The Durational Effect of Self-Myofascial Release Using a Foam Roller on Range of Motion and Flexibility

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Brian Rider

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Research has demonstrated that foam rolling is effective at improving lower extremity flexibility and range of motion in the short term. However, there is limited research on the use of foam rolling and the lasting effects on the upper body. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the durational effect of foam rolling compared to two different acute warm-up conditions on upper body flexibility and range of motion. Approximately 30 insufficiently active college students, (18 to 22 years), were recruited for this study. Participants were randomly assigned their testing condition order and served as their own control. Participants underwent a familiarization session prior to beginning the study. All sessions were separated by one week. The warm-up conditions included static stretching, foam rolling, and arm cycling. Each condition lasted 2.5 minutes. Following the condition, the participants’ flexibility and range of motion was assessed via sit-and-reach, latissimus dorsi flexion, and shoulder extension tests. These tests were administered at various time points (10, 20, 30 minutes) following the warm-up. During the 10-minute time periods in between tests, the participants remained inactive and were seated at a computer. They were also asked to report their level of physical relaxation on a visual analogue scale. Significant improvements in flexibility and range of motion over time would suggest that foam rolling could be a more viable option to increase flexibility, range of motion, and overall comfort among sedentary individuals. These findings could provide a novel method of improving quality of life among individuals who spend many hours at a computer. This study is ongoing, and results will be available during the poster celebration.

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