Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: Foam Rolling for Swimmers


Contributed by Deniz Hekmati – Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Sport Scientist 

In my opinion, the foam roll may have been the 2010’s tool of the decade. So many people have used it, but so few know how to properly use it. Promise me that this decade, you’ll use the roller to move in to the discomfort and make it a habit.

Benefits of foam rolling for swimmers:

  1. Increases blood flow in our system – swimmers like increased blood flow
  2. Increases range of motion in our joints – I have found this especially effective to improve the breaststroke kick from the hips, and thoracic mobility for the streamline position
  3. Decrease recovery time after practices
  4. Desensitizes tender muscles and tissues to allow for more optimal movement flow
  5. An excellent time to be mindful in scanning the body

Three guidelines for how to use a foam roller:

  1. Slow down where it gets more tender – this area needs more love. And move around the area to truly scan in through. As the pain levels increase, stay mindful by focusing on deep inhales and exhales.
  2. Use the contract-relax method, to activate the targeted muscle and move the joint to your allowed end range and come back. You know you have a healthy area when you can roll around and moving the desired limbs in all sorts of direction, with ease. Again, breathe.
  3. Distinguish between a good pain and bad pain. Muscle soreness and tenderness is okay. No burning or shooting pain should be experienced – if so, immediately seek out additional professional help from your physical therapist or doctor.

Swimmers worst areas are the calves, quads, hip flexors, posterior shoulders, and pecs. Use the foam roll before a lift or a swim for 5 minutes to scan, loosen, and prepare the body for work. Also use it for cool-down. Significantly more time should be spent cooling down on this, than spending warming up.

And this is what I tell my swimmers: If you add 30 minutes of rolling at home each day, you are adding valuable practice hours to your training. You only have one body – so take care of it!

Watch video


If you want your own Swimmer Strength foam roll to support our cause, get yours today with a $10 discount code: SWIMWORLD10 – this roller is really sturdy and gets the job done for your trigger points.

We appreciate you – see you next week!

As a side note, I’m excited to share that Swimmer Strength and I have been nominated to the “Top 100 Healthcare Leadership Award” by the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare. Thank you to Swimming World Magazine, and all who are learning and applying all this material!

See more videos from Swimmer Strength Coach Deniz Hekmati:

Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: Age to Start Dryland Training or Strength Training

Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: When to Add Weight to Strength Training

Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: McGill 3 Core Exercises

Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: Shoulder Pain

Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: Yoga and Swimming

About Coach Deniz Hekmati, MS, CSCS

Deniz Hekmati is a strength & conditioning specialist and sport scientist. A Sweden-native, he was a breaststroker at Arizona State University and a silver medalist at the Swedish National Championships. In his coaching career, he has worked with age-groupers, high schoolers, collegiate teams, and elite level post graduate athletes. Deniz’s philosophy is to learn each athlete’s individual stage of physical and mental readiness, and then design the most appropriate training protocol in a way that resonates with the individual and team.  He offers in-person or online training.  Try his 10-day free online training.

Note: All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.


  1. Leandre Turner

    Katherine don’t forget to pack your roller in prep for that 100Fly ?

  2. Megan Darlene

    Tanya Reed- Price I told ya I’m not crazy. The stream line feels so good on the roller and on the bands

  3. Dawn Oates

    Brandy Orsborne Fyffe- Sound familiar? ?

  4. Jan Cheah

    Evan Chew !!!!!

  5. Paula Manns

    Devin Kellett Kenyon Kellett