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What Does Foam Rolling Actually Do?

Foam rolling is a bit like Marmite.  You either love it or hate it!  There is so much talk about the miracles of foam rolling especially in certain exercise circles but today we are going to give you the honest answer about what it actually does thanks to the rather splendid Roger Kerry an associate Professor in Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences at Nottingham University.

He is a fantastic writer and also well reasoned with all his arguments particularly on those surrounding evidence based practice in the Physiotherapy profession.

Foam rolling involves using a very hard cylindrical piece of foam with varying amounts of pressure, on different muscle groups of the body to gain a self regulated deep tissue massage.  Often used as part of a warm up or cool down routine,  many preach of the virtues of how foam rolling prevents injury,  increases blood flow and stretches fascia and muscles.

I confess that I do like a little bit of foam rolling in certain muscles groups now and then,  particularly on my chest and back of shoulders region however it is mostly used on the legs which does require lots of upper body strength to do.  For many of us the more awkward positions one must get in to foam roll our legs can be harder than indulging in a game of Twister with the tiny humans and requires the strength of lion!  The consequences of which are more detrimental than the benefits of the foam rolling!  Joking aside, what does the research say?  Read Roger’s article here: