Start by lying face toward the floor with the roller under your thighs. Your feet might not touch the floor so support yourself on your elbows or hands. Use your arms to push yourself forward and back over the roller from the bottom of the thigh to the top of the pelvis. Do not roll over the knee, and you probably won’t find it comfortable to roll over the abdomen. Rolling in the meaty quad region and up over the hip flexors will kneed out places that are sore from sitting all day and from walking or climbing stairs.
Next flip to one side so you’re rolling along the side-seam of your pants from the top of the hip to the bottom of the thigh. This is the IT region, an area that is excruciatingly tight for a lot of people who walk, run, bike, etc intensely. Keeping this IT band loose can also help ease knee pain; strength and length inequalities between muscles that connect to the knee region can cause the joint to pull out of alignment, causing pain and instability. Once you’ve done one side, flip to the other.
Finish this routine facing upwards. You can place the roller under your bum and roll over any place as far down as the heel. Rolling the back of the thigh massages the hamstrings, a place many people experience limited flexibility. Rolling the lower leg alleviates calf tension like you might experience if you tend to wear high heels. If you find a place that seems particularly in need of the massage, use short rolls to deeply work just that area. Longer rolls may be relaxing and rhythmic like rocking in a chair.
Rolling over the regions of your legs can be a very intense experience, especially if you’re prone to tight legs. But over time and with a consistent routine, you’ll notice the sensations become much more pleasant and the muscles more supple against the roller. It may actually beat keeping spa staff on payroll!