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How to Foam Roll Your Hamstrings

by Patty Weasler, RN October 06, 2020 0 Comments

Starting to foam roll hamstrings is an inexpensive and effective way to release tension and pain. It’s a form of self-massage that can release adhesions, break apart scar tissue, and relax your muscles. A foam roller can be used almost anywhere making it a great addition to your workout routine or to just keep your muscles limber. Check out our guide below to learn how to foam roll your hamstrings.

How Foam Rolling Helps

Foam rolling benefits the hamstring muscles through a series of slow, methodical movements. The constant pressure of the foam roller against the hamstring as it’s being moved up and down the muscle group releases tension and works like a self-myofascial release. Here is a full list of its benefits:

  • Relaxes tight hamstrings and reduces stiffness
  • Improves blood flow to the area
  • Releases tight fascia to allow better muscle movement
  • Improves your range of motion
  • Reduce muscle fatigue and improve muscle recovery

Foam rolling works best when used in with other treatments for hamstring injuries. Check out this resource to learn more about how to treat a pulled hamstring.

Best Foam Roller Exercises

Here are two foam roller exercises to loosen your hamstrings.

Hamstring Roll and Floss

A tight hamstring can cause lower back pain. This hamstring exercise uses a foam roller to stretch and strengthen your hamstring. Start by sitting on the ground with a foam roller under the back of your thigh. Slowly lift your foot and lower leg off of the ground and then lower it back down. Move on to another spot on your hamstring once you’ve loosened up.

Hamstring Roll

Another foam rolling exercise that works on the hamstring but uses your own body weight to press deep into the muscles. Begin sitting on the ground with the foam roller under your knees. With your hands behind your back, slowly move your body over the foam roller, going up and down your hamstring. Stop at any sore spot to give it more attention.

Foam Rolling Tips

The benefits of foam rolling will be most noticeable if you do it correctly and know all the tips and tricks. Here are our best foam rolling tips to get you going in the right direction:

  • Move the foam roller slowly over your muscles to release trigger points and tightness.
  • If you find an area that is sore when you foam roll over it, focus on that spot for 1 minute to release the tension.
  • Know the difference between discomfort and pain. Discomfort is acceptable, pain is not.
  • Work multiple muscles, not just one spot. Pain in one area can be caused by muscle tightness in another area.
  • Be consistent and foam roll on a regular basis to see real results.

When to Try Foam Rolling for Hamstrings

Foam rolling isn’t always the right answer and can actually be dangerous when used incorrectly. Here are the do’s and don’t for foam rolling your hamstrings.

Do Foam Roll:

  • Before Exercise

    Foam rolling before you workout your hamstrings. will warm up your muscles and soft tissue to prep them for exercise. It can improve your flexibility which can help prevent injury.

  • After Exercise

    Grab your foam roller after you exercise to combat soreness after a hard workout and to continue to work on your flexibility. It turns out that a study showed that foam rolling after exercise has been linked to a decrease in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

    Stretches are another great way to cool down after exercises. Find a guide to hamstring stretching here.

Don’t Foam Roll:

  • Hamstring Injury

    Foam rolling over a serious hamstring injury can cause pain and make the injury worse. Never roll over a torn hamstring or if you have swelling or bruising. Also, if you are prone to blood clots, check with your doctor before you start foam rolling.

  • On the Wrong Spots

    Don’t foam roll over your hamstring tendons at the knee or at your pelvis. This can cause damage to the tendons or compression injuries.

Taking the Right Precautions When Foam Rolling

Foam rolling your tendons is a great way to increase your range of motion and release tension. It can be done in the comfort of your own home and just one foam roller, making it accessible and inexpensive. It’s like a deep tissue massage without the cost of a massage therapist. But always check with your doctor or physical therapist before you begin or if you have any questions.

Sources:

https://www.openfit.com/big-benefits-of-foam-rolling

https://www.sports-injury-physio.com/post/foam-roller-hamstring

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26618062/

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Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.



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