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What do we know about Foam-Rolling ?⭕️
Let’s go over the science of Foam Rolling, since it has become a popular intervention in many sports, with its supposed goal of increasing exercise performance.
…But what does science say about it ?
In a very cool Meta Analysis, which included 21 peer-reviewed studies, the effects of foam rolling were analyzed Pre and Post workout (“Pre-Rolling” and “Post-Rolling”).
What are their effects on recovery ?
Rolling pre workout *can* be an effective strategy for *short-term* improvements in flexibility without decreasing performance.
Rolling post workout, on the other hand, *can* reduce muscle soreness and potentially improve people’s readiness to workout.
What about performance ?
Pre-rolling resulted in a very small improvement (+0.7%) in performance. It *could* potentially make a difference for top level athletes, but statistically not relevant for general pop.
A lot of can’s and could’s if you ask me.
Overall, foam rolling can have positive effects on short term flexibility probably by minimizing pain sensation and increasing stretching tolerance. It can also reduce muscle soreness sensation, which can improve the athlete’s readiness to participate in physical activity, but it doesn’t show any significant benefit in the long term.
What does this mean?
In case you have time and like using it, then sure you can go for it. Otherwise, warming up by simply performing the exercise you’re about to do, at a lower intensity will work great (if not better).
Wiewelhove, Thimo et al. “A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Foam Rolling on Performance and Recovery.” Frontiers in physiology vol. 10 376. 9 Apr. 2019, doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00376
Konrad, Andreas et al. “The Effects of Foam Rolling Training on Performance Parameters: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis including Controlled and Randomized Controlled Trials.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 19,18 11638. 15 Sep. 2022, doi:10.3390/ijerph191811638
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