Aggressive foam roller use may feel good, but it can override your pain sensation. When that happens, it’s possible to use too much pressure or work too long on a particular muscle. “Just because it hurts doesn’t mean it’s more effective,” Hansen says. “It’s better to underwork tissue than overwork it.” Make sure to avoid bony areas and places where tendons attach. If you’re dealing with IT band syndrome, focus on the middle, not the insertion points of the knee and hip tendons.
Hansen recommends using the foam roller after your workout, rather than before. Begin by lightly foam rolling an area for 30 seconds, then gently stretch the area for 10 seconds. You can repeat that cycle up to three times on each body area. Hansen says that the foam roller should be just one piece of your recovery process, not your only “go-to” technique.