What is a Foam Roller?

definition of terms


A foam roller is a fitness tool used for self-myofascial release – a form of massage to reduce muscle tightness and trigger points.


  • Foam rolling applies pressure to soft tissue and fascia to improve mobility, flexibility, and performance.
  • Regular use can decrease muscle and joint pain, speed injury recovery, reduce soreness, and improve circulation.
  • Foam rolling is like giving yourself a deep tissue massage anytime, anywhere. Apply to tight muscles before or after workouts.
  • Combine with dynamic stretches for optimal range of motion. Rolling too aggressively can damage tissue so be gradual.


  • Rolling the IT band, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, back and shoulders.
  • Using a rumble roller for a more rigid, textured density vs. basic foam rollers.

Related Terms

  • Trigger points, myofascial release, soreness, flexibility training

Common Questions

  • How often should I foam roll? Ideally daily, especially before and after workouts when muscles are tighter.
  • Does foam rolling help build muscle? Indirectly by improving circulation and mobility for training.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Stretching – Helps flexibility but doesn’t break up fascial adhesions like foam rolling.
  • Massage therapy – Works similarly but performed by a massage therapist.
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