It seems like every gym & athlete owns a foam roller…. Even the target dollar section sells foam rollers! But what does foam rolling really do and will it really improve your flexibility and decrease soreness after a workout?
Recent research has shown that foam rolling can be helpful in multiple ways if performed appropriately.
- Reduced pain associated with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- Acutely increases range of motion when performed for a longer duration of time (30-60 seconds)
- Reduces muscle tender spots
- Improves neuromuscular efficiency after foam rolling which can improve athletic performance
- Foam rolling after static stretching seems to improve flexibility to a greater degree than stretching alone
To summarize, recent evidence seems to point to the idea that longer durations of foam rolling (30-60 seconds, 2-3x per muscle group) performed after static stretching (2 sets of 30 seconds per day per muscle group) performed 5-6 days a week may be the best way to improve flexibility.2 Let us know if you try this out!
- Behm, D. ECSS 2017
- Thomas et al 2018