8-Step Guide to Foam Rolling

Hit all 8 of these areas 4-5 days per week, preferably before workouts. When you foam roll regularly, less time is required for each area. Spend about 8-10 minutes total on this entire routine. Greater frequency with less intensity is much better than greater intensity less often. This is a great way to check in with your body before you exercise, and you’ll go into your session ready to perform!

1. Feet
With a tennis ball, lacrosse ball or similar, roll back and forth on the bottom (plantar) surface of the feet several times. Roll both front to back and side to side. 

2. Calves
With one or both calves on foam roller, roll up and down from near the ankle up almost to the knee. Flex and extend at the ankle and rotate lower leg side to side to vary the pressure and intensity. This is especially useful at the musculotendinous junction of the muscles that make up the calf (gastrocnemius and soleus) and Achilles tendon.

3. Hamstrings
Roll from ischial tuberosities (bony aspect you can feel when seated on floor) down to a few inches above the back of the knee. Allow legs to rotate to put pressure on medial (semimembranosus and semitendinosus) and lateral (biceps femoris) hamstrings, or focus on one leg at a time for more pressure as needed.

4. Hips
Ankle over opposite knee, lean into the focus side and give attention to glutes (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus) as well as external rotators such as piriformis and quadratus femoris.

5. Quads
Focus on both or just one at a time. Roll from hip to just above the knee and allow yourself to rotate to get medial (vastus medialis) and lateral (vastus lateralis) as well as rectus femoris and vastus intermedius in the middle of the thigh. The lateral (outside) aspect is often tender, so go slow and remember to breathe.

6. Adductors
Orient foam roller so your body is parallel to the roller with one leg on top. Roll from just above the knee to a few inches below the pubic bone, where the adductors originate.

7. Back
Lying on top of foam roll with hands supporting head and neck, roll from low back to upper back. You can focus on one side at a time by shifting your weight but be careful of floating ribs.

8. Lats
Lying on side with foam roll near armpit, roll down gently from near armpit to mid-ribcage, making sure not to go down as far as floating ribs. Rotate body forward and back to get deeper into latissimus dorsi.


Kristin Louderback

TRIATHLON / RUNNING / ULTRA-RUNNING COACH: Kristin is the true north of your triathlon journey: guiding you forward, responding to your ups and downs, redirecting when needed, and always focusing on the goals ahead.