Why the ben­e­fits of foam rolling are ac­tu­ally thanks to your ner­vous sys­tem

220 Triathlon Magazine - - Contents -

Why you should foam roll!

Foam rolling’s rec­om­mended as an

es­sen­tial re­cov­ery tool with the gen­eral but vague and am­biva­lent the­ory that it ‘loosens mus­cles’. That’s some­thing pro­fes­sor David Behm set about in­ves­ti­gat­ing by hav­ing 20 male sub­jects split into a foam-rolling (FR) and non-FR group, be­fore par­tic­i­pat­ing in five test­ing ses­sions. The FR group per­formed a 20min FR ses­sion at the end of each test­ing ses­sion.

And what did Behm and his team dis­cover? That FR re­sulted in less mus­cle sore­ness, higher ver­ti­cal leaps and greater flex­i­bil­ity. That matched the pos­i­tive out­comes of nu­mer­ous stud­ies, but Behm be­lieves it has noth­ing to do with eas­ing mus­cle stress, sug­gest­ing for that to have an im­pact would re­quire much higher forces than a hu­man could ap­ply on them­selves. In­stead, Behm says, it’s down to fir­ing up the ath­lete’s ner­vous sys­tem, which reg­is­ters and re­acts to pain. Fur­ther re­search from Ja­pan sup­ports this no­tion, link­ing FR with im­proved ar­te­rial flex­i­bil­ity and vas­cu­lar func­tion.

It may not give you wings but a foam roller will ease mus­cle sore­ness and in­crease flex­i­bil­ity… but in a dif­fer­ent way to how many have as­sumed THESECRETSTUDIO.NET

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