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Warm Up by Rolling Out

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) 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 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.

For rolling exercises 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.

Susane Pata

Susane Pata travels the world delivering fitness education as a global master instructor/presenter for TRX®, Life Fitness and Trigger Point™. When not traveling, she trains clients, instructs group fitness sessions and writes to strongly advocate for creative, progressive and smart fitness programming.

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