How to Use a Foam Roller and Look Chic as Fuq

Foam rolling — where you place a cylindrical block of foam on a hard, flat surface and then rub various body parts against it to loosen tight muscles — is huge among denizens of the fitness community. But here’s the thing: foam rolling (or self-myofascial release, say it out loud) is also an effective and affordable way to achieve a deep-tissue massage. Which most people — evangelists of sitting and eating as opposed to boxing and cycling — can appreciate.

But how do you foam roll? What do you foam roll? And can you do it while dressed in ready-to-wear? With the expert advisement of Ariel Foxie, a trainer with S10 who is really good at rolling out his calves; our friend Svetlana, a model from Russia; and lots of clothes both from my closet and not, I have set out to answer the hardest-hitting question of them all with a resounding yes.

1. Rolling Out Your Back in Prada

Place the foam roller on the floor, lay against it and begin shimmying from side to side as if trying to dance while horizontal. This technique is particularly effective for people who spend the majority of their day hunched over desks. It helps with blood circulation and to relieve that insufferable tightness that makes your shoulders crack. (Just me?)

2. Roll Out Your Hips & Glutes in Rosie Assoulin

For this exercise, you’ll want to sit on your sit bones (not the official term for this body part, but let’s go with it) first with your right ankle over the left knee to expose your left glute. Roll back and forth, back and forth, like a baby being rocked inside her carriage. You should do this 10 to 15 times on one side and then switch the crossing of your legs and hit up the right glute. When you get up, you’ll feel like Gumby.

3. Roll Out Your Quads in Maryam Nassir Zadeh

This pose is the most compromising, but also the most satisfying. You’re going to lay the foam roll horizontally and then attack it, stomach down, like it is your bedroom partner. Then, bend your right knee and make sure the roller is attacking your left quad (basically the front of your thigh). If it feels like your leg is being burned from inside out, congratulations! You’re doing it right. Now repeat on the other side pls.

4. Roll Out Your Inner Thigh in Jacquemus

Now you’re going to put on a polka-dot top, tell everyone Sharon Stone wore it once and then pair it with red leggings because you’re the real Carrie Bradshaw and your inner thighs need to loosen up, dammit. The construction of this pose is not very different from exhibit three, but the onus is on you to move the roller from under the straight leg, placing it neatly beneath the one that is bent. Now sway from groin to knee and cry, sway and cry.

5. Roll Out Your Calf Because Heels 

Which of the following shoes do you think Svetlana wore with this outfit?

Trick question! She wore none of them, but I wore these, and let me tell you: When I was done (walking five blocks to work, then from the bathroom to my desk at least six times over the course of the day), my calves were so tight that I may as well have hung Going Out of Business signs on them. I didn’t do that because how do you wear a sign on your legs and also, even if I could figure that out, I couldn’t find any signs that were small enough, but never mind all of that because I just did backside push ups and got all the tension up and out of them calves.


Modeled by Svetlana Mukhina of Silent Models NY, follow her on Instagram @svetlanamukhina. Foam rolling instruction by Ariel Foxie, follow him on Instagram @_arielfox. Photos and GIFs by Edith Young.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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