Foam Rolling

What is it?

Foam rolling is a form of ‘self myofascial release’ or self massage.

What does it do?

Research has shown that foam rollers can do four things:

  1. Decrease post exercise soreness up to 3 days after an exercise bout
  2. Decrease tenderness to touch (mechanical sensitivity)
  3. Improve range of motion at the joint in the short term 
  4. Small changes in vertical leap post foam rolling

What doesn’t it do?

Foam rolling does not change muscle or fascia length or destroy ‘trigger points’- the change in range of motion seen after foam rolling is due to increased tolerance to stretch due to nervous system desensitisation rather than a change in structure.

How do I use it?

The foam roller can be used on a wide range of muscles, simply by rolling back and forth over the length of the muscle itself. 

It is often uncomfortable, especially over a particularly tight area however it is best to not push in to too much pain as this could be counterproductive. 

The good news is, research has shown no difference in 30 seconds of foam rolling versus 5 minutes so don’t spend all day on it!

What do we recommend?

Foam rolling can be applied before a workout, in conjunction with a dynamic warm up to take advantage of the short term changes in joint range of motion and performance. 

Foam rolling can also be used as needed after a workout, particularly if experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness. Test/retest yourself and see the changes yourself, for example try rolling your legs before a leg workout and see how it affects your mobility and performance.