Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Use foam rollers for aching muscles and joints between massages

A deep tissue massage helps to relieve muscle soreness and joint stress, but it does come with a price tag. This is not to suggest you eliminate massages, but to share with you an inexpensive technique, using a foam roller that will release muscle tightness, to get you through until your next massage appointment. The foam roller not only stretches your muscles and tendons, but also breaks down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue that can limit everyday movement. The now popular foam rollers were originally associated with elite athletes and physical therapists, but have since graduated into gyms, Pilates studios, yoga classes and the home. You will be using your own body weight by lying on the roller and moving back and forth on selected areas you want to target; pressure may be controlled by putting more or less body weight on the rollers. Foam rollers are cylinder-shaped, high-density foam that come in varying lengths, shapes and firmness. The cost ranges from $12 to $40 and they may be found online or at most any sporting-goods store.

If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Trainer Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. She can be reached at

Your move | Marga Menzies demonstrates this month's exercises.

Hamstring (back of thighs) and calves: Sitting, place roller under back of thighs. With hands on floor behind you, lift buttocks slightly off floor. Slowly roll back and forth from buttocks to back of knees. For calf muscles, place roller under calves. Lift hips slightly, using hands for support, and roll from below knee to ankle.

Quadriceps (front of thighs): Place roller under front of thighs, with lower arms resting on floor, head in alignment with spine, eyes facing downward. Contract abdominals to prevent the lower back from sagging. Using arms, roll back and forth from bottom of hip to top of knee.

Back and chest: This is an awesome stretch for posture. Lie on a long foam roller, shoulders and hips in alignment and spine straight, knees bent and feet on floor to prevent stressing lower back, head supported by foam roller. Place a pillow or small towel under your head if you need more support. Allowing arms to fall to the sides, palms up, will stretch the chest. Taking deep breaths, relax for several minutes. Be aware that lying on a foam roller should never be painful. A good alternative for stretching exercises would be half rollers, as one side of the roller has a solid base.

How to Use Foam Rollers

1. Always warm up muscles before beginning.

2. Place roller under soft tissue area you want to target to release tension.

3. Always roll on soft tissue. Avoid rolling over bones or joints.

4. To roll with less pressure when working the lower body, sit near end of roller and roll with one leg.

5. Gently, roll back and forth over targeted area five to 10 times.

6. When you find a noticeably tight area, hold that position a few seconds, until it begins to soften.

7. If an area is too painful for direct pressure, work the area around it.

8. Drink water when finished.

9. If you have any chronic pain or cardiovascular issues, check with your physician before beginning a foam roller workout.

Use foam rollers for aching muscles and joints between massages 08/28/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 5:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  2. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  3. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion


    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  4. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  5. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.