The foam roller, now a standard piece of equipment, is an excellent
tool for massaging soft tissue, realigning the spine, increasing core
stability and enhancing postural awareness. Using the foam roller at
the end of a group exercise class is a great way to “reset” and
encourage a progressive cool-down where the focus is on breathing and
overall relaxation. A standard-length foam roller (3 feet by 6 inches)
works best for this purpose. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Roll about 3–6 inches at a time, using slow, controlled strokes. Spend
about 30–60 seconds on each area.
Maintain proper spinal alignment and correct posture while rolling,
particularly in the shoulder and neck areas.
Be cautious, as some areas may be painful to roll. Tell students not
to roll if bruising occurs or if they experience intense pain.
Choose softer rollers for people who may be more sensitive to
pressure. Rollers come in a variety of densities.
• Immediately stretch the massaged area to take advantage of the
Gluteals and Seated Figure 4
- Sit on foam roller, lean right slightly, and load body weight.
Using small strokes, gently roll back and forth on gluteal and hip
- Stretch: Place R ankle over left thigh.
- Repeat on opposite side.
In prone position, place roller under R thigh, allowing L leg to splay
Use arms and R foot to roll, with controlled strokes, up and down
front of thigh.
Start at hip flexor area and move down leg toward knee. Do not roll
directly over knee joint.
Stretch: Lie on L side, grasp R foot and flex knee to bring it closer
- Repeat for L leg.
- Sit with legs extended.
- Place foam roller under both calves (or just one at a time).
- Engage core, lift body, and load weight onto arms.
Roll out calves from knee joint down to ankle, and then perform calf
Supine Spinal Alignment
With Scissor Arms
Place edge of roller directly under tailbone (roller extends behind
you lengthwise), and lie back so entire spine, including head, is
With feet about hip-distance apart, flat on floor, flex knees and
bring arms straight up over shoulders toward ceiling, palms facing.
Slowly scissor arms: Let one arm/hand fall back behind head toward
floor, while other falls down by side.
Continue to scissor arms, moving through pain-free range of motion
that is easy to control.
- Variations: Abduct arms to sides of body, or move one arm at a time.
Supine Bridge and Leg Series
From same position as above, slowly move into bridge: lifting hips
first, then lower back and finally midback.
Hold position at top of movement (with gluteals), take deep breath,
exhale and slowly bring body back to roller, one spinal section at a
time in reverse order.
- Repeat, matching movement with breath, 3–6 reps.
Stabilize body by placing one foot and both hands on floor while
lifting opposite leg straight up toward ceiling.
Point and flex ankle as you slowly and with control lower leg until it
reaches floor. Focus on maintaining leg length, moving with control
and keeping spine on roller.
- Repeat 2×–3×; switch sides.
When you’ve finished, have participants roll off and lie supine on the
floor. Guide them through a 60-second meditation, encouraging them to
breathe deeply and focus on feeling their body weight supported by the
floor, bringing attention to their long, extended limbs and relaxed