So you can bench press a car and deadlift a truck, but can you bend down and touch your toes or hug your knees to your chest? With so much mixed information about stretching, static v. dynamic, pre-workout v. post-workout, it’s tough to know the best way to relieve muscle tension. But there’s a simple technique that will keep your muscles sliding and gliding with ease. Taking proper care of underlying fascia is your new secret weapon to improving mobility, flexibility, and range of motion.

What Is Fascia?

Fascia is a thin, elastic-like connective tissue surrounding the muscle that supports and protects the body from injury by providing hydration to the muscle fibers and keeping the muscles in place. Recent research on the relationship between fascia and muscle shows that the muscles actually distribute a large portion of their contractile forces onto fascial sheets. In some muscles, for example the gluteus maximus, 85% of the muscle fibers go to the distal fascia rather than to the theoretical muscle insertion. So whether you’re a triathlete or a body builder, keeping the fascia in optimal health is key in improving overall performance.

Foam Roller

How It Works

Adhesions, or knots, in the fascia can occur from overuse and trauma causing the soft tissue to become restricted, which may result in joint pain, muscle tension and diminished blood flow to the surrounding area. Foam rolling, or self-myofascial release, targets adhesions by providing focused pressure that encourages the surrounding muscle to relax. This healthy habit can improve flexibility while expanding your range of motion and helping relieve muscle tension—and it doesn’t’ take long to get the results you want.

Foam Rolling 101

It’s important while rolling to do so in a slow, controlled manner. When you feel a tight knot, focus pressure on the area for about 15 seconds and then move on. Roll each muscle group for about 1-2 minutes.


Sit on the roller and cross your right leg over your left knee and lean on the right hip. Roll the right glute in a back and forth motion. You can use your hands on the floor for support. Switch legs and repeat. 


Take plank position with the rollers beneath your legs just above the knees. roll over the entire length of the quadriceps, both legs at a time. You can lean to either side to get more pressure on each leg.


Face the floor and bend your right leg to place the inner right thigh on the roller. Roll back and forth to massage the inner portion of the leg from just above the knee to the upper inner thigh area. Switch legs and repeat.


Sit with your right leg on the roller, the left knee bent and your hands on the floor behind you for support. Roll on the right hamstring from just above your knee to below your glute. Switch legs and repeat.


Place the roller underneath your upper back at shoulder height. Roll from just above the shoulders and to about the end of your rib cage. Do not roll your lower back as there is little support for your spine and it can cause injury. 


Similar to rolling quads, take side plank position on the right side and gently roll over the right IT band. Roll from just above the knee to the upper hip. Slow movements are best as this can be a painful area to target. Focused pressure on tighter areas for longer intervals can help release more tension and breakup adhesions. Switch legs and repeat.