CAN FOAM ROLLING IMPROVE MY RECOVERY?
Recovery is a crucial part of the sport and fitness world and if recovery is not at an adequate level, performance and adaptive responses such as muscle growth can be negatively affected. Therefore, can a myofascial release (relieving tension within connective tissues such as muscles or fascia) in the form of foam rolling help improve that process?
Roam Rolling Impact On Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness or DOMS is thought to be mainly caused by muscle damage as a result of a new stimulus, overload, unfamiliar exercises or lactic acid build up (1,2). Foam rolling has shown to have a positive effect on reducing muscle soreness and potential fatigue within a muscle (3,4,5). Thus, the recovery process can potentially be accelerated in preparation for the next training session.
Increased Blood Flow
The use of foam rolling increases blood flow to the area that's being worked (6) and nutrient flow through the process of blood flow is important. Muscle performance and post-exercise recovery is impacted by nutrient flow, thus, increased blood flow through foam rolling could have a positive effect in recovery (7).
Using foam rolling as an extra recovery method may provide added benefits any trainee would gladly take, however, maximising bigger influential factors in recovery such as sleep and nutrition should take priority.
The use of a foam roller is not compulsory, but adding one to your arsenal to benefit recovery could be a good choice. A common suggestion of 20-30 second repetitions performed on a tender spot or until the tender spot has eased off and performing 3-5 times per week to maintain the benefits of myofascial release is a recommended time/frequency.