The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support

Search IHRSA Blog
« Colorado Athletic Club adds a new site with acquisition | Main | App measures biomarkers »

Take advantage of the variety foam rollers brings

Scott Lewandowski and Jennifer Karr Muzzey answer a technique question – what is a foam roller and what are the benefits? For those unaware, there are many ways to use them and there are multiple benefits. 

This question is the first of a new feature on Best Practices. On the first Monday of the month we will be taking a question from and then ask our leaders. 

Sharecare is a two-year-old website that is a health and wellness social media platform that connects people with questions with top-ranking experts. IHRSA is a strategic partner for the site that has a unique Q&A format that is collective wisdom, providing health-seeking consumers with answers reflecting multiple expert perspectives.  

Go to to see IHRSA’s answers on Sharecare. For more on IHRSA and Sharecare, click here

Q: "What is foam rolling and what is it good for?" 

A: Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique used regularly by personal trainers, pilates trainers, and physical therapists. Foam rolling loosens tight muscles to improve joint movement and decrease risk of injury by utilizing a cylindrical foam roller that ranges is from 1’ to 3’ long for 30-60 seconds per muscle. The movements result in restoring normal muscle length and balance for optimal performance of the muscles. Individuals rest the muscle on the foam roller and roll the body along the entire muscle.

Individuals should avoid pushing through pain by continuing to roll that will in fact tighten the muscle more and instead should stop and rest on painful areas to allow the muscle to relax.  Foam rolling has become so popular resulting in individuals purchasing foam rollers for their home. 

Foam rollers come in varying densities. It is recommended to start with a soft density foam roller especially if the user has very tight muscles and overtime begin using a higher density foam roller. 

Foam rolling can assist individuals in reaching their fitness goals by loosening tight muscles, restoring normal muscle length, and permitting normal muscle function.  Individuals wanting to learn how to use the foam roller properly should consult a fitness professional.   

Scott Lewandowski
Regional GM/Fitness Director
Fitness Formula Clubs



A: Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique that is used to to inhibit overactive muscles and improve soft tissue extensibility. Essentially the technique is to roll a dense foam cylinder under each muscle group until a tender area is found, maintaining bodyweight pressure for 30-60 seconds.

Used in concurrence with dynamic stretching and mobility, foam rolling relaxes muscles and is critical in improving function, flexibility, performance and most importantly, reducing injury.  Rollers come in different densities, sizes and circumferences to ensure appropriate activity for different populations. 

The kinetic chain is made up the soft tissue system:  (muscle, tendon, ligament and fascia) the neural system (nerves and CNS) and articular system (joints) - which exist as interdependent components. Muscle tightness restricts the range of motion a joint can be moved and can lead to poor movement patterns, fatigue and injury. By practicing soft tissue work, or self myofascial release (SMFR), athletes and clients correct muscle imbalances, improve joint range of motion, relieve muscle soreness and joint stress and maintain normal functional muscular length.  

Many trainers and therapists include foam rolling or SMFR as part of the warm-up and post workout prescriptions and as an activity clients should do independently to maximize recovery from workouts.   

Jennifer Karr Muzzey, CSCS, PES, USAW, MTS,
Fitness Director, Master Personal Trainer and Movement Training Specialist
River Valley Club


 To see the answers for this question on, click here.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.