Get Rid of Cellulite with Foam Rolling

By now you probably know the benefits of foam rolling for workout recovery.  But did you know that using a foam roller can also help to get rid of cellulite?  This concept comes as a revolution to many, and if you’re one of the millions of people who have cellulite, simply using a foam roller can drastically change your life.

This post was last updated on 5/30/2019.

Table of Contents

What is cellulite?

The term cellulite was first used in the early 1920s and didn’t come into popular usage in the US until the ’60s. cellulite formation and how to get rid of cellulite with foam rolling
According to an article
in the Journal of the European Academy of
Dermatology and Venereology
, cellulite (or Gynoid lipodystrophy) is skin dimpling and nodularity in the pelvic regions – specifically the butt, lower legs, and abdomen.  It is common in 80-90% of adult women around the world.  Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of cellulite, doctors say that they include changes in metabolism, physiology, diet and exercise habits, hormonal factors, genetic factors, and other causes.

Does foam rolling reduce cellulite?

Yes!!  Foam rolling, a form of self-myofascial release, is a type of self deep-tissue massage.  It can help work out “knotted” muscles, and increase blood and oxygen flow throughout the body.  The same reasons that foam rolling helps after a strenuous workout also makes it great for eliminating cellulite. By foam rolling areas with cellulite, you’re massaging the fatty deposits underneath the surface of the skin, which helps to break up the interwoven fat fibers.  As a result, the connective tissue and fat fibers go back to normal, and the hypodermis reduces in size.  This means smoother, more youthful skin.

In fact, using a foam roller for cellulite actually has scientific backing.  A recent article published in May 2019 by Cogent Medicine magazine, showed that women who used a myofasical release tool 5 days a week for 12 weeks showed a marked reduction in cellulite.

twenty pounds younger reduce cellulite with foam roller

Foam rolling cellulite has been proved to be an effective treatment for women of all ages.  It is so effective, in fact, that Michele Promaulayko, the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health, featured the technique in her book “20 Pounds Younger: The Life-Transforming Plan for a Fitter, Sexier You!“.

How to use a foam roller for cellulite

Back of Thigh Roll

The first exercise we’ll do to blast away the cellulite is foam roll the back of the thighs.  Place your foam roller on the ground, and sit atop it, resting the foam roller just above the back of your knees.  Place your hands behind you for support, then slowly put weight onto your hands in order to lift your butt into the air.  You should now be sort of sitting on top of the foam roller, with your hands taking part of your weight.  Now, slowly roll forwards, so that the foam roller moves towards your torso, rolling up the back of your thighs.  Once you reach the end of your thigh, roll back the other direction.  This should be a very slow action, taking roughly 10 seconds to move up each leg.  Repeat this for about a minute or two.

The video below, presented by Howcast, explains how to foam roll the hamstrings.  This is very similar to the technique used to roll the back of the thighs, so take a look real quick to see this exercise in action.

Front of Thigh Roll

Now that we’ve hit the back of the thighs, let’s foam roll the cellulite on the front of the thighs.  Things are pretty much just the opposite of before.  Start with the roller on the ground, and this time lay on top of it, face down.  The roller should be above your knees, at the bottom of your thighs.  With your hands out in front of you, to balance and take some of the weight, roll forward on the roller, moving it up your thighs.  If this exercise is new to you and you find it a little difficult, you can use your tip-toes to push yourself back and forth.  Once you’ve had some practice though, it’s best not to use the toes (the more weight on the roller, the better).

Here’s an excellent video showing the proper technique for foam rolling the cellulite in the front of your thighs:

The Glute Roll

We frequently recommend that athletes foam roll both the gluteus maximus as well as the gluteus medius.  The good news is, these same rolls will help reduce cellulite in the butt area!  To foam roll the cellulite in your butt, first place the roller on the ground, then sit with your butt directly on top of it. Your feet should be on the ground, with your legs bent at 90 degrees.  Your hands should be placed behind you, supporting some of your weight.  Lean slightly to one side, then slowly roll back and forth.  Repeat for about a minute, then switch sides.  If you work out some kinks while you’re eliminating that cellulite, then it’s a win-win!  Below is a video describing the exercise.


T Bart Jameson, Ashley D. Black, Matthew H. Sharp, Jacob M. Wilson, Matthew W. Stefan & Swetanshu Chaudhari | Udo Schumacher (Reviewing editor) (2019) The effects of fascia manipulation with fascia devices on myofascial tissue, subcutaneous fat and cellulite in adult women, Cogent Medicine, 6:1, DOI: 10.1080/2331205X.2019.1606146

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