Post Workout Recovery Tool

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Post Workout Recovery Tool

Article from January 31, 2014 by Andrew Foehrkolb

What do you do once you have completed your workout? Do you succumb to the swan song of the La-Z-Boy? Stop!… your foam roller is calling you. A recent study performed by the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johns, NL evaluated foam rolling (FR) as a tool to aid recovery following a workout intense enough to cause the muscle soreness we often feel the next day. Since we all have experienced exercise-induced muscle damage after an intense workout, will spending some quality time with the foam roller within 30 minutes after a hard workout help?

Twenty physically fit male subjects participated in the study. The participants were evaluated following a one repetition maximum free weight back squat protocol. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to a foam rolling group and the balance comprised the control group. The foam rolling subjects targeted five major muscle groups: anterior, lateral, posterior and medial aspect of the thigh and the gluteal muscles. The subjects performed self-myofascial release techniques on each of the five muscle groups using a 10cm PVC pipe covered in 1cm thick foam. Prior to performing the squats an extensive warm-up was performed. The squat sets consisted of 10 sets of 10 reps of back squats with 2 min of rest between each set.

Measured variables included muscle soreness as determined using a numerical rating system, range of motion measurements, evoked contractile properties were measured using electrodes attached to a stimulator, voluntary contractile properties were assessed via isometric knee extension and vertical jump testing followed the vertical jump protocol outlined in the Canadian Physical Activity, Fitness and Lifestyle Approach manual. The study group used a foam roller post squat exercises following a predetermined standardized rolling protocol. The control group did not perform the foam roller protocol.

The finding confirmed what I personally have experienced from my years of using a foam roll. The foam roller group found marked improvement in dynamic movement, percent of muscle activation, and both passive and dynamic range of motion when compared to the control group. Of significance, muscle soreness was reported substantially higher in the control group demonstrating the effectiveness of foam rolling in reducing muscle soreness. The foam rolling group displayed substantially less pain post workout when compared to the control group.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like a demonstration of effective rolling techniques and practices. The foam roll should be an integral part of your workout routine. Drew Foehrkolb MS, NASM CPT/CES

MacDonald, G., Button, D., Drinkwater, E., Behm, D., Foam Rolling as a Recovery Tool after an Intense Bout of Physical Activity, Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, June 2013, DOI:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a123db

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