This is Melissa, one of Dustin’s bloggers.

A foam roller is a great (and inexpensive) tool to release tight muscles.  Using one is like getting a massage without the high price tag.   You can use a foam roller to release a tight IT band, help relieve shin splints and increase flexibility and range of motion among other things.  The basic principal is to use your own body weight to apply pressure to the muscles and soft tissue to lengthen and relax them.  Lay the body part you want to work on the foam roller and use your body weight to apply pressure as you roll.  You can use your hands and feet to balance and adjust the amount of pressure applied.  Below is a short video I did showing you some of my favorite techniques.

[youtube A-N1Epq-Oso foam roller]

This is great to do after a hard workout.  I find it significantly reduces the onset of muscle soreness after a workout.  When you first start using a foam roller you may feel some discomfort, adjust your pressure if it is too painful.  As always, before starting this please consult your physician if you have any vascular or chronic pain issues.

What is your favorite exercise tool?