Increased Athletic Performance: Does Foam Rolling Really Work?!

Foam rolling has been a suggested form of warm-up and recovery for athletes for decades, but does it actually improve your athletic performance?

The application of Foam Rolling aims to imitate the effects of manual massage therapy by alleviating tight muscles for improved recovery, but does Foam Rolling actually work? Keep reading to find out what modern day research has to say.

 *Note that effects of foam rolling may vary with each person.

Improved Flexibility

Foam Rolling may offer small short-term benefits in promoting flexibility without negatively affecting muscle performance.

Studies suggest that this increase in flexibility may be attributed to increased intramuscular temperature and blood flow due to the friction created by the foam roller and the mechanical breakdown of scar tissue.

This is an important finding to consider when putting together warm-up activities, since training and competition preparation should always aim to enhance athlete performance.

Improved Sprint Performance

Pre-rolling may have specific benefits in sprint performance. This is specifically essential to athletes such as sprinters, soccer players, rugby players and AFL players that engage in a lot of explosive and sprinting movements.

Pre-rolling may also be an effective strategy for short-term improvements in flexibility without decreasing muscle performance.

Increased Recovery Rate

Post-rolling may increase the recovery down-time you may have post speed and strength workouts.

This is again specifically essential to athletes such as sprinters, soccer players, rugby players and AFL players where the majority of their performance relies on explosive power and sprinting.

Decreased Muscle Pain

Foam Rolling can relieve muscle pain as it is a form of myofascial massage on sore muscles.

Foam Rolling may also reduce the muscle excitation required to complete a submaximal task, which can lead to reduced muscle fatigue.

Effective Foam Rolling is done by applying pressure to the sore muscles while rolling ‘back and forth’ for up to 1 minute. It is essential that proper care is to be taken when Foam Rolling the back and that the Foam Roller is in-line with your spine. Incorrect rolling on your back can result in severe strain and additional injuries.

Soft or Hard Foam Rollers?

Soft Foam Roller’s can be compared to a light massage whereas hard Foam Roller’s can be compared to a deep tissue massage. Some people prefer one to the other and that is up to the user’s discretion.

However, deep tissue massages are more effective in improving athlete performance due to increased muscle alleviation. Harder Foam Roller’s with expertly designed foam patterns can also have a similar effect on your muscles to that of a deep tissue massage as they work deeper into muscles and work out knots and tensions. Thereby reducing recovery down time and helping your body be fully prepared for it's next workout.

How to Foam Roll?

If you have never foam rolled before, you may want to learn a few basics to avoid injuries.

A few tips include:

  • Make sure you are comfortable with the pressure and build up as you get used to foam rolling.
  • Allowing your body to optimize it’s oxygen through slow and steady breathing.
  • Drinking water before, during and after Foam Rolling can also aid in improving your recovery.
  • You will sweat so having a towel handy will help. Your body is undergoing a form of physical massage and is in pain and this will make you perspire.

What foam roller you should choose

Are you Ready to take Foam Rolling seriously? You should definitely check out the Aquaflux Foam Roller that also doubles up as a water bottle.  

The Aquaflux Bottle is the ultimate recovery device that is easy to use on-the-go. It is the perfect size to carry around on a day-to-day basis and also holds up to 150kgs and 1.2 litres of fluid. It is also made out of recycled stainless steel and it’s foam pattern is expertly designed to relieve deep tissue knots.