposite thigh. 


Place foam roller under hamstrings. Lift one leg to increase pressure (optional). Slowly roll until the tender spot is identified. Hold tender spot for at least 30 seconds.


Lie face down and place the foam rolling under the quadriceps. Slowly roll until the tender spot is identified. Hold for at least 30 seconds. 

I recommend foam rolling tight muscles before/after every run and strength training session. While you could foam roll every day, shoot for at least three times a week. 

You can check out more fitness articles and five minute circuits for runners on my Trainer Tips and Tricks page.


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