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It happens to all of us, you wake up one morning and feel that tinge of pain. You assume that you slept funny so you get up and try walking it off. A couple hours later you realize perhaps you may have been over training that muscle group yesterday at the gym. Ok, you have a tight muscle. What can you do about it?

There is a solution, so let’s take a few minutes and roll through this.  Some important points to remember before using a foam roller include:

•    Always check with your doctor before using a foam roller for myofascial release.
•    Perform foam roller sessions when your muscles are warm or after a workout.
•    Position the roller under the soft tissue area you want to release or loosen.
•    Gently roll your body weight back and forth across the roller while targeting the affected muscle.
•    Move slowly and work from the center of the body out toward your extremities.
•    If you find a particularly painful area (trigger point), hold that position until the area softens.
•    Focus on areas that are tight or have reduced range of motion.
•    Roll over each area a few times until you feel it relax. Expect some discomfort. It may feel very tender or bruised at first.
•    Stay on soft tissue and avoid rolling directly over bone or joints.
•    Keep your first few foam roller sessions short. About 15 minutes is all you need.
•    Rest a day between sessions when you start.
•    Drink plenty of water after a session, just as you would after a sports massage.
•    After a few weeks you can increase your session time and frequency if you choose.
•    Do not use a foam roller without your physician's approval if you have any heart or vascular illness or a chronic pain condition.

Using a foam roller to help relax those tight muscles is actually much easier than it sounds. It’s as simple as applying a comfortable amount of pressure and rolling the effected muscle along the foam roller. Some common techniques are as follows:

This massage is quite common for runners, this will help with any IT band tightness (see video).

How many times have you finished a leg work out and found the next day that your quads feel like they may snap if they were any tighter? Try this to help with tight quads, or flip over to try and relax those hamstrings.

While the foam roller has nearly unlimited massaging potential, don’t think that is all you can do with it. There are also many stabilizing exercises that can be done with a foam roller. With the instability that the foam roller adds, you get to benefit from a lot more muscle recruitment and use those stabilizing muscles!

Some great exercises include:

For more information on foam rollers, visit any Fitness Town location and speak with our health and fitness experts.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 at 9:40AM
Great article, but I think it's also worth pointing out that foam rollers are no longer just commodity items. In particular, the RumbleRoller ( is optimized for this type of self massage, and could be a nice addition to your Fitness Town stores.
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