Q & A with a Personal Trainer on the Benefits of Foam Rolling

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If you are like most people you’ve probably seen foam rollers in the gym but have never used one before. Foam rolling is a warm-up and cool-down practice that a lot of athletes utilize to help them stretch. With National Foam Rolling Day coming up, we spoke with Campus Recreation Complex (CRC) personal trainer Michael Iannarone to tell us why everyone should incorporate this into their stretching routine. Iannarone is a Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist (NSCA and NASM) and has been training since 2005.

How do you incorporate foam rolling into your client’s workouts?

Foam rolling is part of my clients’ warm-up. I need them to be able to move with some fluidity, and not feel sore, stiff, or lacking in flexibility. The foam roller falls under a category called Self Myofascial Release (SMR). Myo means muscle, and Fascial is just fascia (like Plantar Fasciitis for example) ... It allows the muscles to be smoothed out, from any tightness and/or adhesions. I always give the example of... a pair of pants, wrinkled still, after coming out of the dryer, you still need to iron them. It seems to paint a picture in their minds. Corny, but it works.

If a client is still sore or feeling any discomfort during the actual workout, then we can use the roller in the middle of the session to ensure they don't tighten up anymore or to work out an adhesion that is hindering their movement(s). Lastly, the roller can be used as a cool-down as well, to help alleviate some soreness that may come later on that day or the next. Foam rollers can be incorporated in multiple ways!

What would you say are the main benefits of foam rolling?

Foam rolling works out tighter muscles to help you to move better in daily life reduces adhesions which hinder the muscles from performing and allows the muscles to work together correctly. Foam rolling can also help increase flexibility and aid with recovery.

How should someone use a foam roller?

You want to pick a specific muscle group, start at the top of that muscle, work your way down to the bottom of it, but roll slowly. If, you find an adhesion (a knot, bump, etc.), then stop and keep the roller right there for about 30 seconds, while maintaining your breathing (holding your breath makes it hurt more), and then continue on with that muscle. You can work your way down, back up, and back down again, and you should be able to tell a difference- some tightness is gone, and/or adhesion isn't as noticeable. Also, NEVER foam roll over a joint. Only use on a muscle, then move it or yourself to another muscle. Rollers were never meant to hit bone, ligaments, or tendons, as this is painful and dangerous.

What benefits do you think there are to having a personal trainer?

The benefits of having a real fitness professional are endless. The trainer can help you to realize what your actual goals are, make them realistic, set time frames for reaching these goals, and help you to stay on track. They can also educate you on what to do/not do, assist with making better/healthier decisions, push you harder than you'd push yourself, aid in building your confidence, and teach you how to do this all on your own. The one thing a trainer shouldn't be doing is motivating someone. Motivation comes from within, so if you're not already motivated to exercise, the trainer isn't going to be able to assist you in all the areas I mentioned above. This one is just my personal opinion though.

Foam rolling is a healthy habit with many day-to-day benefits that anyone can pick up. The CRC personal training program is a great way to learn more tips and tricks like this! Trained staff provide participants with a fitness program tailored to their specific needs- one which helps them set reachable goals, motivates them, and educates them in fitness conditioning through the advanced training method. If you want to take advantage of this program go to to meet the trainers and learn more about this program.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Christine Kapurch
  • Created:05/09/2019
  • Modified By:Christine Kapurch
  • Modified:05/09/2019