The effects of myofascial release with foam rolling on performance

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jan;28(1):61-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182956569.


In the last decade, self-myofascial release has become an increasingly common modality to supplement traditional methods of massage, so a masseuse is not necessary. However, there are limited clinical data demonstrating the efficacy or mechanism of this treatment on athletic performance. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the use of myofascial rollers before athletic tests can enhance performance. Twenty-six (13 men and 13 women) healthy college-aged individuals (21.56 ± 2.04 years, 23.97 ± 3.98 body mass index, 20.57 ± 12.21 percent body fat) were recruited. The study design was a randomized crossover design in which subject performed a series of planking exercises or foam rolling exercises and then performed a series of athletic performance tests (vertical jump height and power, isometric force, and agility). Fatigue, soreness, and exertion were also measured. A 2 × 2 (trial × gender) analysis of variance with repeated measures and appropriate post hoc was used to analyze the data. There were no significant differences between foam rolling and planking for all 4 of the athletic tests. However, there was a significant difference between genders on all the athletic tests (p ≤ 0.001). As expected, there were significant increases from pre to post exercise during both trials for fatigue, soreness, and exertion (p ≤ 0.01). Postexercise fatigue after foam rolling was significantly less than after the subjects performed planking (p ≤ 0.05). The reduced feeling of fatigue may allow participants to extend acute workout time and volume, which can lead to chronic performance enhancements. However, foam rolling had no effect on performance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise Test
  • Fascia*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / instrumentation
  • Massage / methods*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal*
  • Myalgia / etiology
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Young Adult