Foam Rolling is not just for the serious athletes. Researchers have discovered benefits of foam rolling that everyone should be able to enjoy!
Everyone who’s ever tried foam rolling knows that it makes you feel good. The feeling of your sore muscles being soothed and massaged by your foam roller makes us want to go back to it again and again. Using a foam roller has been purported to provide the following benefits:
- Remove pain due to irregular myofascial tension in our bodies
- Improved sleep
- Increase Blood Flow and circulation
- Alleviate DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Increase ROM (Range of Motion) and Flexibility
- Decrease recovery time between our workouts
- Prevent muscle cramps
- Reducing Cellulite appearance on your skin(No proof yet! :D)
1. Increased Range of Motion and Flexibility
A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research also found that using a foam roller can help us to increase our range of motion without affecting strength. Many studies have proven that static stretching before exercise tends to decrease strength and athletic performance. For an in-depth explanation to this phenomenon, do look at our other post over here: Effects of Static Stretching
However, this study found that foam rolling increases ROM without a decrease in strength. This study tested 11 active men. Each man was tested for strength on leg-extension machine. Afterwards, the participant would foam roll his quadriceps. The strength of the participant would then be tested after foam rolling. Researchers found that the foam rolling helped to increase ROM without decreasing strength in any way. The average was 7-10 degrees of improved knee flexion, but some participants improved by up to 20 degrees. Another study here and a scientific literature review here also found that using a foam roller to warm up your muscles helped to increase ROM. Some of you might be thinking that this isn’t that big a deal, but this can lead to huge increases in athletic performance and workout effectiveness.
One group of people that I can think of off the bat that will benefit greatly from using foam rollers is sprinters. Sprinters need to maximize the ROM when they sprint down the track, and because traditional stretching decreases your force output, it might not be wise to do static stretches before a race. However, if you use a foam roller, your ROM will increase. This means that every stride that you take will be bigger, while producing more force. This might possibly help you to run faster. How cool is that?
In other words, INCREASED ROM MEANS INCREASED ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE! You don’t want to miss out on these benefits!
2. Foam Rolling increases your workout efficiency, and this applies to even exercises like jogging
For those of you who lift weights, using a foam roller prior to your workout means that the range of motion of your weight lifted will increase. A simple example would be the squat. For many people, performing a full squat is rather difficult due to parts of your leg being inflexible. However, foam rolling will help you to increase your ROM when you squat, and therefore increase your workout effectiveness.
Less intensive exercises like jogging can also benefit from foam rolling. Having flexible muscles increases overall muscle activation. For example, if your calves are tight, you will be using more of your quads and hamstrings when you run, and your calves remain unactivated. After you loosen up your calves by foam rolling, your calves will be more activated when you run, and this will allow you to achieve a more holistic exercise result.
3. Relieve Muscle Soreness After Workouts
Look at this amazing study.
The most important findings of the present study were that FR was beneficial in attenuating muscle soreness while improving vertical jump height, muscle activation, and passive and dynamic ROM in comparison with control.
MMMMMMMM!!!! In the study, 20 male participants did a workout of ten sets of 10 squats, with each squat at 60% of their one-rep max. Afterward, half of them did 20 minutes of foam rolling on their legs, and the other half followed their usual post-workout routine.
What does this mean? You can workout even harder, and longer than others who don’t foam roll. This translates to faster gains and efficiency when you workout.
4. Improved daily health and preventing coronary diseases
Using Foam Rollers regularly can help you improve the quality of your sleep and concentration!
Healthy arteries are able to dilate and contract, regulating the blood flow to our body tissues and muscles. As we grow older, however, these arteries might start to become stiffen up – becoming less able to control their shape. When this happens, blood pressure might increase. Arterial stiffness is an inevitable fact of life, and we cannot prevent it ultimately. However, we can slow down the decay of our arteries. It has been found that yoga and other stretching exercises are able to reduce arterial stiffness.
It has only been recently that scientists are discovering the effects of using foam rollers on arterial health. One particular study is over here: Acute effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roller on arterial function.
Using a foam roller helps to release tension in our tight muscles and fascia. At the same time, rolling over our arteries and capillaries increase blood circulation to our soft tissue, which helps to increase flexibility and ROM. Because of all this, arterial stiffness is reduced and vascular function is improved.
5. Increased Sleep Quality and Concentration Levels in the day
Foam rolling right before you sleep can help to improve your sleep quality. Research has shown that massaging our muscles before we sleep will drastically improve our sleep quality.
Foam rolling early in the morning will also help kickstart your blood circulation and keep your limber and vibrant throughout the day. In addition, your brain also benefits from this. As your blood circulation improves, your brain receives more oxygen and you are able to concentrate during the day. This is similar to the benefits that morning joggers receive!
Foam Rolling – Sorting out the Myths from the Facts
While it is sometimes hard to sort out the myths from the facts in terms of foam rolling, it’s important to use proper science to determine the truth. For example, the claim that foam rollers can help to decrease cellulite appearance has never been proven. It’s also important to listen to your body as every body is different, and while foam rolling might work for others, it might not work for you. If you feel any unusual pain or discomfort, we advise you to seek a medical professional before continuing foam rolling.
If you want to find out more about how foam rolling can help you, do refer to our articles below: