Foam rolling is a popular form of self-myofascial release (SMR), a type of therapy that prevents injury and stiffness by concentrating on the connective tissue surrounding muscle ((Development and Application of a Newly Designed Massage Instrument for Deep Cross-Friction Massage in Chronic Non-Specific Low Back Pain. Yong-Soon, Y., Ki-Pi, Y., Jae Lee, K, et al. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Jesus Hospital, Jeonju 560-750, Korea. Korean Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine. Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2012 Feburary; 36(1): 55-65.)).
Muscle fibers become knotted with this tissue during exercise, which restricts their movement. Foam rolling and other SMR techniques use pressure to help release these knots and encourage better muscle function ((An Acute Bout of Self Myofascial Release Increases Range of Motion Without a Subsequent Decrease in Muscle Activation or Force. Macdonald, G., Penney, M., Mullaley, M., et al. School of human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012 May 10.)). Foam rolling and other SMR methods are relatively simple ways to promote recovery and safe exercise, and they can easily be incorporated into most exercise warm-up routines.