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Beyond Rolling... What else can you do with a Foam Roller?

By: Dr. Lisa Bodratti, PT, DPT

Have you ever tried to use a foam roller for some self massage on your IT band and decided it was only for those who truly enjoy pain, so now it sits getting dusty in your corner? Well here are some other options to make use of that purchase AND make yourself feel better.


Thoracic extension over foam roller: Lay on your back with your knees bent and a foam roller on the floor. Cradle the back of your head with your hands as you extend backwards over the foam roller. Hold for 5-10 seconds before coming back to center. Repeat 5-10 times.

Active child’s pose: Start on your hands and knees with a foam roller in front of you. Place your hands on the foam roller with your thumbs up, pinkies touching the roller. Bring your bottom down toward your heels as you roll the foam roller out in front of you. Imagine you are reaching your fingertips as far forward as you can and your tailbone as far back as you can. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Pec stretch laying on roller: Lay on the foam roller with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and spine supported on the roller. Let your arms fall off to the sides to feel a stretch through your chest. You can also bend your elbows to try “cactus pose” for a more intense stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat 5 times.


Serratus slide on wall: Standing with a wall in front of you, bring your foam roller onto the wall in a horizontal position at chest level. Stand up tall with good posture and place the pinky side of your hands on the foam roller, shoulder-width apart. Keeping good posture, roll the foam roller up the wall as high as you can without letting the foam roller fall off the wall. Make sure not to lean into the wall, but rather keep your core tight and stay upright. You should feel some work through your shoulder blade muscles. Try 2-3 sets with 8-12 repetitions each.

Deadbug on foam roller: Lay on the foam roller with knees bent, feet flat and spine supported on the foam roller. Reach both of your arms up toward the ceiling. With your core engaged, lift one knee off the ground to a “tabletop” position as you drop the opposite arm backwards over your head towards the floor. Bring both limbs back to center and repeat with the other side. Try 2-3 sets for 10 repetitions each side.

Give these exercises a try and let us know if you have any other “foam roller hacks!”

Email us your questions!

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