Should I use a foam roller?

Foam rollers are a great tool to use at home. Maybe you have seen them in the gym and have wondered what they are good for. Here are my top 5 reasons for using them:

  1. You can increase flexibility. Foam rolling can increase your range of motion without the side effect of losing force production which can happen when stretching.
  2. You can increase performance. Foam rolling, when incorporated into you warm up, can have a positive effect on performance. This is especially true if you know you have trouble activating certain muscles. E.G. you could foam roll the glutes before squats if you have trouble firing them up properly.
  3. You can reduce your fatigue and reduce how much strength you lose. Foam rolling before and after your workout could mean you can tolerate more volume which means you can tolerate a bigger stimulus and make bigger improvements to your fitness/strength. Click here to get a better understanding of how to get the most out of exercise.
  4. You can reduce soreness in your muscles. Foam rolling after a workout (I sometimes add in more rolling if I am sore the next day) can reduce pain from delayed onset muscle soreness.
  5. You can increase your recovery. Foam rolling before or after a session can lead to greater performance during future training sessions. This can mean your body has a better chance of recovering, overcompensating and therefore can become harder, faster, stronger.

Below are two products I recommend, one is soft and the other is firmer. I use both at home, starting with the softer roller and progressing onto the firm one. If I had to pick one, I would go with the firm one. Hope you liked the blog if you want more information just let me know!

Geeky stuff.

Cheatham S. W., Kolber M. J., Cain M., Lee M. (2015). The effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic review. Int. J. Sports Phys. Ther. 10, 827–838.

Peacock C. A., Krein D. D., Silver T. A., Sanders G. J., von Carlowitz K. P. A. (2014). An acute bout of self-myofascial release in the form of foam rolling improves performance testing. Int. J. Exerc. Sci. 7, 202–211.

Pearcey G. E. P., Bradbury-Squires D. J., Kawamoto J.-E., Drinkwater E. J., Behm D. G., Button D. C. (2015). Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. J. Athl. Train. 50, 5–13. 10.4085/1062-6050-50.1.01

Rey E., Padrón-Cabo A., Costa P. B., Barcala-Furelos R. (2017). The effects of foam rolling as a recovery tool in professional soccer players. J. Strength Cond. Res. 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002277.

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