Research Review: Effects of foam rolling on subjective post workout muscle fatigue

By Stefanie DiCarrado DPT, PT, NASM CPT & CES

Edited by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Original Citation: Healey, K.C., Hatfield, D.L., Blanpied, P., Dorfman, L.R., and Riebe, D. (2014). The effects of myofascial release with foam rolling on performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 28(1). 61–68 - ABSTRACT

Gluteus Minimus Release - http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/online-courses/online-courses/server5800/b15e2/product_images/theme_images/shop_homepage_hailey_mobility.jpg?t=1433973297

Why is this relevant?: Foam rolling has gained popularity for both pre-activity preparation and rehabilitation. It has been compared to massage and static trigger point release, but the actual mechanism and affect foam rolling has on rehab and performance has not been well studied. Some have theorized that the effect foam rolling has on performance is actually due to the isometric muscle contractions required to hold various positions while foam rolling, and not the pressure exerted by the foam roll itself. This study compared isometric holds in the form of planks versus external pressure exerted by a foam roll on commonly targeted muscle groups, and noted the effects on fatigue and performance.

Study Summary

Study DesignRandomized Cross Over Design
Level of EvidenceIb: Evidence from at least one randomized controlled trial
Subject Demographics

  • Age: 21.56 + 2.04 years old
  • Gender: 13 males, 13 females
  • Characteristics: individuals participating in activity 3-4 x per week for previous 6 months

    • Height (cm)

      • females: 164.76 + 6.54; males 176.23 + 6.00
    • Weight (kg)

      • females: 65.32 + 13.23; males 74.1 + 9.51
  • Inclusion Criteria: N/A
  • Exclusion Criteria: history of bone,