The Acute Effects of Foam-Rolling and Dynamic Stretching on Flexibility

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Dr. Kevin Cole

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Myofascial release, via the foam rolling method, has commonly been used as a post exercise recovery technique. This study tested the effectiveness of foam rolling on flexibility prior to exercise. Foam rolling effects were compared to the effects of dynamic stretching in a sample of 20 Hope College students. The participants were tested 3 times over the course of 2 weeks by foam rolling and dynamic stretching for 10 minutes each. On the first testing day, baseline flexibility measurements were taken without prior warm-up. Participants were then randomly assigned into two groups that met for two additional days of testing separated by at least 48 hours. Each group either engaged in foam rolling or stretching on the first day; they switched on the second day. Flexibility measurements were taken after both days through hip and knee ROM goniometer assessments and sit-and-reach testing. It was hypothesized that foam rolling would result in greater flexibility when compared to dynamic stretching. Improvements were seen between the pretest and foam rolling for sit-and-reach (pre: 35±8 cm, post: 38±7 cm, p=0.004), dynamic stretching (pre: 35±8 cm, post: 36±6 cm) and foam-rolling (p=0.005), Hip ROM pretest and dynamic stretching (pre: 74±13 degrees, post: 81±11 degrees, p=0.002), right hip ROM pretest and foam rolling (pre: 74±13 degrees, post: 83±11 degrees, p=0.000), left hip ROM pretest and dynamic stretching (pre: 73±12 degrees, post: 81±15 degrees, p=0.002), and left hip ROM pretest and foam rolling (pre: 73±12 degrees, post: 82±13 degrees, p=0.001). Foam rolling was found significantly more effective in increasing flexibility on the sit-and-reach test as compared to dynamic stretching. There is a need for more studies on the effects of foam-rolling prior to exercise.

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