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Do Foam Rollers Work? Find out Here | Foam Roller Information

A common question that people have is, “Do foam roller work?” Foam rolling is very trendy these days and many people are talking about it. If you go to any gym, you’re sure to see a bunch of foam rollers in the corner and a few people using them, grimacing in pain! The people that use them, love them and swear by them.

But, how effective are foam rollers? More than a fad? Something that actually helps sore muscles and body pain? Will foam rollers aid your athletic performance? We’ve compiled the best information from around the Internet and will give you a quick summary of that here.

Keep reading for all the details about whether foam rolling works!

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The Theory Behind Foam Rolling/ How do Foam Rollers Work

According to Doug Kelsey’s website, here is the theory behind how foam rolling works:

  1. Muscles are surrounded by a soft tissue called fascia.
  2. Injuries cause scarring of the muscles or fascia.
  3. The scarring results in areas where the fascia adheres to itself or muscle.
  4. The “sticking” keeps the muscle and soft tissue from moving properly and creates pain.
  5. Foam rolling these points (trigger points) releases these spots.
  6. You no longer hurt!

Basically, if you’re ever wanted to know what foam rollers do, they release the sticky points on your fascia. It’s otherwise known Myofascial release.

For more detailed information about the theory behind how foam rolling works, you’ll need to check out this detailed article from Better Movement. It’s really, really detailed and will answer all your geeky questions about foam rollers!

Does Foam Rolling Work? 

Find out all the details you need to know about do foam rollers work:

Why Does Foam Rolling Hurt?

If you’ve recently started foam rolling, you may find that it’s quite painful to do. Everyone goes through this. Part of the reason you may find muscle rolling painful is that your body isn’t used to this type of pressure. It does get better with time and most people are able to do it relatively easily after a couple weeks of consistent use.

Secondly, you’re hitting trigger points, that is where your fascia is stuck to itself or your muscles. This causes pain and lack of mobility if left untreated. But, when you hit those spots with foam rolling, your body will be a little bit angry with you. You are irritating an already tender spot.

But, in most cases, we recommend pushing through the pain so that you can see some serious results. Of course, it should be of the “hurt so good” variety of pain, and not the causing injury or damage to your body type.

How Much Pain Should I Feel During a Rolling Session?

No pain, no gain? This has been the motto of trainers and foam rollers for years when it comes to this. The good news is that you can get similar results across different pain thresholds. 50,70, or 90% of someone’s maximum pain tolerance resulted in basically the same results.

Do Foam Rollers Work? A Recent Study about Foam Rolling

This study found on Medscape suggests that foam rolling may not improve athletic performance. However, there are benefits of foam rolling including injury prevention, improved range of motion, increased blood flow, and improved mood. While foam rollers may not help you shave time off of, or add weight to your personal best, they do seem to help prevent injury and keep you limber.

Another Study by a Professor of Exercise Science

This study was done by a professor of exercise science in Canada. He found that people who used foam rollers after an intense workout felt less pain 72 hours after that workout. They were also able to perform further exercise at that same time more effectively. Do foam rollers work? According to this study, most certainly.

There are lots of other similar studies that show that foam rolling really does work if your goal is to increase soreness after a workout.

The ones that didn’t show the same results? The participants often rolled a particular spot for 30 seconds, or even less. The studies that showed positive results had participants roll for 90 seconds or more.

Journal of Sports Rehabilitation Study

Another study in this journal found that foam rolling, combined with static stretching was more effective at improving the hip’s range of motion than stretching alone. The author of the study theorizes that a foam roller may decrease a muscles’ viscosity, which would make it less resistant to motion and hence more flexible.

According to this article, muscle rollers, combined with stretching does produce some good results.

A Summary of Do Foam Rollers Work?

Do foam roller work? We most certainly think they do. The studies have shown that using them after an intense workout can reduce soreness and reduce recovery time. This will allow you to work out harder and sooner than not foam rolling.

The science is on our side too! Of course, it depends on each individual. A foam roller may be effective for one person, but not another.

Another benefit of foam rolling is injury prevention. Foam rollers will help keep you limber as well as give you an increased range of motion. By not being so stiff, your body will be able to adapt to the stress that it’s under without getting hurt.

Do foam rollers work? Yes! Want to check out one of top choices here at My Foam Rollers? Find out more here:

321 Strong Foam Roller Review

How Does Foam Rolling Work to Reduce Muscle Soreness?

Compared to even just a few years ago, there is much better information out there about what exactly foam rolling does to decrease soreness.

Unlike previous thinking, foam rolling may not have a direct effect on the fascia. This is because it’d typically require more force than a person could exert on themselves.

However, it’s thought to activate the central nervous system which registers and reacts to pain. This can result in less pain after doing this.

Another thought is that rolling stimulates pressure sensors on your skin, which increase vagal activity in the brain which in turn increase relaxation. This helps to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and improve pain tolerance. People who’ve been foam rolling have been touting the relaxation benefits for years—now we finally understand the science behind it!

Basically, foam rolling may not actually be loosening up your tight muscles. However, it may be knocking out the pain sensors in your body and lowering stress hormones in your brain.

How to Release Tight Muscles (from the Mayo Clinic)

Looking to Buy a Foam Roller? 

If you’re looking to buy your first foam roller, then you’ll need to check out this article: Best Foam Rollers.  Reviews, recommendations and only unbiased advice.

You could also check out: Types of Foam Roller-Finding One that Will Work for You  to understand the differences between foam rollers. Sizes, densities, texture, etc. There are a myriad of choices and we’re here to help you make the best choice.

Compare Foam Rollers

Do you want to know what our recommendation is for the top foam roller? Check out some of our choices in this handy comparison chart below:

Have your Say about Whether or Not Foam Rollers Work

What are your thoughts about foam rolling? Do foam rollers work, or are they just a gimmick? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Or, share your personal experience with us. We’d love to hear from you.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. it’ll help other fitness buffs, like yourself find this useful resource.

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Do Foam Rollers Really Work?

 

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John James

I am a certified Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, and personal trainer. I incorporate foam rolling into all my workouts, and those with clients. I started My Foam Rollers with the aim to educate the fitness community and share knowledge on foam rollers to help people make a difference in their lives.
John James
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Last update on 2019-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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