Athletic young woman is holding a foam roller for exercise

The more I read about my running and triathlon training, the more I realize I need a foam-rolling routine. I have a foam roller, but I’m not exactly sure how to use it.

Why should I use a foam roller:

Why should I be foam rolling anyway? Well, to start, some people call foam rolling “the poor man’s massage,” and who wouldn’t want to get a massage any time they want? Massage has great benefits, whether it is done by a qualified professional or by you with your handy, affordable foam roller (which can cost about $10-$30 depending on the size you want). Rolling the muscles in your body will help you relax and de-stress. It will help prevent injuries and it can make you more flexible.

Foam Roller usage?

Every day, according to the article “What Are the Benefits of Foam Rolling” on the FitSugar website: Every. Single. Day. Tim Rich, a trainer at Crunch Gym, says in the article that whether or not you are an athlete, you should be using the roller daily.

Renowned strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle, Director of Elite Conditioning in Boston, Mass., says there really is no universal rule on how often we should be rolling out our muscles. He says, however, that he has his athletes use the foam roller before every work out and afterward if the muscles are sore.

In his article, “Using Foam Rollers,” Boyle says, “Foam rolling prior to a workout can help decrease muscle density and promote a better warmup. Rolling after a workout may help muscles recover from strenuous exercise.”

Foam Roller Benefits for Triathletes

Triathlon coach of NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness in Colorado and author of the “Triathlete’s Guide to Race Week,” Nicole Drummer, shares a great basic foam rolling routine for triathletes on USA Triathlon’s Multisport Lab. It gets the whole body: glutes, IT band, calves, lats, rhomboids, adductors and quads. Click the link to see Drummer’s foam rolling routine for triathletes complete with photos.

Foam Roller Benefits for Runners

The Runner’s World website has a great foam rolling routine with accompanying videos. It hits all the major muscles that runners need to take care of: glutes and piriformis, IT band, quads, hamstrings and calves. Click the link to see the foam rolling for runners routine from Runner’s World.

Foam Roller Research & Evidence

With all of the opinions and recommendations out there it is hard to decipher between what is personal preference and what is scientific fact. The website Healthy But Smart has done all of the research for you in their article Do Foam Rollers Actually Work? A Review of the Evidence. Healthy But Smart is a social enterprise dedicated to helping humans make evidence based decisions when it comes to their health.

Do you have a foam roller? How often do you use it?