Foam Rolling – When Should I Use It?

As trends in exercise have changed, so too have routines that we find ourselves completing. Todays topic…Foam Rolling.

Foam rolling, although not a new concept, is one that we are increasingly learning more about in the scientific community, whether its benefiting functional performance, flexibility, or just generally feeling good. What was once thought of as a fad is here to stay. But what does it do? And how can it assist your workout?

Lets break this down into what effect foam rolling has on pre exercise, and what is does post exercise.

Pre exercise (before exercise)

A recent study (Su et al., 2017) compared the acute effects of static stretching, dynamic stretching and foam rolling used as part of a warm up on flexibility and muscle strength of knee flexion and extension. The results showed greater improvements in flexibility after foam rolling compared to static stretching and dynamic stretching. In regard to strength, knee extension improved after both dynamic stretching and foam rolling, but not after static stretching. From this we can see that foam rolling, as part of a warm up, can help improve flexibility without having a negative impact on strength.

Post exercise (after exercise)

Another study (Pearcey et al., 2015) compared the effect of foam rolling on quadricep delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Participants performed 10 reps x 10 sets of weighted back squat at 60% of their 1-repetition max followed by either no foam rolling or 20 minutes of foam rolling immediately, 24 hours and 48 hours post exercise. The results showed a significant reduction in quadriceps tenderness in the days after fatigue in the foam rolling group compared to no foam rolling.

Below are a few helpful videos of how to foam roll your ITB, Quads and Calves!

If you’re still not convinced that foam rolling is a helpful tool here are some extra foam roller exercises to help with your posture.




Su, H., Chang, N., Wu, W., Guo, L. and Chu, I. (2017). Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-ups on Muscular Flexibility and Strength in Young Adults. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 26(6), pp.469-477.

Pearcey, G., Bradbury-Squires, D., Kawamoto, J., Drinkwater, E., Behm, D. and Button, D. (2015). Foam Rolling for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Recovery of Dynamic Performance Measures. Journal of Athletic Training, 50(1), pp.5-13.

Nicole Parker

About Nicole Parker

Nicole completed her Bachelor of Physiotherapy from ACU and has worked exclusively in a Private Practice setting since graduating. Nicole has been involved as a Physiotherapist with various netball teams and has enjoyed the challenge of working with a wide range of patients both on and off the courts. As well as her love of sport, Nicole has a special interest in hr treatment of neck pain and headaches. She has also completed further training in Pilates Matwork from the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute, and plans to continue to expand her Pilates skill set. Nicole loves maintaining an active lifestyle and is a keen traveller.

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