Foam Roller Warm-Up

by Susane Pata on Apr 24, 2014

If you’re looking for a fresh, effective way to help your group participants move better, why not include foam rolling in your next class? Chances are, some of your attendees are curious and could use some guided instruction. This simple foam roller warm-up uses self-myofascial-release (SMR) techniques to warm up the fascia, allowing tissues to move more freely. Trauma, irritation, repetitive use and a sedentary lifestyle create stiffness and can shorten the muscles and/or fascia. A few minutes of SMR offers many benefits.

Each client will have a unique intensity tolerance. Teach the benefits of each release, cue full belly-breathing, and coach participants to scale the compression.

Total-Body Roll-Out Warm-Up

Here are four areas to focus on for better movement in any workout:


When calf muscles are overworked, they can become short and tight, causing movement limitations.


  • Sit on floor, calf on top of foam roller.
  • Cross opposite leg on top (if tolerated).
  • Internally and externally rotate leg with continued compression, knees bent, 4x.


When quadriceps muscles are overactive and shortened, many people experience knee problems and alterations in body alignment.


  • Start in prone position, foam roller above knee, elbows beneath shoulders.
  • Bend opposite leg up toward hip.
  • Roll one-third of the way up (closer to knee), 4x.
  • Bend knee, 4x.
  • Roll next one-third section (midthigh), 4x.
  • Bend knee, 4x.
  • Roll below hip flexor, 4x.
  • Bend knee, 4x.

Thoracic Spine

Bad posture, stress and injury can lead to dysfunction in the thoracic area, resulting in back, shoulder, head and neck pain.


  • Lie supine with foam roller above low back.
  • Place feet flat on floor.
  • Cradle hands behind head.
    • Roll to midback, 4x.
    • Rub from side to side, 4x.
    • Roll to upper back, 4x.

Area #4: Chest

For rolling techniques for the chest, please see “ Roll Out to Warm Up” in the online IDEA Library or in the April 2014 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

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About the Author

Susane Pata

Susane Pata IDEA Author/Presenter

Early on as a Rutgers University student, I discovered my passion for exercise and became a group fitness instructor for both the Rutgers Recreation Center and nearby Johnson & Johnson’s World Headquarters Employee Fitness Centers in New Jersey. Ultimately, I turned fitness into a full-time profession in 2003 while living in San Francisco where I managed, instructed and personal trained at multiple fitness facilities, such as Equinox and Crunch. In 2004, I met TRX CEO and founder Randy Hetrick and created TRX’s first-ever group fitness program. I joined TRX full time in 2007 to develop and run the company’s education department, and later opened the company’s first-ever Suspension Training studio (TRX Training Center) in San Francisco. As a Global Senior Master Instructor for TRX, Life Fitness and Trigger Point, I conduct education courses for group fitness instructors, personal trainers, healthcare professionals and the military. I also conduct courses to help develop new course instructors, evaluating and fostering their development in delivering best-in-class education. I present worldwide at a variety of conferences for these companies, including Italy, China, Canada, as well as Brazil and Mexico. I am multilingual and have conducted education trainings in Brazil and Mexico, in Portuguese and Spanish. I have also recently been published in IDEA Journal on the topic of foam rolling and I continue to explore writing projects in order to share my expertise regarding fitness and group training. I've been working in the fitness industry for over 20 years, and believe that no matter what tool or philosophy you choose to advocate, one thing remains steadfast: seek not only look to motivate at the moment, but to inspire for life.