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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Loughran

Rolling Towards Success: Unveiling the Power of Foam Rolling for Enhanced Recovery and Performance!

Updated: Apr 17

Foam rolling has gained significant popularity within personal training and sports performance programs as an effective and budget-friendly tool. While debates persist over the mechanisms behind its efficacy, many argue that its simplicity and affordability make it a valuable practice.

The term "self-myofascial release" has fueled discussions about whether foam rolling truly affects fascia, given the limited capability of a foam roller or PVC pipe to alter fascial structure. Some critics suggest renaming it "self-massage" to avoid misunderstandings.

Despite these debates, numerous individuals, including prominent strength coaches, emphasize that foam rolling undeniably works because it leaves people feeling better. While I agree with this sentiment, I believe it's essential to delve deeper than simply stating "it just works."


Foam Rolling for Recovery

While foam rolling is commonly used as a pre-training preparation, recent research published in the Journal of Athletic Training investigated its impact on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and performance post-training.

The study involved 8 collegiate men performing an exhaustive 10x10 squat protocol to induce DOMS. The experimental group incorporated foam rolling immediately after squatting, as well as 24- and 48-hours later, targeting the quads, adductors, hamstrings, IT band, and glutes for 45 seconds each.

Results revealed a significant reduction in DOMS when foam rolling was performed. Moreover, despite the negative impact of DOMS on 30-meter sprint time, broad-jump distance, and change-of-direction speed, these effects were mitigated when foam rolling was part of the recovery protocol.


Implications

While the article doesn't definitively explain "why" foam rolling works, it sheds light on "how" it works. Beyond being a pre-training tool, foam rolling proves to be a valuable asset for post-training recovery.

To optimize its benefits, incorporating foam rolling both before and after training, and even on off days, appears crucial. This approach minimizes post-session soreness, facilitating the ability to train hard and perform better in subsequent sessions. This applies to a wide range of individuals, from personal training clients to in-season athletes.


In summary, foam rolling emerges not only as a preparation strategy but also as a key component in enhancing recovery, enabling individuals to bounce back faster and perform at their best. Check out the basics of foam rolling below.




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