Another current trend that has received tons of attention is self-myofascial release, or referred to by most as foam rolling. From experience, many athletes have benefited from foam rolling in numerous ways, from increased mobility and flexibility to muscular development and strength. While the responsibility of all of these benefits cannot be pinned just on foam rolling, we do believe it is at the foundation of these improvements. Used in conjunction with static stretching, foam rolling will aid in ironing out muscle imbalances and improved movement quality. This oftentimes leads to increases in strength and power with many lifts; who would have thought improvements in strength and power could come from foam rolling?!
Self-myofascial release enhances flexibility training by focusing on neural and fascial systems in the body. Foam rolling directs the attention to trigger points and areas of high irritability within certain muscle groups. By using this technique it inhibits the overactive musculature though autogenic inhibition, which in turn improves the soft-tissue extensibility (Clark & Lucett, 2010). It is important to note that foam rolling alone is not the answer in and of itself. As part of an integrated training model is where participants will experience the most benefits of self-myofascial release.
Another important note is it takes a tremendous amount of coaching and education to an athlete in order to get them to “buy in” to a foam rolling program. Many times foam rolling can be an uncomfortable experience; however, it is fun to see how athletes progress from “ouch” to “Ooh, that feels nice!”
– Coach Street
Clark, M., & Lucett, S. (2010). NASM Essentials of Sports Peformance Training. Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.