Foam rolling is a widely covered and talked about topic. We ourselves have a number of blogs in which we discuss the pros and cons. View 4 blogs containing “Foam Rolling”. As research continues and we learn more about the subject it is important we keep up to date. In the following article I will cover a some of the latest  findings.


The Basic Benefits

As mentioned, we have talked about the pros and cons of foam rolling before. However, if you are new to the subject I thought it might be worth going over.

  • Reduced feeling of muscle soreness and DOMS
  • Reduced myofascial pain in the target muscle and contralateral limb
  • Slightly increased range of motion
  • Possible improvements in performance due to increased neuromuscular efficiency (when compared to static stretching

So foam rolling is a good thing to do. However, past that small nugget of information we haven’t really discussed the how, when and how much.


Foam Rolling Protocols

Rather than charging head first into an hour long rolling session. Pay attention to the following protocols to get the most out of it!

  • Durations of 10-20 seconds are seen to slights increase ROM
  • Longer periods of 30-60 seconds see a much greater improvement
  • The amount applied pressure does not seem to change ROM improvement.
  • Foam rolling post static stretching provides the greatest ability to maintain the increased ROM

If you are stuck for time and need to quickly mobilise and loosen up your joints, then stick to a quick 10-20seconds. When looking to improve your mobility in the long run, implement rolling as a structured routine. Combined with static stretching, foam rolling can provide and sustain greater ranges of movement.


Why Does it Work?

Well… It’s quite difficult to say exactly why. However, there are a few theories. One being the idea that muscle will change viscosity. Thixotropy is a time-dependent shear thinning property. Certain gels or fluids that are thick, or viscous, under static conditions will flow (become thin, less viscous) over time when shaken, agitated, sheared or otherwise stressed (time dependent viscosity). Yes, I googled thixotropy after reading it in the article…

Other theories look at the reflex of neural inhibition and an increased stretch tolerance.


So I Should Roll

Essentially, yes. But as ever, listen to your body. Pay attention to what works for YOU. The next time you have finished a session of Personal Training in Radnor Park, Twickenham, jump on your roller and come back a supple leopard!