Foam Roller Knee Exercises
Foam rollers are 6-inch wide cylinders of foam that you sit or lie on to apply direct pressure to muscle knots. Although you do not directly roll joints such as the knees, you can foam roll the muscles that attach to the knees to maintain flexibility and proper alignment of the joints. Stop at each point where you feel pain and hold for 30 to 60 seconds to release knots.
The hamstrings roll gets rid of knots in the hamstring muscles that run along the rear of the thighs. You actually roll the hamstrings and the upper hamstrings differently. To roll the upper hamstrings, sit on the foam roller with your knees bent and your hands on the floor behind you with your arms straight. Sit on the center of the foam roller. Roll slowly along the lower part of the buttocks where the hamstrings attach. Next, straighten your legs and roll the foam roller down the hamstrings until they almost touch the backs of your knees.
The quad roll targets the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh. To use a foam roller to release the knots in the quads, lie face down and put the foam roller at the top of your quads near your hips. Push your upper body off the floor with your arms straight and look forward. Next, walk your hands forward to roll the foam roller down your quads until the roller is just above the front of your knees.
IT Band Roll
The IT band roll exercise targets the IT band along the sides of the upper legs. This band of connective tissue connects into the knee. To do this exercise, begin in the same position as you did for the quad roll with your arms straight. Twist your hips and legs sideways to the right and place the foam roller at the top of your right outer thigh. Walk your hands forward to roll the foam roller down your leg until it is just above the outside of your knee. Repeat on the left outer thigh.
The peroneals roll lengthens and targets the muscles on the outside of the lower leg. These muscles attach to the bottom of the knee. To perform this exercise, prop yourself onto your forearms face down with the foam roller below your right knee. Lean to the right and cross your left leg onto your right calf. The foam roller should touch the outside of your calf. Roll from just below the knee down to directly above your ankle on your right leg. Repeat on your left leg.
- Su H, Chang NJ, Wu WL, Guo LY, Chu IH. Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-ups on Muscular Flexibility and Strength in Young Adults. J Sport Rehabil. 2017;26(6):469-477. doi:10.1123/jsr.2016-0102
- Beardsley C, Škarabot J. Effects of self-myofascial release: A systematic review. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015;19(4):747-58. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.08.007
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.