The influence of foam rolling on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of foam rolling (FR) on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Thirty-seven males performed 40 x 15 m sprints, inducing muscle damage. Immediately following sprinting and in the four days following, perceived muscle soreness, hip abduction range of motion (ROM), hamstring muscle length, vertical jump, and agility measures were recorded. Eighteen subjects (mean ± sd; age 22.4 ± 2.0 yrs; BMI 26.9 ± 4.2 kg.m-2) foam rolled prior to testing each day (FR), while 19 (mean ± sd; age 23.2 ± 3.2 yrs; BMI 26.3 ± 4.0 kg.m-2) served as a non-foam rolling control (CON). Measurements recorded during the five days of recovery from the repeated sprint protocol were compared to week one baseline measurements. The area under the curve (AUC) was calculated by summing all five scores as they changed from baseline measurement, and these data were compared by condition using a two-tailed Mann-Whitney U test (alpha level = 0.05). Perceived soreness, hip abduction ROM, hamstring muscle length, and vertical jump were not significantly different between groups (p ≥ 0.25). Agility was less impaired in the FR condition (p = 0.0049) as AUC was higher in CON (2.88 s ± 2.45) than FR (0.33 s ± 2.16). Based upon these data, FR appears to expedite recovery of agility following EIMD instigated by a repeated sprint protocol. FR may be useful for athletes requiring adequate agility who need to recover quickly from demanding bouts of exercise.