C. Hand,T. Holling, G. Klinkhammer, S. Locati, W.M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Recently, foam rolling (FR) has been introduced as an alternate warm-up protocol to traditional stretching, which may promote large increases in range of motion (ROM) without compromised performance. PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to examine the effects of FR volume, specifically 20 s per muscle group and 40 s per muscle group, on joint ROM and athletic performance. METHODS: Twenty one healthy, college-aged, and moderately active males and females (nm= 9, nf= 12) participated. Participants completed bilateral hip and knee ROM tests to determine flexibility before and after three conditions of FR. Participants also completed a maximal vertical jump (VJ) and a maximal 30 m sprint to determine athletic performance post-FR. FR protocols consisted of a control condition with no FR (C), 20 s per muscle group (20 s), and 40 s per muscle group (40 s) on the hamstrings, quadriceps, iliotibial band, gracilis, calf, and gluteals. Kruskal-Wallis tests (p=0.05) were utilized to compare experimental conditions for all dependent variables. RESULTS: No statistical differences were noted for VJ or 30 m sprint (p= 0.35 - 0.66), or between right and left hip flexion, right and left knee flexion, and right hip extension (p= 0.23 - 0.88) after C, 20 s, and 40 s FR sessions. However, a statistically significant increase (p= 0.02) in left hip extension was noted between FR conditions (C: -1.14 +4.21 Δ°, 20 s: 2.67 +3.48 Δ°, 40 s: 4.43 +4.06Δ°). CONCLUSIONS: Under the research conditions, different volumes of FR did not have statistical significance on VJ or 30 m sprint performance. Foam rolling significantly increased left hip extension, however, the results were not bilateral and no significant increase was observed in other ROM measurements. One possible explanation for the observed increase in left hip extension was that leg dominance had an effect on muscle tightness. This could have led to an unequal response to the myofascial release properties of FR. A limitation of the study was the possibility of intra-rater error in goniometer use. Future research should include a larger sample size, utilize more accurate ROM test procedures, and examine the effect of leg dominance on ROM response to FR.

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