Recovery with Foam Rolling Your TFL

Recovery with Foam Rolling:
TFL Foam Roll Exercises

Tensor fasciae latae or “TFL” (Front/outer hip)

Start a new workout routine and deal with painful knots and tight spots in your hip area?

Suffering from knee pain, tight quads, or maybe even tight hip flexors?

Well, take a few breaths and worry no more, my friend!

You’re in a great place to learn how to care for those sore muscles in your upper leg and hip area.

Since 2010 I’ve been working as a personal trainer for athletes of all ages.

In 2016 I opened my own gym called Bent On Better,

where we have helped hundreds of busy adults who may want to see weight loss but who also want to get in shape, look great, feel great, and have more energy

(and yes, help them relieve tight muscles with foam rolling and even some foam roller stretches).

In this post, you will learn,

the reasons to consider foam rolling (AKA a self-myofascial release technique), your TFL (a muscle right by the hip joint),

how to use a foam roller to promote better blood flow (especially after a tough workout),

and the benefits of foam rolling your hip mobility muscles.




At Bent On Better (my hybrid coaching fitness facility), we work with and have worked with hundreds of busy adults who suffer from a list of pains and issues that hinder their weight loss goals, healthy weight management aspirations, and other related fitness goals.

And since 2016, we’ve worked with many adults who have used HIIT workouts, high-impact workout bootcamps, and running as a way to see weight loss in the past.

But now, many of them suffer from issues like runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) and pain on the outside of the knee. Or from hip extension challenges (think tightness when moving your leg behind you when standing) and hip flexion challenges (think tightness when lifting your knee in front and up when standing), to list a few.

Many of the same clients with those issues work in a sedentary setting or have a sedentary everyday life, with poor posture, causing problems in muscle groups like the gluteus medius & gluteus maximus (your main butt muscles), upper back muscles, and hip flexor area…usually the TFL. 

The best way to start to make changes to those muscles is to begin a foam rolling routine that leads into your strength training program with some stretching and flexibility work (and today, we’ll cover using a foam roller to relieve tightness of the TFL)


Brief BASIC Anatomy Lesson:

The tensor fascia latae muscle, or “TFL” muscle, is located at the lateral hip and thigh that helps control hip flexion and hip abduction. 

>>> In BASIC Matt terms, it’s the meaty small muscle on the outer front of your hip (closer to the top leg part of the thigh bone) that allows you to move your leg in a step-up motion and to move your straight leg outward (think right leg can lift outward to the right).


Reasons to consider foam roller mobilization:

  • Muscle soreness in the front of the hip from a recent workout
  • Stiffness feeling in the hip bone area
  • Tight TFL area
  • Tight IT band (Iliotibial band syndrome / IT band syndrome)
  • This may present as lateral knee or lateral thigh pain during squats, running, or other knee movements
  • Limited motion or feeling of a “block” during far-end-range hip movements (e.g., lunge, stride)


Benefits of foam rolling the TFL muscles:

  • Increased flexibility: foam rolling the TFL muscle and the connective tissue may help improve flexibility for your entire lower body.
  • Reduced muscle soreness: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (D.O.M.S.) affects a lot of people and can be a big mental challenge (especially for newbies who think they may have hurt themselves after a challenging workout or strength training session). Foam roller exercises for your TFL may even help reduce the needed recovery time for sore hip flexors.
  • Improved athletic performance: foam rolling your TFL is an effective way to help other muscle groups in your lower body to operate efficiently and reduce the risk of injury, as well!
  • Pain relief: applying as much pressure as you can manage to tight spots can help reduce pain and relieve some muscle tightness (but friends who are new to foam rolling, be weary! Whether you are foam rolling on a rest day or before activity, this may be pretty painful at the start. But as you continue to move and promote healthier blood flow to that painful area, the feeling over time will subside [somewhat, at least]).
  • Increased blood flow: better blood flow means better movement and even better healing!


How to foam roll the tensor fasciae latae (“TFL” ):

All you need is a foam roller and your body weight.

Let’s say you want to foam roll the RIGHT TFL. 

First, you will want to locate it, so you know what/where you will roll!

  • Find the pointy bone in the front of your hip using your RIGHT hand, then put your thumb over it.
  • Close your fist, bringing it close to your thumb. Your fist now represents the approximate location of the TFL.

Starting Position:

  • Place the foam roller on the ground and lay on top of it over the region where you located your TFL. This can be accomplished by first laying on the foam roller at the top of your thigh with your belly facing the ground, then using your forearms, hands, and other leg to further adjust yourself.
    • Adjust the foam roller slowly, and only a few tiny bits in any direction—the area you are rolling is fairly small and does not require you to roll back and forth!
    • You will know you found the TFL when you feel a deep, achy sensation resonating in the hip muscle area. 
    • Now hold that spot for about 15 seconds!
  • To take this to the next level, stay on that spot with the roller, bend your knee and hip toward your chest, straighten it back out, and repeat it 2-3 times.



Additional Mobilization Tools:

  • Foam roller
  • Lacrosse ball
  • Tennis ball
  • Massage Ball
  • Trigger point cane
  • …and more



  • In general, mobilizing tissue using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, or other instruments will cause some discomfort; after all, the goal is to mobilize (move or “free up”) the tissue from any restrictions that might be limiting your body’s movement or range of motion. However, you should stop if you experience too much discomfort or pain.
  • In general, you should refrain from attempting to mobilize (foam roll, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, etc.) a recent injury within the past 48 hours.
  • This info is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare professional regarding your own condition.


Getting started at Bent On Better is simple and easy!

Just click on the blue button below and complete the form. We’ll contact you within 24 hours!




    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
    Scroll to Top