Ah, foam rolling. After a difficult strength-training routine or long-distance run, nothing hurts so good like massaging your sore muscle tissues with a agency foam cylinder. “Foam rolling is usually a nice stress reliever and post-workout cooldown, and it’s means cheaper than paying for a therapeutic massage,” says Christel Oerum, a licensed private coach and diabetes coach. Even higher, the advantages of froth rolling span far past its feel-good issue: Utilizing a foam curler might help enhance your flexibility and joint vary of movement, loosen up your muscle tissues, ease soreness and ache, and even increase restoration, per the Nationwide Academy of Sports activities Drugs (NASM).
“Nevertheless, the consensus on the advantages of froth rolling isn’t completely clear, which most certainly comes right down to the underlying physiological mechanisms not having been completely researched,” says Oerum. Past this, researchers have additionally simply begun exploring how the timing of froth rolling (earlier than, throughout or after your exercise) may (or won’t) result in completely different results. One key query: May pre-exercise foam rolling — a apply some private trainers seek advice from as “neuropriming” — assist increase your efficiency instantly afterward?
Right here’s what we all know thus far, and tips about whether or not or not you must add a fast foam roll to your warmup routine, in accordance with train science specialists:
THE THEORY BEHIND PRE-WORKOUT FOAM ROLLING
As you roll your muscle tissues, gravity permits you to give your self a deep therapeutic massage in your muscle tissues and the powerful tissue surrounding them known as the fascia. “This might help launch very tight and sometimes tender or painful areas, inflicting a ‘launch’ within the bound-up fascia,” says Michele Olson, PhD, a senior scientific professor at Huntingdon School in Montgomery, Alabama. Olson provides that because of this foam rolling is also called myofascial launch. “The speculation is that foam rolling will increase the blood provide to your muscle tissues and will lengthen the fascia so it’s much less constricting round your muscle tissues, permitting for larger muscle elasticity.” Which means you’re extra snug and your freedom of motion is elevated earlier than you begin understanding.
Ideally, this elevated vary of movement permits you to kickstart high-agility workouts, like operating or dancing, as a result of your muscle tissues are ready to completely stretch and recoil as you pace up, cease, flip, leap and explode ahead, says Olson. On this sense, warming up with foam rolling may additionally assist stop muscle accidents like strains and sprains.
Lastly, there’s the mind-muscle connection: “Rising blood circulate and stimulating the muscle tissues and fascia invokes a larger electrical connection between the mind, muscle neurons and muscle tissue,” says Olson. Foam rolling might “prime” your physique bodily and neurologically to get shifting with clean and exact muscle management.
SHOULD YOU FOAM ROLL BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT?
Whereas the complicated mechanisms behind myofascial launch are nonetheless considerably theoretical, researchers have begun to look into the affect of pre-workout foam rolling. One 2019 meta-analysis in Frontiers in Physiology reviewed 14 research for the impact foam rolling had on muscle flexibility in addition to efficiency in assessments of sprinting, leaping and power. The unhealthy information? “Whereas the research present a small enchancment in flexibility and sprinting, it most likely gained’t be important sufficient to make a distinction for leisure athletes,” says Oerum. “Nevertheless, for those who’re trying to shave just a few milliseconds off your dash PR, foam rolling previous to your exercise may provide you with that additional edge.” By way of leaping and power, the results appear to be negligible, in accordance with research up to now.
So, is a foam rolling warmup really price your time? “At this level, it’s private choice,” says Olson. “There’s not an enormous benefit to foam rolling earlier than your exercise, and you continue to should do a daily warmup.” If you wish to foam roll earlier than train to ease any lingering aches and pains, go for it. Simply be sure to comply with your foam roll with a correct dynamic warmup, she advises.