Effects of Foam Rolling as a Recovery Tool in Professional Soccer Players

J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Aug;33(8):2194-2201. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002277.


Rey, E, Padrón-Cabo, A, Costa, PB, and Barcala-Furelos, R. Effects of foam rolling as a recovery tool in professional soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 33(8): 2194-2201, 2019-Foam rolling (FR) is a common strategy used after training and competition by players. However, no previous studies have assessed the effectiveness of FR as a recovery tool in sports populations. The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of FR (20 minutes of FR exercises on quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, gluteals, and gastrocnemius) and passive recovery (20 minutes sit on a bench) interventions performed immediately after a training session on Total Quality Recovery (TQR), perceived muscle soreness, jump performance, agility, sprint, and flexibility 24 hours after the training. During 2 experimental sessions, 18 professional soccer players (age 26.6 ± 3.3 years; height: 180.2 ± 4.5 cm; body mass: 75.8 ± 4.7 kg) participated in a randomized fully controlled trial design. The first session was designed to collect the pretest values of each variable. After baseline measurements, the players performed a standardized soccer training. At the end of training unit, all the players were randomly assigned to the FR recovery group and the passive recovery group. A second experimental session was conducted to obtain the posttest values. Results from the between-group analyses showed that FR had a large effect on the recovery in agility (effect sizes [ES] = 1.06), TQR (ES = 1.08), and perceived muscle soreness (ES = 1.02) in comparison with the passive recovery group at 24 hours after training. Thus, it is recommended that soccer coaches and physical trainers working with high-level players use a structured recovery session lasting from 15 to 20 minutes based on FR exercises that could be implemented at the end of a training session to enhance recovery between training loads.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Test
  • Hamstring Muscles / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myalgia / therapy
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiology
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Therapy, Soft Tissue / methods*