Should you be foam rolling? T

here is research to back up the foam rolling hype. Foam rolling, coupled with old-school static stretching, could

increase the range of motion in the hip more than stretching alone. Central Michigan University associate professor Blaine Long, says foam rolling may decrease a muscle’s “viscosity,” which would make the muscle less resistant to motion and therefore more flexible. Other studies have linked foam rolling to

less muscle soreness, better vertical leap and greater flexibility. Research shows that if you foam roll for 90 seconds or more it increased the positive results.

FACTS ON SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE Foam rolling is often described as a form of “self-myofascial release” (SMR). “Fascia” refers to connective tissue that binds and stabilises the muscles. By massaging it you not only improve your muscles’ range of motion, but you also boost blood circula- tion, break down tightness or trigger points

EDDIE JACKMAN Acupuncture & Physical Therapy

Bsc Hons Sports Therapy, LIC.TCM, ACMO, DIP Physical Therapy, DIP Sports Massage, FA DIP Sports Injuries, PF S&C Coach

Treatments available for: Hip impingement Musculoskeletal Injuries Myofascial release and trigger point therapy Low back pain Neck and upper back disfunction, Mobilisation and manipulation of joints Sport injury and non sport injury management, diagnosis and rehabilitation


Fitness: Strength and condioning training Fitness training for teams and groups


THERAPY Massage and sports massage

Temple Lodge, Ballygunnertemple, Dunmore Road, Waterford.

Tel: 051 878673 087 6701166 28 WATERFORD

in your muscles and bolster muscle tissue integrity and energy. Here’s the rub: researchers who have

found foam rolling to be effective, don’t believe it has much to do with SMR, at least not when it comes to reducing pain and soreness. David Behm, a professor of

human kinetics at the Univer- sity of Newfoundland, says that “to have any effect on fascia, you would need much higher forces than a human would typically be able to exert on them- selves.” Behm co-authored the Ca-

Foam rolling stimulates pressure

receptors beneath your skin a bit like a massage

and has been shown to ease pain-detection centres,

especially useful for lower back pain.

nadian study linking foam rolling to less soreness and better perfor- mance. He says that, in two of his experi- ments, people who foam rolled one leg also, surprisingly, knocked out muscle pain in the other. “We didn’t even have to touch the painful muscle [with the roller],” he says.

ROLL OUT STRESS AND PAIN Foam rolling may also fire up your central nervous system, which registers and reacts to pain. Your nervous system also regulates many of your body’s unconscious functions like heart rate and blood flow. Research from Japan has backed up this idea by linking foam rolling, independent of exercise to improved arterial flexibility and vascular function. Foam rolling stimulates pressure recep-

tors beneath your skin a bit like a massage and has been shown to ease pain-detection centres, especially useful for lower back pain. “There is still a lot of information about foam rolling the literature might not be

telling us,” says Disa Hatfield, interim chair of kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island. She suggests foam rolling may be similar to other types of dynamic stretching or light jogging, which also improve range- of-motion and performance. Her own research compared foam rolling to planking before a work- out. The foam roller group “perceived” their workouts to be easier. But that perception didn’t translate to performance gains, she says. To sum all this up, foam rolling deserves its good reputation—though maybe not for the reasons many fans, coaches, and trainers assume.

Two to three sets of foam rolling lasting

between around 60 seconds per muscle, seems to be effective at reducing pain and improving flexibility. Roll before exercise if you want to boost range of motion or performance. A post-workout roll is good for preventing soreness. Roll before exercise if you want to

boost range of motion or performance. A post-workout roll is good for preventing soreness and reducing DOM’s. Rolling at 50%, 70%, and 90% of a per-

son’s pain threshold all resulted in similar benefits, so the famous saying ‘no pain no gain’ is not entirely true when it comes to foam rolling.

By: Eddie Jackman

Acupuncture & Physical Therapy Clinic, Temple Lodge, Ballygunnertemple, Dunmore Road. Waterford. Tel: 051-878673/087-6701166 Email :

We’ve all seen the recent influx of foam rollers in gyms around the world. After spending decades on the fitness fringes, foam rolling has now truly come into its own. It’s thought to improve athletic performance and flexibility, slash recovery time, reduce muscle pain and delayed onset muscle soreness. We ask Eddie Jackman - can this be true?

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