Equipment Spotlight: Foam Roller

By: Molly Pfeiffer B.S., NSCA – CSCS

Most people associate the foam roller with soft tissue and they’re not wrong. The foam roller is a great tool to help increase blood flow and mobility while potentially decreasing soreness. However, don’t sell the foam roller short there. There are multiple different uses to help make your movements safer, keep your joints healthier, and your lifestyle more pleasant. Demonstrations are as follows:

1. Foam Roll Wall Slides – If you are struggling with overhead mobility, look to some wall slides. The cylinder shape allows for a smooth transition overhead. Focus on keeping your ribs tucked to avoid arching. Look to finish tall with your biceps covering your ears.

2. Heel Sitting Reach, Roll, and Lift – Another overhead mobility tactic to focus in on your scapular movement. Avoid rotating as you try and lift one of your palms off the top of the foam roller.

3. Assisted Thoracic Spine Mobility – If you’re having trouble continuously driving that top knee into the ground through your rotations, add a foam roller underneath as an additional cue to lock in that low back.

4. Foam Roller Shoulder Mobility – Warm up your shoulders by taking them through this full range of motion of flexion/extension, internal/external rotation, and upward/downward rotation. Focus on keeping that low back driven into the foam.

5. Foam Roll Hip Marches – Up for a challenge? Line the foam roller starting at your tailbone, all the way up your spine. Without using your hands for support, attempt to alternate your marches. Focus in on pulling your ribs down and avoiding pelvic rotation.

Besides being a fun competition, this can challenge your pelvic stability and core control. Next time you look to a foam roller, think about all of its additional uses!