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Pilates Foam Roller Exercises

at home mat props 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.


  • FR across mat, feet on foam roller: Bridging
  • Lying lengthwise on the roller, feet on the floor or on two yoga blocks: 
    • 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
  • FR across the mat (90 degrees to the mat) under sacrum:
    • Leg Series:
      • Frogs
      • Lower + Lift
      • Circles
      • Scissors
      • Bicycle
      • Helicopter
      • Hip flexor stretch 
  • FR across the mat by your feet, rest your ankles on the roller:
    • One Leg Circles
    • The Roll-Up
    • Incline (float hips off the mat) > lift one leg


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


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


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

Quadruped + Kneeling

  • FR perpendicular to the mat, hands on FR
    • Plank
    • Push-Ups
    • Puppy stretch (sit on your heels)
  • FR perpendicular to the mat, shins 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
    • Extend front knee for a kneeling hamstring stretch w/ back knee on FR
  • FR perpendicular to the mat, thighs on FR, supported on elbows
    • Thigh massage
  • Kneeling, holding FR in your hands
    • The Z Thigh Stretch (> lift roller high)


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



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