Effects of Foam Rolling on Range of Motion, Peak Torque, Muscle Activation, and the Hamstrings-to-Quadriceps Strength Ratios

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Abstract

Madoni, SN, Costa, PB, Coburn, JW, and Galpin, AJ. Effects of foam rolling on range of motion, peak torque, muscle activation, and the hamstrings-to-quadriceps strength ratios. J Strength Cond Res 32(7): 1821–1830, 2018—To examine the effects of foam rolling (FR) on range of motion (ROM), peak torque (PT), hamstrings-to-quadriceps (H:Q) ratios, and muscle activation. Twenty-two recreationally active women (mean age ± SD = 21.55 ± 1.82 years, 161.91 ± 6.58 cm, 61.47 ± 10.54 kg) volunteered for this study. Participants performed pre- and posttests analyzing PT and surface electromyography (EMG) of their dominant limb, completing maximal knee extension and flexion at 3 different velocities. Participants foam rolled the hamstrings muscles or sat for the control condition between the pre- and posttests. Hamstrings ROM increased in the FR condition from (mean ± SE) 123.23 ± 3.49 to 126.41 ± 3.62° (p < 0.001) and decreased in the control condition from 118.82 ± 4.25 to 117.95 ± 4.29° (p = 0.013). Concentric hamstrings PT and conventional H:Q ratios decreased after both conditions, with smaller decreases after FR (p ≤ 0.05). No significant changes were found for eccentric hamstrings PT, eccentric hamstrings EMG, or functional H:Q ratios (p > 0.05). Foam rolling resulted in greater changes in hamstrings ROM without creating a deficit in PT or muscle activation when compared with the control group. When compared with other methods of stretching, FR may be beneficial in increasing ROM without decreasing functional H:Q ratios.

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