The Effects of Foam Rolling on Vertical Jump and Flexibility in Division III Female Power Athletes

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Brian Rider

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Certain types of stretching have been shown to decrease muscular power in the lower extremities. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release that helps to stretch and evenly realign muscle fibers. Previous research has suggested that foam rolling not only increases flexibility and ROM but does so without the subsequent decrease in power output. In fact, recent research has shown that foam rolling may even improve muscular power output among certain athletes. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the effect of three different warm-up conditions on flexibility and vertical jump in a group of athletes whose sport involves explosive muscular power. Hope College female track athletes (sprinters and high jumpers), volleyball and basketball players were recruited for this study. Participants engaged in one familiarization session and three testing sessions: A) A stationary cycling warm up which consisted of four minutes of cycling at 50 rpm on a Monark Cycle Ergometer, B) A dynamic warm up which consisted of eight minutes of lower body dynamic stretches and C) The foam rolling condition which included two sets of 30 seconds of rolling on each leg addressing the gluteal, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calve muscles. Each session occurred 72 hours apart from one another. Participants were randomly assigned their testing condition order and served as their own control. Each condition session measured vertical jump height on a vertical jump mat, sit and reach flexibility, and knee and ankle range of motion. Significant results would allow foam rolling to be recommended as an effective mode for warm up immediately prior to events in which power output plays a vital role. This study is ongoing, and results will be available during the poster celebration.

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