Does Foam Rolling Work?

In a recent study* published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 26 (14 female, 12 male) healthy adults completed 3 sessions of foam rolling.

The participants rolled at a rate of 30 rolls a minute for 3 sets with 30s of rest between sets.
Results showed that the control group (who didn’t foam roll) had a decreased range of montion (ROM) by 2% and the two groups who foam rolled had an increased range of motion of up to 14%

So to help improve your range of motion after exercise, foam rolling works!

See my youtube vid on how to use a foam roller and get rolling!

The control session consisted of a 5 min warm up on a cycle ergonometer and immediately after this had their passive hip adduction range of motion (ROM) assessed bilaterally using the modified Ober’s test. They then sat on a chair for 3 min before being retested.
For the active (AFR) and passive (PFR) foam rolling sessions the procedure was the same with the exception of the participants foam rolling instead of resting.
PFR increased ROM by 11% and AFR by 14%.
The terminology used in this paper is a little unusual as the difference between what they describe as active and passive (AFR & PFR) is that one is rolling the glutes and the other is rolling the ITB. For me active foam rolling is changing the length of the muscle whilst rolling on it e.g. flexing/extending the knee whilst rolling the IT band which I demonstrate on my Youtube video.

*The effect of an acute bout of foam rolling on hip range of motion on different tissues. Hall M, Chadwick Smith J. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 2018:13 (4):652-650

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