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Foam Rolling – Not Just for Athletes

Whether you are an athlete using a foam roller to roll tight muscles or an office worker who sits at a desk all day and needs to work on posture, foam rolling has benefits for everyone.

While these benefits are pretty well known among both professional and recreational athletes, this tool has actually been popular for a long time in the rehab world for all populations.   The most well-known use of a foam roller is to roll/massage tight muscles.  This is historically popular with athletes to roll the quadriceps, IT band, calf and hamstring muscles following a work out.  This can help improve flexibility, decrease pain and loosen tight muscles.   An example of this can be seen in the first picture below.   As physiotherapists working with all populations, we also use a foam roller to improve posture by stretching tight chest muscles (picture 2) and to improve thoracic spine/mid back mobility (picture 3).  These exercises are great for most people as we all struggle to maintain good posture.  Whether you sit at a desk all day, do manual labour that involves a lot of bending or you enjoy activities like cycling, swimming, baseball etc, these exercises will help to keep you moving.   Foam rollers come in many shapes and sizes and they all serve slightly different purposes.  Athletes will often gravitate towards harder, thicker foam rollers while individuals looking for a gentler, less painful experience would do better with a softer roller.  Short rollers are great for travelling and would work well for exercises 1 and 3 but the longer, three-foot roller, would be needed to lie on while doing exercise number 2.  These are but a few examples of different exercises that can be done with a roller.  They can also be incorporated into core strengthening exercises and other spinal rotation exercises.  

1.                                                          2.                                                      3. 

When using a roller, please take care to not work through unexpected or intense, concerning pain and discontinue the exercise if you are unsure if you are doing it properly.   Should you have any questions about these exercises, would like further guidance on how to safely use your foam roller or would like to pick one up for yourself, please give us a call at 705-788-1480, check us out at  or come visit us at our clinic!    Softer white rollers in both 1 and 3 foot lengthens can be purchased through our webstore or in the main lobby of our clinic.