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How to use a foam roller

Self-myofascial release is the fancy term for self-massage. Using a foam roller can control the healing process of muscles that have tightened, knotted or compressed.

Deep compression will break up muscle knots, allowing normal blood flow between these tight groups or layers of muscle. This, in turn, allows oxygenated blood to help build and repair any damaged muscle, returning the muscle tissue to full health.

Try these three foam roller exercises to target areas that will commonly tighten up – and stay tight – after particular forms of exercise. The secret is to roll slowly, on or around the area where there’s pain. Use your bodyweight to control the amount of pressure you place on the affected area, and roll an inch per second. 

Outer thigh foam roller ()

Outer thigh

Lie on your side, place roller under your thigh. Angle body up, then lower until you feel the pressure in the muscle. Use feet to push backwards and forwards.

20 to 30 secs 

Thigh foam roller exercise ()


Place roller under thighs, and push up on your hands until arms are extended. Allow roller to take your weight, and push yourself back and forth.

20 to 30 secs 

Upper back foam roller ()

Upper back

Sit down with roller behind you. Lie back and let it take your weight. Now lift hips off the floor, remaining aligned, and push off with your feet.

20 to 30 secs

For more advice advice and workouts, check out FS magazine's fitness section 

Photo: Pixeleyes

Illustrations: Nick Hardcastle