Foam rollers offer great value in injury prevention, as they help smooth and lengthen tight muscles. While they are primarily used in post-workout recovery, foam rollers can actually be a large part of the actual workout. Not only can foam roller exercises help increase strength, but encourage and promote better stability and balance. Shake up your standard workout regimen with these 7 foam roller exercises!
7 Foam Roller Strengthening Exercises
Complete the indicated foam roller exercises and repetitions for a total of three sets:
Kick off the workout with a plank, placing the foam roller shoulder width apart. Hold the position like a standard plank, keeping the core and back straight and elbows slightly neutral, with the body tight enough to stabilize the roller. For one repetition, hold the plank stance for 20 to 30 seconds.
2. Plank with Arm Raises
Start by getting into the plank position as indicated above. Slowly lift one arm away from the roller, hold for two seconds, and return arm into plank position. Repeat with the opposite arm, alternating between the two, and completing 10 to 12 reps per arm.
Starting in foam roller plank position, lower the chest towards the roller like a standard push-up, keeping the back straight. Push back up for one complete repetition, tackling 10 to 12 reps. If unable to complete a standard push-up, modify them by stabilizing with the knees.
4. Plank Jacks
Plank jacks are essentially the combination of a jumping jack and plank, offering both cardiovascular and strength-training benefits. First get comfortable with the plank jack movement itself and when mastered the movement, place a foam shoulder width apart as described in the plank exercise.
5. Overhead Squats
Squats are superior in strengthening leg muscles, with further stabilizing benefits from an overhead squat. Using the same technique found here, replace the standard barbell with a foam roller and complete 10 to 12 repetitions.
6. Under-the-Feet Squats
Conversely from the overhead squat, place the foam roller underneath the feet. Standing atop the foam roller, gain balance and complete a standard squat for 12 repetitions.
7. Wall Squats
Wall sits are generally stationary and require stabilizing the core, quads, and glutes. Enhance muscle contraction by getting into wall squat stance, placing a foam roller behind your back (approximately midway), squatting down until the roller has reached your shoulder blades, and standing back up. Complete the exercise for 10 to 12 reps.
Especially if first new to weight or resistance training, start the exercises slow and advance as tolerated by increasing repetitions or sets. And equally as important, stretch out with the foam roller following all workouts! To best ensure stretching safety, find the do’s and don’ts of foam rolling here.