Cellulite is suffered by nearly all women, so what can you do to keep it under control? One answer that I’ve come across is using a foam roller for cellulite. Read on to find out more about the benefits of foam rolling, what kind of foam rollers work best on cellulite, and some of the best foam roller cellulite exercises you can do.
The Foam Roller: Your Ally Against Cellulite
If you’ve not heard of a foam roller before, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how useful this chunk of foam can be.
Foam rollers are used primarily as a tool in a self-administrated technique called ‘myofascial release’ that can relax overactive and tense muscles. However, they are also commonly used in physical therapy, massage, or even some exercise routines that incorporate foam rollers.
And, (bringing me more to the point of this particular blog post) a little known fact is that they can be used to reduce and improve the appearance of cellulite on the legs and buttocks.
How Foam Rolling Can Reduce Cellulite
One of the causes of cellulite is poor circulation in the fatty tissues of the body. Foam rolling tackles this issue because of the mechanical stimulation it provides.
When rolling, you use your body weight on top of the roller to apply pressure to the area being worked. For cellulite, I like to roll my entire upper leg (all the way around the thigh), and of course, the butt.
While it can be painful at first due to the myofascial release – especially if you have tight muscles, foam rolling is super beneficial to all the tissues in the area. It stimulates blood and lymph flow, and this helps to increase circulation and healthy tissue growth and function.
I particularly like foam rolling because it is effectively a self-administered deep tissue massage, except you are letting your body weight on the roller do all of the hard work.
This kind of mechanical stimulation gives you all the benefits of regular massage, including relaxing muscle tension.
In terms of treating cellulite, it helps to break up interwoven fibres of fat that contribute to the ‘cottage cheese’ look, and promotes flushing of excess fluids and toxins from the area – both of these being symptoms associated with cellulite.
Types Of Foam Roller
In my opinion, the best foam roller for cellulite is any one that you will use consistently. Every individual will differ in their preferences for a foam roller, so you should get something that you think you’ll be more comfortable using on a daily basis.
There are a few types of foam roller available, from your stock-standard ‘vanilla’ plain foam roller (a smooth cylinder) to all different variations of rollers with specifically-designed nodules and massaging textures.
All foam rollers are generally made from a high-density foam that won’t break down; this allows the roller to provide enough resistance against your body weight in order to give a good massage while rolling. Some rollers are ‘firmer’ than others and these will provide a more intense massage.
Smooth Foam Roller
A basic foam roller for cellulite reduction can be reasonably inexpensive; it’s simply a cylinder of firm foam. The basic EPE high density foam roller below can be had from Amazon for as cheap as $10 at the time of writing.
Textured foam rollers come in all different forms, and some may prefer a textured roller as they feel it helps work into the tissues more during rolling.
The massage nodules are specifically designed to help release muscle ‘knots’, but they also work well on breaking up fatty deposits that can contribute to bad cellulite. Some can be quite aggressive though – like these nodules on the ‘rumble roller’:
There are a variety of different texture patterns available and it really is a bit of a personal preference – you’ll really need to experiment to find out what feels best for you.
Here are just a few of the different kinds of textures available:
Wider spaced and pointier massaging nodules can work to get into the tissues deeper, but some may find them more uncomfortable to use.
Foam rollers come in a range of sizes. Some brands offer a range of different length rollers, for example, the ‘Grid’ foam roller by Trigger Point Performance below – this roller is available in 5″, 13″ and 26″ sizes:
The diameter of the roller can also vary but most rollers usually measure around 5″- 6″ in diameter. Some rollers are solid foam; while others are constructed of strong ABS plastic piping finished with a foam texture layer on the outside.
Choosing A Foam Roller To Suit You
Choosing the right roller for your needs will depend on how you choose to use it. A longer roller might be more convenient if you plan to roll both legs at the same time, or do any other kind of foam roller exercises which may require a longer roller.
Once you’ve decided on a length, there comes the question of textured versus smooth? If you’re sensitive to pain, I suggest opting for the smooth roller and working your way up to a textured roller if you enjoy the results. Some textured rollers can cause bruising (though this effect will disappear as you continue to use the roller and your body adapts), which can turn some people off rolling.
Textured rollers are arguably more ‘aggressive’ and may help to break up cellulite more effectively than a smooth roller (just my perception, anyway) – but for either a smooth or textured roller you’ll be getting an amazing deep tissue massage that will benefit cellulite appearance.
Personally, I prefer to use a small-length smooth roller and roll each leg individually, as I find that I can focus on trouble areas more directly, with more pressure.
Foam Roller Cellulite Exercises
If you’ve never used a foam roller before, you might find it a little uncomfortable or even painful at first (particularly if you have a tight IT band – the thick band of muscle running down your outer thigh).
Don’t be discouraged though. The more you roll, the less uncomfortable it will feel as your muscles grow used to this treatment. And of course, the longer you continue to roll for on a consistent basis, the more anti-cellulite effects you’ll enjoy.
To use a foam roller, you place the body part to be rolled on the roller, and use your body weight to apply the pressure. This means you’ll need to balance yourself on the roller. You’ll need to use your hands on the ground to help balance and support the rest of your body, and the advantage to doing this is that you can also control the amount of weight you apply to the roller.
Here are the best foam roller exercises I’ve found to work for reducing cellulite on my legs and butt. I try to do these every night before bed time, even if it’s just for 2 minutes (which always ends up being longer once I start to enjoy the process).
I usually roll out in this order, first one leg, then the other.
1. Hamstrings (Back of Thighs)
For this one, face upwards and place the roller underneath the back of your upper thigh. Lift your weight up so you are balanced on the roller and your two hands behind you. Roll up and down the back of the leg from the butt to the knee.
2. Butt (Glutes and Pyriformis muscle)
This one follows on naturally from rolling out the hamstrings, as you’ll already be in the correct position. Cross one leg over so that the foot is resting on the opposite knee, then work into the glutes. There’s also a pressure point in here called the Pyriformis muscle – if you find it, just resting on that spot with pressure applied can help release this muscle and improve posture.
3. IT Band (Outer Thighs)
The iliotibial band runs up the outside of your outer thigh, and this muscle can be extremely tight on many people! This exercise will probably hurt the most out of all of them, but with consistency, the pain will subside. I like to do this one in a sideways plank position with both legs straight- it helps tone up the abdominal muscles as a nice little bonus.
4. Quads (Front Thighs)
Here’s another plank-type exercise that will help tone up your abdominals as well as keeping those thighs cellulite-free. Lying face down this time, position the roller beneath your thigh. Balance on your elbows and crawl forwards and backwards to roll up and down the front of the thigh, from the hip down to the knee.
5. Inner Thighs
I don’t often do inner thighs as I’m not prone to cellulite in this area, but here’s how to do these ones for the sake of completion. All 5 of these exercises combined will have your entire upper legs foam rolled – goodbye cellulite!
Consistency Is Key
If you want to remove cellulite, foam rolling can be a great way to incorporate massage into your cellulite reduction routine. However, being consistent is the key to success.
The more often and longer you spend rolling, the better the cellulite-reduction effects. If you can’t roll for a long time, just try for 2 short rolling sessions per day – once in the morning after you wake up and once before you go to bed. It only takes 2 minutes, will help you feel refreshed and relaxed, and boosts your circulation.
If you can spare a little more time, then you don’t only have to restrict your rolling to your cellulite problem areas. Check out this video rolling routine that also covers the back as well as the leg foam rolling exercises shown earlier:
If you really want to blitz that butt cellulite, then consider trying a cellulite-reducing exercise routine as well. I reviewed the Truth About Cellulite program a while ago, and found it to be a quick, no-nonsense routine that can definitely help get rid of that pesky cellulite.
Foam rolling can work wonders for your cellulite as well as overall muscle health and posture.
There are many different types of rollers available; make sure you get one that will be comfortable for you and suit your exercise needs. If unsure, you can’t go wrong with a simple plain one for around $10. All forms of rollers can be beneficial for cellulite as the deep massage stimulation helps break up fatty deposits and improves local circulation to the area.
Foam roller exercises for cellulite on the butt and thighs are relatively easy to perform and should be done consistently for the best results. Anyone can do these from home, and it’s both effective and easy!
Do you foam roll for cellulite? Have you noticed a difference in the appearance of your cellulite when you roll and when you don’t? Drop me a comment below; I’d love to hear your experiences.