Is Self Myofascial Release an Effective Preexercise and Recovery Strategy? A Literature Review

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Abstract

The use of self myofascial release (SMR) via a foam roller or roller massager is becoming increasingly popular both to aid recovery from exercise and prevent injury. Our objective was to review the literature on SMR and its use for preexercise, recovery, or maintenance. PUBMED, EBSCO (MEDLINE), EMBASE, and CINAHL were searched for variations and synonyms of “self myofascial release” and “foam rolling.” Data from nine studies were examined, and overall quality varied based on study protocol, muscle group targeted, and outcomes measured. Despite the heterogeneity of these studies, SMR appears to have a positive effect on range of motion and soreness/fatigue following exercise, but further study is needed to define optimal parameters (timing and duration of use) to aid performance and recovery.

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