Research Review: Foam Rolling

Image Credit- By Marco Verch CC BY 2.0.

Image Credit- By Marco Verch CC BY 2.0.

Research Review: Foam Rolling

The goal of performance support is ensuring that athletes possess the health, physical and mental capacities necessary to compete at the top level. Which can be a challenge, due to the number of variables can effect athletic performance (eg. fatigue, recovery, training status, health and well-being).

Increasingly athletes have taken soft tissue work in to their own hands, using foam rollers to ease the pain of overexertion and support athletic performance.

Can Foam Rolling Ease The Pain of Overexertion?

One recent randomized controlled trial demonstrated that foam rolling was effective in reducing pain perception after delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) (Romero-Moraleda et al. 2017). 

Other studies have demonstrated that the addition of self-massage significantly improved stretch tolerance and flexibility compared with isolated static stretching (Capobianco et al. 2018). As well decrease muscle excitability through central mechanisms, which may account for the post-treatment increase in range of motion and pain pressure threshold (Young et al. 2018). 

More to Explore

Beardsley, C., & Škarabot, J. (2015). Effects of self-myofascial release: A systematic review. J Bodyw Mov Ther.

Capobianco et al. (2018). Manipulation of sensory input can improve stretching outcomes. Eur J Sport Sci.

Cheatham et al. (2017). Comparison of video-guided, live instructed, and self-guided foam roll interventions on knee joint range of motion and pressure pain threshold: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Phys Ther.

Cheatham et al. (2015). The effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massage on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic review. Int J Sports Phys Ther.

de Souza et al. (2017). Acute Effect of Two Self-Myofascial Release Protocols on Hip and Ankle Range of Motion. J Sport Rehabil.

Fleckenstein et al. (2017). Preventive and Regenerative Foam Rolling are Equally Effective in Reducing Fatigue-Related Impairments of Muscle Function following Exercise. J Sports Sci Med.

Monteiro et al. (2018). Acute effects of different anterior thigh self-massage on hip range-of-motion in trained men. Int J Sports Phys Ther.

Romero-Moraleda et al. (2017). Neurodynamic mobilization and foam rolling improved delayed-onset muscle soreness in a healthy adult population: a randomized controlled clinical trial. PeerJ.

Schroeder, A.N., & Best, T.M. (2015). Is self myofascial release an effective preexercise and recovery strategy? A literature review. Curr Sports Med Rep. 

Wiewelhove et al. (2019). A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Foam Rolling on Performance and Recovery. Front Physiol.

Wilke et al. (2018). Influence of Foam Rolling Velocity on Knee Range of Motion and Tissue Stiffness: A Randomized, Controlled Crossover Trial. J Sport Rehabil.

Young et al. (2018). Roller massage decreases spinal excitability to the soleus. J Appl Physiol (1985).