Stories from Active Recovery

This 5-minute foam rolling routine doubles as a massage for your most-used muscles

Rachel Lapidos

Rachel LapidosApril 16, 2020

Foam rolling is one of those fitness practices that you likely have a love/hate relationship with. Yes, you should be doing it for relief from muscle tightness, but it can burn-so-good when you hit those super sore hotspots. To have your most-used muscle groups saying “ahhhhh” as they release, Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland is bringing us a lower body foam rolling routine that you can do in five minutes flat.

“I love foam rolling because you can do it just about anywhere, it’s great for myofascial release, and it’s great for just about anybody,” says Copeland in this week’s episode of Well+Good’s YouTube fitness series Good Moves. “You can do it before you workout and before you warmup, and you can also do it as injury prevention after you workout.”It works whether you’re a runner, a HIIT workout devotee, or if your lower body is tight from sitting all day long (because that happens too). “The good thing is that it’s going to feel a little bit like a massage—it should feel that way at least when you finish,” she says. Pro tip: Try and stay relaxed, and look forward to the sweet relief that you’ll get at the end.

Try this lower body foam rolling routine

Do each move for 30 seconds on each leg. 

1. Calf rolling: Start on your right side by placing your right calf on top of the foam roller. Go slowly up and down, and when you hit a sweet spot or tender area, hover there and move side to side. Lift your hips off of the ground as you roll. Then, hit the left side.

2. Hamstring rolling: In the same position, start rolling above the knee behind your leg to hit your hamstrings. Go up and down, and be sure to hover on places of tension.

3. Glute rolling: Get on top of your foam roller, cross your right leg on top of the left into a figure-four shape, and roll out that hip area back and forth. Hover on tight spots, then switch sides.

4. IT band rolling: Cross your back leg over to the front for stability, and roll up and down along the side of your leg. Roll down to just above the knee, and be sure to breathe through this. Switch sides.

5. Quad rolling: Lie face down with your foam roller underneath your quads, with the other leg out to the side. Start just above the knee cap and work your way up and down with the roller. Switch sides.

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