Foam rolling as a recovery tool following an intense bout of physical activity

MacDonald, Graham Zeno (2013) Foam rolling as a recovery tool following an intense bout of physical activity. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Purpose: Understand the effectiveness of foam rolling as a recovery tool following exercise induced muscle damage (EIMD), analyzing: muscle soreness, dynamic and passive range of motion (ROM), along with evoked and voluntary neuromuscular properties. -- Methods: 20 male subjects with 3+ years of strength training experience were randomly divided into either the control (CON) (n=10) or foam rolling (FR) (n=10) group. All subjects followed the same testing protocol. The only between group difference was that the FR group performed a 20-minute foam rolling exercise protocol at the end of the testing session at post-test 0, 24, and 48 hours (POST-0, POST-24, POST-48). Subjects participated in 5 testing sessions: [1] orientation and 1 repetition maximum (1 RM) back squat, [2] pre-test measurements (PRE), 10 x 10 squat protocol (weight: 60% 1 RM, tempo: 4,1,1,1) with 2 minutes rest between sets, and post-test measurements (POST-0), along with measurements at: [3] POST-24, [4] POST-48, and [5] POST-72. Test measurements included: thigh girth, muscle soreness, range of motion (ROM), evoked and voluntary contractile properties, vertical jump, along with perceived pain (FR-pain) and reaction forces (FR-force) while foam rolling. -- Results: Thigh girth showed no substantial between group differences at all time points. FR substantially reduced muscle soreness at all time points while substantially improving ROM. FR negatively affected evoked contractile properties (twitch force, rate of force development, and potentiated twitch force) with the exception of half-relaxation time (½RT) and electromechanical delay (EMD). ½RT showed no substantial between group differences at all time points, while FR substantially improved EMD. Voluntary contractile properties showed no substantial between group differences for all measurements besides voluntary muscle activation, with FR substantially improving muscle activation at all time points. FR improved functional movement, with substantial between group differences in vertical jump height. When performing the five FR exercises at the three time points (POST-0, POST-24, POST-48), subjects FR-force ranged between 26-46kg (32-55% of subjects' body weight) with FR-pain measurements (based on NRS) ranging between 2.5-7.5 pts. -- Conclusion: The most important findings of the present study were that FR was beneficial in attenuating muscle soreness while improving vertical jump height, muscle activation, and passive and dynamic ROM in comparison to CON. FR negatively impacted a number of evoked contractile properties of the muscle, except for ½RT and EMD, indicating that FR benefits are primarily accrued through neural responses and connective tissue.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10942
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Department(s): Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of
Date: 2013
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Foam rollers (Exercise equipment); Myalgia--Exercise therapy; Muscle contraction.

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