T Nation

Foam Roller


I just got a foam roller after seeing it mentioned all the time. The thing is, in the past most of the "rehab" stuff hasn't seemed to matter for me. Shoulder strains healed the same speed and seemed to occur as often it seemed whether I was doing YTWL and other shoulder stuff, etc.. (although I've never done them very consistently besides some shoulder warm up before benching). But I'm interested to see how this foam roller works.

So for those who use it...

  1. How do you use it? Times per week, where on the body and how long on each section of the body

  2. What were your issues and how has the foam roller helped? Complete relief, slight relief, gone for awhile unless you were to stop rolling for weeks, or still there every day until you do the rolling for the day?

By the way I have searched info on it but am wondering about your personal experiences with it.



If you go to youtube and type in foam rolling there are plenty of videos to give you ideas for exercises on it. Google Agile 8 from defranco too.

It's worked really well to loosen up my back, especially erectors and upper back (when it zipper cracks my spine it's orgasmic), and hams/quads. I was getting shin splints that went away after rolling them. You will want a tennis or lacross ball for myofascial release in your glutes.

I hope you got a 3' long roller. I don't think I could stand a 1'.

I try and use it every day, usually give it a whirl right before bed.


Thanks for the input, I read a few articles on it and just downloaded a free ebook on self-myofascial release by Mike Robertson so I think I'll have enough info on it, but was/am really interested in the actual results it provided for people because as I mentioned I never saw results from doing YTWL or DC shoulder stretch for about a month consistently (i.e. shoulders felt the same when sleeping and benching). Thanks for your input about your own experiences though, looks like it really helped.

I did get a 3' long one since it was only like $3 more than the 1' long one. I have tried tennis ball rolling but I'm not sure if it helped any, I never did it very long consistently, mostly just here and there without noticing much. I'm only 20 though, maybe these things will be more noticeable as I age. Another thing with the tennis ball was how long it took to cover my back, which the foam roller obviously can take care of much faster.


It's gonna hurt. Really good. Be prepared.



I use a 3' piece of PVC pipe wrapped in athletic tape and a Lacrosse ball for my chest, glutes, forearms, and biceps (sometimes triceps), and feet. Hurts like hell at first but it works better than any foam roller or tennis ball I have ever used.


use it as needed. i don't think theres a limit to how many times a week you can use it. as a matter of fact, the more the better. i would try getting a softer one and then a harder one like a pvc pipe. some areas require a little more pressure than the foam ones can give you. and lacrosse balls also work great, tennis balls too for areas that are a little more tender.


Yea I will be picking up a lacrosse ball soon as well.

But in general it's helped you guys get moderate-term relief from stiffness/tension in the muscles? My main issue is hips, hams and back feeling tight/tweaked often like I need to warm up just to move about, bend down, etc...I'm hoping it corrects that and helps to prevent back injuries/pulls while deadlifting. Is that something it should help in doing?


I use a PVC pipe for my back, glutes, quads and hams, 2-3 times a week. The foam rollers felt like pillows to me.

I spend more time (up to 20 mins) on hammies, quads and ITB. 5 mins on upper back.

I usually use the Pvc before a big DL and squat session. And on my light day or conditioning day, I'd spent 30 mins max working on rollin them fibres after working out.

  1. Every day, glutes, quads, hams, calves, IT band - how long depends on how tight things are.

  2. Going from zero to 2-3 times per week completely fixed the problem of being too sore from squats to deadlift later in the week. Going to every day helped regain hamstring flexibility, takes care of any leg tightness, and helps relieve hip tightness (but not 100%).