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Foam Rolling vs. Stretching

Myofascial release has commonly been considering a therapeutic post-exercise recovery tool. More recently it has been used as a warm up tool in the sports and fitness world. Ideally a warm up will increase blood flow to your tissue without effecting your strength, hence putting your body in the optimal position for human performance. New research has shown that myo-fascial release with a foam roller can improve range of motion without having a negative effect on strength. As a warm up tool, the foam roller can cause a vasodilation response in your arterial system. This response will cause an increase in blood flow in the area warming up the muscle.

Stretching can have an opposite effect on the muscle and strength prior to activity. Research shows that prolonged static stretching pre-workout (warm-up) can have a negative effect on your strength, ultimately decreasing human performance.

Ideally your warm up should include foam rolling and a dynamic movement warm up in order to get your body functionally ready for your performance. If your body is mobile via the roller and you have warmed up with dynamic movement, your performance should be optimal. A recent study in the International Journal of Exercise Science looked into whether the inclusion of foam rolling with a dynamic warm up can improve human performance. This study concluded that the inclusion of foam rolling combined with a dynamic warm up can improve human performance testing (power, agility, strength, and speed).

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