Foam rolling is a method practiced by athletes to improve mobility, recovery and muscle soreness. This form of self-massage makes use of a hard foam that is molded to resemble a tube. Foam rollers are utilized by rolling different parts of the body over it before and after a workout.
Claims of this method’s effectiveness in alleviating delayed onset muscle soreness and improving performance can be found all over the internet.
The online hype along with positive testimonies of people who’ve tried it turned the foam roller from an intimidating physical therapy tool into one of the most popular self-therapy tools available in the market today. This method’s fame has grown vastly to the point that classes dedicated to teaching people how to properly use a foam roller are available.
Extensive exercise can produce post-workout soreness. Anyone who goes to the gym has a firsthand experience with this. People continuously search for effective ways to ease the muscle ache and one of the most popular options available today is foam rolling. We all know popularity is not necessarily warranted, and it should not stop us from asking one of the most important questions: does it really work?
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release which is designed to release tension from your connective tissues. This is quite like a massage except physical therapists aren’t in the picture. Studies have confirmed this method’s effectiveness, and here are some of the facts.
Foam Rolling Reduces Muscle Soreness
People who conduct foam rolling exercises right after a workout experience reduced delayed onset muscle soreness compared to those who do not practice it (1,4). This results in less tension, more comfortable movement and an improved recovery rate.
It Enhances Range of Motion
Post-workout muscle soreness can result in a limited range of motion. The reduced delayed onset muscle soreness as an effect of foam rolling helps improve hip extension angle and may increase one’s range of motion without the risk of injury (1,2,3).
Foam Rolling Improves Performance
Studies reveal better performance results in agility, muscular strength and speed after executing a self-myofascial release warm-up (6). It has also been noted that the reduced fatigue allows people to extend workout time (5).
There are still a lot of things to learn about this self-massage technique; but thus far, research shows foam rolling is not just a trend but an efficient way to develop your performance and range of motion and alleviate muscle soreness. Grab your foam roller the next time you go to the gym and enjoy the benefits!
- “Foam Rolling as a Recovery Tool After an Intense Bout of Physical Activity”, Macdonald, G. Z., et. al., 2014.
- “Clinical Relevance of Foam Rolling on Hip Extension Angle in a Functional Lunge Position”, Bushell, J. E., et. al., 2015.
- “Effect of Foam Rolling and Static Stretching on Passive Hip-Flexion Range of Motion”, Mohr, A. R., et. al., 2014.
- “Foam Rolling for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Recovery of Dynamic Performance Measures”, Pearcey, G., et. al., 2015.
- “The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam Rolling on Performance”, Healey, K. et. al., 2014.
- “An Acute Bout of Self-Myofascial Release in the Form of Foam Rolling Improves Performance Testing”, Peacock, C., et. al., 2014.