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Influence of Foam Rolling on Recovery From Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage

D'Amico, Anthony P; Gillis, Jason

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 9 - p 2443–2452
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002240
Original Research
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D'Amico, AP and Gillis, J. Influence of foam rolling on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage. J Strength Cond Res 33(9): 2443–2452, 2019—The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of foam rolling (FR) on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Thirty-seven male individuals performed 40 × 15-m sprints, inducing muscle damage. Immediately after sprinting and in the 4 days following, perceived muscle soreness, hip abduction range of motion (ROM), hamstring muscle length, vertical jump (VJ), and agility measures were recorded. Eighteen subjects (mean ± SD; age 22.4 ± 2.0 years; BMI [body mass index] 26.9 ± 4.2 kg·m−2) foam rolled before testing each day, whereas 19 (mean ± SD; age 23.2 ± 3.2 years; BMI 26.3 ± 4.0 kg·m−2) served as a non-FR control (CON). Measurements recorded during the 5 days of recovery from the repeated sprint protocol were compared with week 1 baseline measurements. The area under the curve (AUC) was calculated by summing all 5 scores as they changed from baseline measurement, and these data were compared by condition using a 2-tailed Mann-Whitney U-test (alpha level = 0.05). Perceived soreness, hip abduction ROM, hamstring muscle length, and VJ were not significantly different between groups (p ≥ 0.25). Agility was less impaired in the FR condition (p = 0.0049) as AUC was higher in CON (2.88 ± 2.45 seconds) than in FR (0.33 ± 2.16 seconds). Based on these data, FR appears to expedite recovery of agility after EIMD instigated by a repeated sprint protocol. Foam rolling may be useful for athletes requiring adequate agility who need to recover quickly from demanding bouts of exercise.

Human Performance Laboratory, Sport and Movement Science Department, Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts

Address correspondence to Dr. Anthony P. D'Amico, adamico@salemstate.edu.

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.