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Pilates Foam Roller Exercises

Pilates Foam Roller Exercises

class planning Apr 10, 2020

You’ll need a 36-inch long foam roller. It can be firm or soft - depending on your comfort. I particularly like using a half roller (same length but one surface is flat and the other round). 

You'll find mostly strength and mobility exercises in this post. If you're looking for self-massage or myofascial release exercises, check out this post.

You'll find videos and detailed descriptions of each of these exercises inside the Pilates Encyclopedia membership!


  • Bridging: FR across mat, feet on foam roller
  • Mini Bridging
  • Toe Taps
  • Snow Angels
  • Leg Raises
  • Supine Scapular Series (arm vertical with light hand weights)
  • Arm circles (with or without hand weights)
  • Overhead with hand weights
  • Single Leg Stretch, legs only, palms on the floor
  • Double Leg Stretch, legs only, palms on the floor: Lying lengthwise on the roller, feet on the floor or on two yoga blocks
  • Frogs: FR across the mat (90 degrees to the mat) under the sacrum
  • Lower + Lift
  • Circles
  • Scissors
  • Bicycle
  • Helicopter
  • Hip flexor stretch
  • Leg Series
  • One Leg Circles: FR across the mat by your feet, rest your ankles on the roller
  • The Roll-Up
  • Incline (float hips off the mat) > lift one leg


  • Calf massage: cross one leg over the other
  • Back Control + Leg Pull: FR across the mat by your feet, rest your ankles on the roller
  • Spine Twist
  • Spine Stretch
  • Roll Down: like on Reformer, push roller with tailbone
  • Figure 4 glute massage: Sitting on FR
  • Spine Twist
  • Spine Stretch
  • Half Roll Back
  • Oblique Half Roll BackSitting on the floor holding FR with your hands
  • Back Control
  • Leg Pull
  • Upward Facing Table: modified Back Control
  • Back massage: FR across the mat behind your back, hands on the roller
  • Hip Twist
  • Frogs: like Footwork on the Reformer, FR across the mat behind your back, elbows on the roller


  • Mermaid: FR next to you
  • Outer hip massage (glute medius and minimus, TFL): FR perpendicular to the mat, outside of your leg on FR, supported on one elbow
  • IT band massage
  • Outer calf massage
  • Side plank


  • Swimming (legs only)
  • Baby Swan: FR perpendicular to the mat, forearms on FR

Quadruped + Kneeling

  • Plank
  • Push-Ups
  • Puppy stretch (sit on your heels): FR perpendicular to the mat, hands on FR
  • Plank
  • Push-Ups
  • Opposite arm and leg balance
  • Kneeling abdominals: like on the Reformer
  • Step one foot forward into lunge, back knee on FR
  • Kneeling hamstring stretch: FR perpendicular to the mat, back shin on FR 
  • Thigh massageFR perpendicular to the mat, thighs on FR, supported on elbows
  • The Z Thigh Stretch: Kneeling, holding FR in your hands


  • Standing Balance on the foam roller: FR 90 degrees to wall, with hands at wall at first) 
  • Squats and/or wide squats (plies in a ballet second position): Stand with your back to the wall, squeeze roller between the wall and your back


Do you have any other favorites I didn't mention here? Let me know in the comments!  

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