How to use a foamroller

Fit & Training door thijs

After a lot of questions through my Instagram account and #FITGIRLCODE, I've decided to write my own little piece about the infamous foamroller. It can definitely help you to a 'Next Level' within your current running- or weight lifting training. Super interesting, but do know how to use a foamroller safely. 

Self myofascial WHAT?

Self myofascial release or the use of a foamroller means nothing more than self massage. 'Fascia' means connective tissue. The fascia surrounds and connects the muscles and other connective tissue in the body. During our workout, we burden the body but also the posture. If you force this, adhesions (also known as knots or trigger points) will form. These adhesions can in turn lead to an injury. However, we can decrease these adhesions by using a foamroller.

Using a foamroller is safe because you only apply pressure with your body weight. You actually press the specific adhesion to 'massage' it. You want to bring all muslce fibers back into one line so that the muscle can function correctly again.

Rolling pin 2.0

Be honest. If your boy/girlfriend is using it, your BFFF, and even your neighbour, you cannot stay behind. The solution to how we should use something is often easy. But in the case of the foamroller we need to take into account a couple of essential rules of 'how to use'.

Let’s rock and ROLL

Option 1

Use the foamroller while moving. Gently roll across the full length of the muscle. Repeat this 15-20 times in 2-3 sets. You mostly use this technique when the tension in, for example, your calf muscle is very high.

Option 2

Let's use the example of the calf muscle again. Put that muscle on the foamroller. Gently roll across the muscle until you've found a sensitive point, or: the adhesion. Stay at that point for 30-45 seconds. The muscle should feel more supple after this. If not, then repeat this 1-2 times more at a spot next to the current adhesion.

Before you start the exercises above:

  • Do a proper warm-up in which your entire body is active. Choose 2-3 core exercises.
  • Choose which muscle groups you want to tackle. It's recommendable to choose a maximum of 2-3 (besides the fact that you cool down, it's quite intense ;) ).
  • Treat 2-3 parts per muscle group.
  • Work with an intensity scale: 0 = no intensity - 10 = painful. The goal is that after a few sessions with the foamroller, you can more easily recognize your personal pain boundaries. You treat the part where you feel an intensity between 7 and 8.
  • Relax as much as possible and breath in and out as even and relaxed as possible.
  • If you have any questions, always contact your trainer!

Advantages of training with a foamroller

  • It will stimulate your body to decrease the knots in your muscles on the basis of your own body weight.
  • Your muscles will feel 'broader' and more flexible.
  • You get to know your body better and know what you can work on before, during ánd after your training.
  • On the long term you can cope with way more load because the fascia has become more flexible (if you train this structurally!).

Exercise 1 (left) + 2 (right)


how to use a foamroller

This image is in Dutch (sorry!) but the left exercise is for the front of your upper leg, for the quadricep. The right exercise is for the backside of your upper leg, for the hamstring.

Good luck with the first exercises or applying one of these options. FYI: Kayla Itsines now also has a foamroller guide (check the header 'equipment') with all sorts of handy exercises, so if you really want to get into this, maybe that's of interest to you. Let me know if it works out for you and feel free to ask me any questions on Instagram! #LIVEWITHOUTFEAR