Does Foam Rolling Work?

SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE (SMR) is the self administered massage that is benefit for reducing muscle tension, soreness and pain.  Foam rolling is the commonly used technique to release tight muscle, tendon and ligament tightness.   If performed correctly it can aid in muscular performance, recovery and better quality of life.  Below are a list of benefits you might receive with regular use.

Does foam rolling work?

✅ decrease muscular tension/DOMS
✅ decrease effects of trigger points
✅ increase joint range of motion
✅ potentially improve athletic performance

How to achieve results
  1. Choose your weapon – foam roller, handheld massage roller, massage ball, tennis ball, hand held trigger point massager etc
  2. Roll over muscle group until a tender spot is found – likely a trigger point
  3. Sustain pressure over this point until pain and tenderness reduces by approx 75%, usually 30-90sec.
  4. Consciously relax and keep breathing (this is the tough part!)
  5. Combine with static stretching for best ROM results.
  6. 3-5 sets (10-20mins) 3 day post high intensity workout works well.
  7. Perform during warm up, between sets, after training sessions or on recovery days (Yoshimura et al., 2019).

❌ not advised to perform SMR on varicose veins or skin lesions/lacerations, eczema, contagious skin conditions, or sunburns. Individuals with chronic conditions such as advanced diabetes, osteoporosis, or undergoing chemotherapy should consult their doctor before trying SMR (Yoshimura et al., 2019).

Reference source:

Systematic review – Yoshimura, A., Inami, T., Schleip, R., Mineta, S., Shudo, K. and Hirose, N., 2019. Effects of Self-myofascial Release Using a Foam Roller on Range of Motion and Morphological Changes in Muscle. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Written by Personal Trainer – Luke Daley