Roll Your Way to Improved Performance and Post-Exercise Recovery

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • Foam rollers can be a valuable piece of equipment in an exercise program. Rollers can be used on many different parts of the body and can have positive effects not only on different injuries but some believe they can also improve sports performance. Foam rollers are used to mimic a soft tissue massage when they are used on the different parts of the body.   


    Elite and amateur athletes usually use foam rollers for either exercise warm up or post exercise soft tissue therapy. During the warm up period, the main goal is to loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow. Rolling the major muscle groups with the foam roller can help muscles to loosen up and sometimes lengthen out. For example, research has shown that foam rolling the quadriceps can enhance the knee joints’ range of motion.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    The foam roller can also be used after exercise for a self-massage. Rolling can allow you to pay attention to areas that are tender and sore. Post-exercise, you can use the foam roller to go to these areas and put pressure on them with the roller for 10 – 60 seconds to help relieve the pain.


    Research to date on the effectiveness of foam rolling is mixed. One of the latest studies by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (2011) showed that while rolling before exercise did not enhance performance, rolling after exercise improved fatigue, soreness and exertion.


    Foam rollers can be found in most commercial gyms. However, you want to purchase your own roller, they can be found online and in some of the larger department stores. They come in various lengths and diameters. Choosing the right one for you will depend on which exercises you wish to do and how often you intend to use it. The more dense the foam roller is, the harder it will be but also it is likely to last longer as well.


Published On: October 23, 2014