Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times' Well Blog tackled this question last week: "Do foam rollers offer benefits?"
"At the gym, instead of traditional “stretching” I see tons of people rolling around on foam rollers. The foam rollers are in high demand and constantly in use. I now have one at home that I roll around on too. What does the research say about the benefits of foam rolling?"
We here at Body-Solid are obviously huge proponents of them and their many benefits. We introduced a line of foam rollers and they've remained one of our more popular items and a favorite of our staff at the company gym.
Here's what Gretchen had to say, using some research performed by Duane C. Button, assistant professor of exercise science at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada:
“Foam rolling is great, although it can hurt like heck." -Duane C. Button
- In experiments that he oversaw with his colleague David Behm, volunteers who rolled back and forth with one of the devices under their leg muscles from five seconds to one minute showed a significant increase in those muscles’ range of motion immediately afterward.
- More surprising, unlike stretching, which blunts muscles’ ability to generate force, foam rolling did not affect volunteers’ subsequent ability to jump or exert themselves otherwise.
- Additional experiments at his lab found that even after a “devastating workout” consisting of multiple sets of squats, volunteers who used a foam roller on their leg muscles were far less sore and better able to leap and perform other physical tasks 72 hours later than volunteers who didn’t use the device.
Read the rest of Gretchen's answer and additional research from Button at http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/ask-well-do-foam-rollers-aid-workouts/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0.
If you're interested in giving foam rollers a try, head over to BodySolid.com and check out our BSTFR Foam Rollers. We offer both a half roller and a full roller, which can be used for much more than just muscle stretching. Other uses include balance and stability exercises, strength training and home exercise.