RumbleRoller Deep-Tissue Massage ToolsU.S. Patents D660,450, 9,039,641, & 9,320,675
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Deep-Tissue Massage ToolsD E E P - T I S S U E   M A S S A G E   T O O L SDeep-Tissue Massage Tools

Foam Roller Exercises

Self-Myofascial Release

Injuries, repetitive motion, or even prolonged inactivity can degrade the function of your muscles and fascia (the network of connective tissue that surrounds and supports your muscles). This results in localized areas with compromised function, commonly referred to as knots or trigger points. Trigger points are usually hypertonic and tender to the touch, and restrict movement of the surrounding muscle.

The health of this dysfunctional tissue can often be restored through deep-tissue massage (sometimes called myofascial release). Applying firm pressure to a trigger point for several seconds helps release its tension and encourages recovery. A massage therapist is an expert at this type of therapy, but few people can afford to hire one as often as needed. The RumbleRoller, however, provides you with a very convenient and economical means of self-treatment.

Rolling Tips

Although the techniques in this instruction guide are called exercises, you should focus on relaxing your muscles, not flexing them. The rolling is best done very slowly and deliberately, and is the way that you scan your body for trigger points. As you roll, note any areas that feel unusually dense or tender. Pause at those points for several seconds to allow your RumbleRoller's bumps to sink in deeply. Gradually the muscle will begin to loosen and the pain will begin to dissipate.

It's not necessary to do every exercise in this instruction guide. For best results, focus on the exercises that provide you with the most relief and do them consistently. If you're an office worker, that might mean rolling your back for a few minutes each night to help reverse the damage caused by slumping in a chair all day. If you're a runner, it might mean rolling your glutes, IT bands, and calves after each run to improve recovery.

There's no right or wrong time for rolling. Many athletes use the RumbleRoller to loosen up their bodies immediately before training or competing. Others keep it at home and roll at night while watching TV.

Before You Begin

Below are basic instructions for some of the most common foam roller exercises. For more advanced or individualized instruction, please consult an experienced therapist or trainer.

All of the exercises can be done with either the full size RumbleRoller (as shown) or the Compact RumbleRoller. Note, however, that when using the Compact RumbleRoller, you will need to perform some of the lower body exercises (e.g. Quadriceps, Hamstrings) one leg at a time.

Start slowly. It doesn't matter how much time you spend on an exercise, and it's not necessary to count repetitions. Your goal is simply to increase the suppleness of each muscle. Some exercises will be surprisingly painful the first time you try them, but that may simply be an indication that you have a lot to gain from that exercise. Within a few weeks, the quality of your muscle tissue will improve, and those same exercises will become much more enjoyable.

Caution: Discontinue any exercise that causes your pain to worsen.


Position yourself face-down with both thighs resting on top of the foam roller. Support yourself on your elbows and forearms, and keep your abdominal and back muscles lightly flexed to stabilize your spine.

Roll slowly back and forth on the foam roller, from just above your knees to just below your hips, and pause at any spot that feels especially tender. Your quadriceps muscles should stay relaxed throughout the movement, and your toes should drag the floor. Because the quadriceps is such a large muscle group, you may want to spend extra time on this exercise. Repeat your back and forth movements until all tenderness dissipates.

To dig down deeper into the muscle and increase the intensity of this exercise, tilt your body to the left or right while rolling.
foam roller quadriceps exercise


Position yourself face-down, with legs partially spread. Support yourself on your elbows and forearms, and keep your abdominal and back muscles lightly flexed to stabilize your spine. Rest one knee on the floor and the groin area of the other leg against the top of the foam roller.

Roll the roller back and forth along the length of your adductors by slowly moving your hips to the left and right.
foam roller adductor exercise

Iliotibial Tract (IT Band)

Position yourself on your side, with your lower leg extended and on top of the foam roller, and your upper leg bent with your foot firmly on the floor. Support your upper body on one elbow and forearm. Keep your abdominal and back muscles lightly flexed to stabilize your spine.

Roll the outside of your thigh, from just below the hip joint to just above the knee. If the movement is too painful, reduce your force against the roller by shifting more of your weight to your foot that's on the floor.
foam roller it band exercise

Glute / Piriformis

Sit on the center of the foam roller, with one foot crossed to the opposite knee. Place one or both hands on the floor behind you to support your upper body.

Slowly rock and roll the glute of your bent leg. Then switch leg positions to roll the opposite glute.
foam roller glute exercise


Sit with back of your thighs on top of the foam roller and both hands on the floor behind you. Keep your leg muscles relaxed, and let your heels lightly drag the floor.

Roll your hamstrings from just above your knees to just below your pelvis. To increase intensity, shift your weight to one leg by crossing your legs at the ankle.
foam roller hamstring exercise


Take a position identical to that of the hamstring exercise, except with your calves instead of your hamstrings on top of the foam roller.

Roll from just above your ankles to just below your knees. Cross your legs at the ankle to increase the exercise's intensity.

For even greater stimulation, place one calf on top of the roller, and rock your leg left and right to allow the RumbleRoller's bumps to dig deeper into the muscle.
foam roller calf exercise

Lower Back

Caution: This exercise is not recommended for an individual with an injured or unstable lumbar spine.

Position yourself face-up, with your lower back on the foam roller, both knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles flexed to support your upper body and stabilize your spine. Look straight ahead and keep your head and neck in a neutral position. If necessary, place one or both elbows on the floor behind you for additional support.

Roll from just above your hips to just below your lower ribs. If you feel the roller against your spine, tilt your body slightly to the right or left to refocus the pressure on the muscles.
foam roller lower back exercise

Upper Back

Take a position identical to that of the lower back exercise, except with your upper back on top of the foam roller. Keep your abdominal muscles flexed and your head and neck in a neutral position.

Roll slowly from the lower edge of your trapezius muscles (lower-thoracic area) to the top of the rhomboids (upper thoracic area). Do NOT roll onto your neck.

To increase the intensity of this exercise, cross your arms in front of you and/or rock to the right and left as you roll.
foam roller upper back exercise


Lie on your side on the floor, with your arm outstretched and over the top of the foam roller. Position the roller in the axiliary area (armpit) pressed against the latissimus muscle.

Rock and roll slowly in all directions. The range of the rolling motion for this exercise is limited, but rocking from side to side will allow deep penetration of the muscle.
foam roller latissimus exercise


Caution: This exercise is not recommended for an individual with an injured or unstable cervical spine.

Lie face-up on the floor, with the back of your neck resting on top of the foam roller. Slowly rock your head from side to side, allowing the roller to press into the muscles on the sides of your neck. Keep your body relaxed during this exercise. The weight of your head should be the only force against the foam roller.
foam roller neck exercise

Additional Instruction

Don't miss the latest RumbleRoller Videos from coaches Jeff Alexander, Charles Staley, Dr. Mark Cheng, Dr. Sara Soloman, and Tony Horton. For more advanced techniques, we recommend Jeff Alexander's SMR Tips DVD. And for the best hands-on training, consider attending an Alexander Method of SMR Certification Clinic.
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