1. Breathe! First, remember to breathe. It is crucial you are breathing in and out when rolling as this is what will help your muscles relax and loosen up, accomplishing your goal.
Your first instinct will be to hold your breath, so you want to do everything you can to avoid doing that. When you hold your breath, you hold the tension in, primarily working directly against your goal.
2. Go Slow And Pause. Next, make sure you go slow and pause. When you hit a knot, you do not want to keep rolling over it. This is what many people do and is what leads to unnecessary pain.
You want to go slowly and pause when you hit a knot. Hold that position and then slowly begin rolling back and forth once again until you find your next knot. You should spend 10 to 15 seconds sitting on each knot until moving forward.
3. Know Joint Versus Muscle Pain. Finally, it is crucial you do understand the difference between joint pain and muscle pain. When you roll over a joint, you will likely feel pain: this is normal and is something you should not be scared of. But you do not want to continuously roll over the joint because that is not the purpose of foam rolling.
Muscle pain, on the other hand, is what you are targeting and will feel tight and sore. It will not have the dense pain you feel with joint pain. That is what you should aim for.