Foam rolling is a helpful way to improve range of motion, flexibility, and functional mobility. Foam rollers are widely accessible in therapy gym, fitness centers, and for personal use. Using a foam roller has many benefits to help individuals’ reach their own respective person goals. However, what does the evidence say about foam rolling?
Studies have demonstrated using a foam roller for self-myofascial release can be beneficial in the short-term.1 Foam rolling can improve joint range of motion without decreasing muscle performance.
Foam rolling can be used at virtually at any time during the workout session. It is typically performed either as a warm-up or for recovery. Literature has supported the notion that foam rolling before activity may be an effective strategy for short-term improvements in flexibility without compromising muscle performance.3 Foam rolling implemented at the end of a workout can result in decreased pain, thus the individual will more likely participate in this specific intervention.3
What else can foam rollers do for me?
Foam rollers can also help with minimizing delayed onset muscle soreness, stimulate the central nervous system, tissue hydration, and improve circulation.2 Literature supports that the use of foam improved communication between the muscular and nervous systems to optimize neuromuscular function.2
But Is foam rolling for everyone?
No. But there certainly are some good benefits to using them. Truthfully, healthcare is individualized and requires a specific plan of care. Also, there is no specific consensus on the best self-myofascial release program.1 Therefore, its important to do your own research and find out what would be the best intervention for you.
When choosing what intervention to us, make sure to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to help guide your self-management program.
Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT
Cheatham SW, Kolber MJ, Cain M, and Lee M. The effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic review. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 2015. 10(6): 827-838.
Cole G. The evidence behind foam rolling: a review. Sport and Olympic-Paralympic Studies Journal (SOPSJ), 2018: 194-206.
Wiewelhove T, Doweling A, Schneider C, Hottenrott L, Meyer T, Kellmann M, Pfeiffer M, and Ferrauti A. A meta-analysis of the effects of foam rolling on performance and recovery. Frontiers in Physiology, 2019.