Written by Fiona Samuel

Foam Roller Exercises and Stretches for Injury Prevention and Physiotherapy

Foam roller exercises… most people either love them or hate them!

Truthfully, most people start out hating them but learn to love them when they feel the benefits of regular use.

I’ll be honest, using a foam roller on the ITB (Iliotibial band) will hurt, but for those of you that regularly run, cycle or play sport they are a fantastic way to self-release the muscles and fascia of the legs. This is important in preventing injuries such as runners knee. This shows you how you can use the foam roller to release the ITB.

However, there is so much more that one can do with the humble foam roller. They are fantastic for releasing the spine after a long day at the office, counteracting the poor posture we often find we adopt from hours of sitting. We see lots and lots of office workers in Melbourne who have developed neck and back pain from sitting at the desk for two long. These two clips are brilliant for helping with these issues.


Another wonderful exercise that the foam roller can be used for back stiffness is called Thread The Needle. Once again, thoracic spine stiffness is one of the biggest thing we see in our city workers. When doing this exercise just remember the firmer you press the back of the hand onto the roller, the stronger the stretch you’ll feel behind the shoulder.

The foam roller can also be used to challenge your core strengthening and stability exercises. For example, if you’re training for the Melbourne marathon or just enjoy running around the Tan, these will work well for you.

On the other hand if you’re just looking or core strengthening or stability these are also a good way to start. This exercise can be made harder by placing the feet and knees together, or adding small hand weights. You can also perform other Pilates based exercises on the roller such as your scissors exercise (to facilitate activation of the deep abdominal muscles and incorporate the concept of disassociation where you’re keeping the trunk still as you move your legs – perfect for runners).

If you’d like more information on how to perform these exercises please don’t hesitate to contact one of the Physiotherapists here at Viva. We’re always happy to show you a few more interesting exercises utilising the foam roller, which by now I’m sure you’ll have a new-found love for!