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Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and Strength in Young Adults

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Context: Foam rolling has been proposed to improve muscle function, performance, and joint range of motion (ROM). However, whether a foam rolling protocol can be adopted as a warm-up to improve flexibility and muscle strength is unclear. Objective: To examine and compare the acute effects of foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching used as part of warm-up on flexibility and muscle strength of knee flexion and extension. Design: Crossover study. Setting: University research laboratory. Participants: 15 male and 15 female college students (age 21.43 ± 1.48 y, weight 65.13 ± 12.29 kg, height 166.90 ± 6.99 cm). Main outcome measures: Isokinetic peak torque was measured during knee extension and flexion at an angular velocity of 60°/second. Flexibility of the quadriceps was assessed by the modified Thomas test, while flexibility of hamstrings was assessed using the sit-and-reach test. The 3 interventions were performed by all participants in random order on 3 days separated by 48-72 hours. Results: The flexibility test scores improved significantly more after foam rolling as compared to static and dynamic stretching. With regard to muscle strength, only knee extension peak torque (pre vs. post intervention) improved significantly after the dynamic stretching and foam rolling, but not after static stretching. Knee flexion peak torque remained unchanged. Conclusions: Foam rolling is more effective than static and dynamic stretching in acutely increasing flexibility of the quadriceps and hamstrings without hampering muscle strength, and may be recommended as part of a warm-up in healthy young adults.
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Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Note: This article will be published in a forthcoming issue of
the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. The article appears here in
its accepted, peer-reviewed form, as it was provided by the
submitting author. It has not been copyedited, proofed, or
formatted by the publisher.
Section: Original Research Report
Article Title: Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During
Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and Strength in Young Adults
Authors: Hsuan Su, Nai-Jen Chang, Wen-Lan Wu, Lan-Yuen Guo, and I-Hua Chu
Affiliations: Department of Sports Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung,
Taiwan.
Running Head: Acute effect of foam rolling on muscle performance
Journal: Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
Acceptance Date: September 12, 2016
©2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jsr.2016-0102
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Acute effects of foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching during warm-ups on
muscular flexibility and strength in young adults
Hsuan Sua, Nai-Jen Changa, Wen-Lan Wua, Lan-Yuen Guoa, I-Hua Chua
aDepartment of Sports Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, 100 Shih-Chuan 1st Rd.,
Kaohsiung, 807, Taiwan.
Running head: Acute effect of foam rolling on muscle performance
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to I-Hua Chu, Department of Sports
Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, 100 Shih-Chuan 1st Rd., Kaohsiung, 807, Taiwan.
Email: ihchu@kmu.edu.tw
Telephone: +886-7-3121101*2646#618
Fax: +886-7-3138359
Other contacts:
Hsuan Su: elmo0715@hotmail.com
Nai-Jen Chang: njchang@kmu.edu.tw
Wen-Lan Wu: wenlanwu@kmu.edu.tw
Lan-Yuen Guo: yuen@kmu.edu.tw
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Abstract
Context: Foam rolling has been proposed to improve muscle function, performance, and joint
range of motion (ROM). However, whether a foam rolling protocol can be adopted as a warm-up
to improve flexibility and muscle strength is unclear. Objectives: To examine and compare the
acute effects of foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching used as part of warm-up on
flexibility and muscle strength of knee flexion and extension. Design: Crossover study. Setting:
University research laboratory. Participants: 15 male and 15 female college students (age 21.43
± 1.48 y, weight 65.13 ± 12.29 kg, height 166.90 ± 6.99 cm). Main Outcome Measures: Isokinetic
peak torque was measured during knee extension and flexion at an angular velocity of 60°/second.
Flexibility of the quadriceps was assessed by the modified Thomas test, while flexibility of
hamstrings was assessed using the sit-and-reach test. The 3 interventions were performed by all
participants in random order on 3 days separated by 48-72 hours. Results: The flexibility test
scores improved significantly more after foam rolling as compared to static and dynamic
stretching. With regard to muscle strength, only knee extension peak torque (pre vs. post
intervention) improved significantly after the dynamic stretching and foam rolling, but not after
static stretching. Knee flexion peak torque remained unchanged. Conclusions: Foam rolling is
more effective than static and dynamic stretching in acutely increasing flexibility of the quadriceps
and hamstrings without hampering muscle strength, and may be recommended as part of a warm-
up in healthy young adults.
Keywords: myofascial release, foam rolling, stretching exercise, flexibility, strength
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Introduction
A single exercise session usually comprises four phases, warm-up, stretching, conditioning
or sports-related exercise, and cool-down 1. The warm-up phase consists of 5 to 10 minutes of low-
to moderate-intensity physical activity, and is a generally accepted and recommended method of
preparing the body for strenuous activity 1, 2. The stretching exercise may be performed as part of
a warm-up prior to the main exercise, with a goal to increase range of motion and decrease
resistance to stretch, allowing freer movements and enhanced performance 3-5. The effects of
stretching have been related to both mechanical (e.g., viscoelastic deformation, plastic deformation
of connective tissue) and neural (e.g., neuromuscular relaxation, modification of sensation) factors.
A number of studies have provided detailed reviews about these mechanisms 5-7.
There are different types of stretching exercise, static stretching, dynamic stretching,
ballistic stretching, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. Static and dynamic stretching
exercises can be self-administered and are recommended as part of an exercise program 1, 8. Static
stretching usually involves actively or passively moving a limb to the end of its range of motion
(ROM) and holding the stretched position for 15-60 seconds, and then repeating 2-4 times 8.
Fifteen to thirty seconds of static stretching has been shown to effectively increase flexibility and
ROM in a myriad of studies 5, 8, 9. However, recent studies have indicated that repetitive and
sustained bouts of static stretching may attenuate muscle strength and sprint performance, and
increase the risk of sports injuries during practices or competitions due to joint instability 5, 8, 10.
Alternatively, it is recommended that dynamic stretching exercise is performed at the warm-up
phase 8. Dynamic stretching incorporates whole body movements and involves actively moving a
joint through its ROM without holding the movement at its endpoint 2, 11. Research has shown that
dynamic stretching is effective in increasing flexibility, maximal muscle strength, sprint
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
performance, and vertical jump performance 2, 12, 13. However, there are also studies suggested that
dynamic stretching has no effect on muscle strength and performance 8, 14.
Recently, foam rolling exercise has been adopted as a tool for self-myofascial release
(SMR) 15. SMR is a therapeutic technique for treating soft-tissue restrictions and is commonly
used by therapists and fitness professionals as a recovery and maintenance tool to promote the
process of soft-tissue healing 16. When using foam rolling for SMR, individuals use their body
weight on a foam roller to exert pressure on the opposing soft tissues 15. Similar to static and
dynamic stretching, foam rolling has been shown to improve both active and passive ROM 16, 17.
Studies also consistently demonstrated the effects of foam rolling in reducing soft tissue adhesions
and in alleviating muscle soreness 15-18. However, the effect of foam rolling on muscle strength
and performance remains controversial.
Healey and colleagues 15 examined the acute effect of foam rolling exercise on vertical
jump height and power, isometric force, and agility. The results showed no significant differences
between foam rolling and planking for all of the athletic tests. MacDonald et al. 16 examined the
acute effect of foam rolling on quadriceps maximum voluntary contraction force and found no
changes in muscle strength 2 and 10 minutes after foam rolling on the quadriceps. On the other
hand, a study examined the effect of foam rolling after an intense bout of back squats. The results
revealed that foam rolling substantially improved muscle activation and vertical jump height as
compared to the no-treatment control group 17.
With so few studies, currently data on the acute effect of pre-performance foam rolling
exercise on muscle strength is inconclusive. Additionally, no study has compared the effect of
foam rolling to static and dynamic stretching on flexibility and muscle strength. Accordingly, this
study aimed to examine and compare the acute effects of foam rolling, static stretching, and
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
dynamic stretching used as part of warm-up on flexibility and muscle strength of knee flexion and
extension.
Methods
Participants
A total of thirty volunteers (mean age 21.43 ± 1.5 y, 15 men) were recruited from a
university and the surrounding community in southern Taiwan. Participants’ characteristics are
detailed in Table 1. Those with a history of cardiovascular or respiratory disease, having
contraindications to exercise (e.g., musculoskeletal injury, low back pain), with any history of
third-degree sprains (e.g., anterior cruciate ligament ruptures), grade II or III muscle strain, or
surgery or fractures in the lower extremity in the past year, taking prescribed medication other than
oral contraceptive pill, or being pregnant or breastfeeding were excluded from participation.
Seventeen participants (10 men) reported engaging in regular exercise, that is, participating in at
least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on at least 3 days of the week for at least 3 months
1. The majority of these participants reported engaging in walking, running, or cycling. About half
of these participants also reported playing ball sports (e.g., basketball, volleyball) or practicing
martial arts (e.g., tai chi) during their leisure time.
Sample size required was estimated at 24 with an alpha level of 0.05, a power of 0.80, and
an effect size of 0.60 derived from a previous study 19 to detect a difference between conditions in
changes in sit and reach test (cm). The G*Power was used for these calculations 20.The study
protocol was approved by the Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital
Institutional Review Board. All participants were informed of the benefits and risks of the
investigation, and written informed consent was received from all participants.
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Procedures
This study used a within-subject design to examine and compare the acute effects of foam
rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching of the quadriceps and hamstrings muscles on
flexibility and isokinetic muscle strength. Prior to the test sessions, all eligible participants attended
a familiarization session in which they were taught how to perform static stretching, dynamic
stretching, and foam rolling exercises. They were also familiarized with the procedures and
equipment used for the testing. Next, all participants completed three test sessions in randomized
order, with 48-72 hours of rest between each session. For all test sessions, participants were
requested to come to the laboratory between 2 pm and 4 pm and were instructed to avoid strength
training or strenuous activities 24 hours before their lab visit. During each test session, a 5 minutes
light aerobic cycling (Aerobike 75XLII; 70 rpm and 80W for men, 70 rpm and 50W for women)
was followed by pre-test measures in the order of isokinetic strength for quadriceps and
hamstrings, modified Thomas test, and sit and reach test. Next, participants performed another 5
minutes of light aerobic cycling followed by 6 minutes of foam rolling, static stretching, or
dynamic stretching randomized for that session. The protocols for the foam rolling and stretching
exercises are detailed below. Post-test measures were performed in the same order as the pre-test
measures at 5 minutes after the intervention. The flowchart of the study is presented in Figure 1.
All testing sessions took place in the same location and were supervised by the same
experimenters. The room temperature was controlled at 25°C by an air conditioner. Care was taken
to ensure that all participants received the same instructions and verbal encouragement for all
exercises and tests.
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Measures
Isokinetic knee extensor and flexor muscle strength were assessed using the Biodex
isokinetic dynamometer (Biodex System 3 Pro, New York, USA). Participants sat in an upright
position on the Biodex dynamometer chair with their trunk and right thigh stabilized by straps to
minimize extraneous body movements (Figure 2). The right leg was placed on the dynamometer.
The lateral femoral condyle was used as the bony landmark to align the axis of rotation of the knee
with the axis of rotation of the dynamometer. Participants were asked to perform knee extension
and immediate knee flexion as fast as they could three times at an angular velocity of 60°/second.
The peak torque in Nm was recorded 21. The isokinetic quadriceps and hamstrings muscle strength
measured at 60°/second using the Biodex System has high intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC)
values ranging from r = 0.88 to r = 0.97 22.
The flexibility of the quadriceps muscle was assessed by modified Thomas test 23. The
participants were instructed to sit at the edge of a therapeutic bed and roll onto their back while
pulling both knees to their chest. While maintaining the left limb in the fully flexed position, the
right limb was lowered toward the floor. The right knee was then flexed passively by the
experimenter until a there was a feeling of discomfort but no pain. Knee flexion angle was
measured by a goniometer to determine passive quadriceps length. This modified Thomas test has
a test retest reliability of 0.910.94 24.
The standard sit-and-reach test was used to assess low back and hamstring flexibility.
Participants were instructed to sit with their knees extended and the soles of their feet against the
testing box. Participants were then instructed to slowly reach forward as far as possible along the
top of the box and hold the position for 2 seconds, while keeping their knees fully extended. The
participant’s score was the most distant point the fingertips contact. Two trials were administered
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
with the maximum score recorded to the nearest 0.5 cm 21. The sit-and-reach test has a test retest
reliability of above 0.90 25.
Exercise Protocols
In the present study, foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching exercises were
performed on quadriceps and hamstrings. The protocols for all exercises are detailed in Figure 3.
The entire intervention for each exercise program lasted approximately 6 minutes.
Foam rolling exercise
Participants performed foam rolling on a foam roller that was constructed of hollow core
(10 cm outer diameter and 0.3 cm thickness) surrounded by EVA foam (1.5 cm thickness).
Participants first positioned their right lower limb into the designated position and then placed as
much of their body weight as possible onto the foam roller and moved back and forth 2 times
during 30 seconds of foam rolling. Next, the same exercise was performed on the left lower limb.
The foam rolling exercise was performed on quadriceps and hamstrings three times in rotational
order.
Static stretching exercise
Participants first positioned their right lower limb into each of the stretch positions then
slowly stretched the target muscle to a position of mild discomfort and held this position for 30
seconds. Next, the same stretching exercise was performed on the left lower limb. Each stretching
exercise was performed three times for quadriceps and hamstrings in rotational order.
Dynamic stretching exercise
Dynamic stretching consisted of 2 controlled movements (i.e., forward lunge and front
kick) through the active ROM of the hip joint. Each movement was performed continuously for 1
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
minute, in which participants completed 15 repetitions on each leg reciprocally (about 2 seconds
per repetition). Both movements were performed three times alternately for a total of 6 minutes.
Statistical Analyses
This was a randomized crossover study. Data were inspected visually and statistically for
normality (Shapiro-Wilks test, P > 0.05) and all variables were normally distributed. Descriptive
statistics were performed for characteristics of the participants. A 3 (condition: foam rolling vs.
static stretching vs. dynamic stretching) x 2 (time: pre-test vs. post-test) analysis of variance with
repeated measures was performed to examine the effects of different conditions on the dependent
variables. Significant F tests were followed by post-hoc comparisons using the Bonferroni
correction method. Estimates of effect size using the partial eta squared 2) and Cohen d were
reported to present the magnitude of the effect. The significance level (α level) was set at 0.05. All
data analyses were performed with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Version 19
(SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA).
Results
The results for all outcome measures are presented in Table 2 and Figure 4. At pretest,
there were no statistical differences among the three conditions for any of the dependent variables.
For the modified Thomas test, there was a significant condition by time interaction effect (F2,58 =
12.683, P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.304). In addition, there was a significant main effect of time (F1,29
= 90.878, P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.758). Post hoc analyses revealed that participants improved
significantly in the modified Thomas test after all three conditions (P < 0.017). Participants also
improved significantly more after foam rolling in comparison with static stretching and dynamic
stretching.
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
For the sit and reach test, there was a significant condition by time interaction effect (F2,58
= 7.612, P = 0.002, partial η2 = 0.208). The main effect of time was also significant (F1,29 = 44.382,
P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.605). Post hoc analyses revealed that participants improved significantly
in the sit and reach test after all three conditions (P < 0.001). Additionally, participants improved
significantly more after foam rolling in comparison with static stretching and dynamic stretching.
There was no significant interaction effect of time and conditions for the changes in knee
extension peak torque (F2,58 = 3.379, P = 0.057 partial η2 = 0.104) and knee flexion peak torque
(F2,58 = 0.448, P = 0.641 partial η2 = 0.015). The main effect of time was significant for knee
extension peak torque (F1,29 = 17.850, P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.381), but not for knee flexion peak
torque (F1,29 = 1.585, P = 0.218, partial η2 = 0.052). Post hoc analyses revealed that participants
improved significantly in knee extension peak torque after foam rolling (P = 0.003) and dynamic
stretching (P = 0.020), but not after static stretching (P = 0.903).
Discussion
The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the acute effects of foam rolling,
static stretching, and dynamic stretching used as part of warm-up on flexibility and muscle strength
of knee flexion and extension. The results revealed that all three conditions were effective in
acutely increasing flexibility of the quadriceps and hamstrings, and that foam rolling was
significantly more effective than static and dynamic stretching in increasing flexibility. There were
no significant differences between conditions in isokinetic muscle strength. Significant results of
time (pre vs. post intervention) were seen in knee extension peak torque, which improved
significantly after foam rolling and dynamic stretching, but not after static stretching. Knee flexion
peak torque, on the other hand, remained unchanged.
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
The mean pretest value of the sit and reach test indicates good flexibility when the result
is compared to norms for Northern American and Taiwanese adults 21, 26. The mean pretest values
of the isokinetic knee extension and flexion are also comparable to norms for non-athletes of
similar age 27, 28. Such comparison, however, cannot be made for the modified Thomas test, as the
norms are not widely available.
Foam rolling has been shown to increase flexibility in previous studies 16, 17. MacDonald
et al.’s study 16 and the present study are, to the best of our knowledge, the only research articles
to examine the acute effects of foam rolling as a pre-performance exercise on quadriceps
flexibility. Similar to our findings, MacDonald et al. reported that an acute bout of foam rolling
was effective in increasing quadriceps flexibility as compared with the control. While static
stretching and dynamic stretching have also been shown to effectively increase flexibility in
previous research 2, 5, 9, the present study is the first to compare the effects of foam rolling with
static and dynamic stretching on flexibility. The results suggested that foam rolling is more
effective than static and dynamic stretching in increasing flexibility of the quadriceps and
hamstrings and may be recommended as part of a warm-up, especially for sports that necessitate
a high degree of flexibility (e.g., gymnastics, ballet, diving).
The increase in flexibility after foam rolling may be explained by a change in the thixo-
tropic property of the fascia encasing the muscle 29, 30. The foam rolling technique involves small
undulations back and forth over a dense foam roller which place direct and sweeping pressure on
the soft tissue to stretch the tissue and generate friction between the soft-tissue of the body and the
foam roller 16. This friction was reported to cause warming of the fascia, promote the fascia to take
on a more fluid-like form, break up fibrous adhesions between the layers of fascia, and result in
the restoration of soft-tissue extensibility and greater flexibility 16, 31, 32. The increased flexibility
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
may also be attributed to the vigorous pressure placed on the soft-tissue during foam rolling. This
vigorous pressure may overload the cutaneous receptors which possibly dulls the sensation of the
stretch endpoint and results in increased stretch tolerance and subsequently improved flexibility 16,
33.
While a number of studies have demonstrated detrimental effects of static stretching on
muscle strength and performance 3, 5, 10, other studies have suggested that short durations (<90
seconds total) of static stretching does not result in performance impairments 2, 8, 14. Results of the
present study revealed that 90 seconds of static stretching did not attenuate muscle strength of knee
flexion and extension.
Two studies have investigated the acute effects of foam rolling as a pre-performance
exercise on muscle strength and performance and reported no change in muscle strength after foam
rolling 15, 16. The present study showed a significant increase in knee extension peak torque after
foam rolling with a medium effect size. Furthermore, the percentage of increase in peak torque
(8%) is similar to those reported after strength training in healthy young adults (6%-10%) 34, 35.
However, this increase was not significantly different from the static stretching condition, which
showed essentially no change in knee extension peak torque. Knee flexion peak torque was also
not affected by foam rolling. Accordingly, similar to previous findings, the effect of foam rolling
in enhancing muscle strength was not evidenced in the present study. The significant finding in
knee extension peak torque may likely be due to measurement error. Nonetheless, the present study
showed that an acute bout of foam rolling did not have harmful effects on muscle strength.
Dynamic stretching was also found to result in a significant increase in knee extension peak
torque, and this increase was significantly different from the static stretching condition (P = 0.044).
This finding is similar to a number of previous studies demonstrating improvements in muscle
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
strength and performance after dynamic stretching 2, 12, 13. An elevation in muscle temperature and
postactivation potentiation (PAP) are two of the proposed theories to explain this improvement in
muscle strength 36, 37. In the present study, the movement used for dynamic stretching of the
quadriceps (forward lunge) may also cause repeated contractions of the quadriceps muscle of the
front leg. This may in turn result in elevated muscle temperature and PAP and subsequently
improved quadriceps muscle strength. In other words, the increase in knee extension peak torque
seen in the present was likely due to the contraction part rather than the stretching part of the
dynamic stretching movement. This may also explain the non-significant finding in knee flexion
peak torque as the movements used for dynamic stretching in the present study did not provide
opportunities for repeated contractions of the hamstrings muscle.
This study had several limitations. The majority of the participants were healthy college
students, which constrains the generalizability of the findings to other age groups. Another concern
is that the amount of pressure placed on the foam roller varied depending on the individual’s body
weight and his/her discomfort tolerance, which may influence the effect of foam rolling each
individual received. Also, it is important to note that the sit-and-reach test used in the present study
assesses the flexibility of both low back and hamstring. As foam rolling is mainly applied on
hamstring muscle, future study should also include a straight leg raise test to more specifically
examine the effect of foam rolling on hamstring muscle length. Furthermore, this study only
assessed flexibility and strength of a single muscle group. For practical application, a task-oriented
approach such as jumping, sprinting, and other athletic performance may be evaluated in future
research.
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Conclusion
Foam rolling is more effective than static and dynamic stretching in acutely increasing
flexibility of the quadriceps and hamstrings, and may be recommended as part of a warm-up to
enhance performance. For sports that require a high degree of flexibility (e.g., gymnastics, ballet,
diving), it is suggested that foam rolling be performed before the main exercise as it appears to be
more effective in increasing flexibility without attenuating muscle strength.
Acknowledgments
We wish to thank all our participants for their time and effort. The authors declared no conflict of
interest.
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
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Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
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Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Figure 1. Summary of study design
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Figure 2. The position for isokinetic strength test
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Figure 3. Exercise Protocols
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Figure 4. Changes in flexibility and strength after the foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic
stretching conditions. A) Modified Thomas test B) Sit and reach test C) Isokinetic knee extension D)
Isokinetic knee flexion. * Indicates the change was statistically significant at p < 0.05. All data are
presented as mean ± standard deviation.
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Table 1. Participants characteristics
Men (n=15)
Women (n=15)
Age (years)
21.47±1.77
21.40±1.18
Height (cm)
172.40±4.64
161.40±3.85
Weight (kg)
72.07±11.75
58.20±8.48
BMI (kg/m2)
24.19±3.40
22.35±3.26
Values are mean ± standard deviation; BMI = body mass index.
Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-Ups on Muscular Flexibility and
Strength in Young Adults” by Su H et al.
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Table 2. Measurements for the foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching conditions
Modified Thomas
test (degrees)
Sit and reach test
(cm)
Quadriceps strength
(N·m·Kg-1)
Hamstrings strength
(N·m·Kg-1)
Foam rolling
Pre
119.13±16.50
32.85±12.00
2.17±0.44
1.41±0.29
Post
130.30±13.85*
36.73±10.13*
2.34±0.43*
1.43±0.31
Post-pre
11.17±7.22
3.88±3.77
0.17±0.28
0.02±0.11
ES
1.55
1.03
0.59
0.22
Static stretching
Pre
119.40±13.66
33.56±11.19
2.33±0.38
1.44±0.30
Post
126.07±13.36*
35.54±10.84*
2.33±0.44
1.44±0.31
Post-pre
6.67±6.63a
1.99±2.30a
0.00±0.15
0.00±0.07
ES
1.00
0.86
0.02
0.01
Dynamic stretching
Pre
120.53±14.03
33.58±11.33
2.33±0.38
1.44±0.30
Post
123.27±14.57*
35.69±10.28*
2.44±0.38*
1.46±0.27
Post-pre
2.73±5.89a
2.10±1.91a
0.11±0.25
0.02±0.13
ES
0.46
1.10
0.45
0.14
Values are mean ± standard deviation. Effect size (ES) is calculated by Cohen d.
*Significant difference (P < 0.05) compared with pretest.
aSignificant difference (P < 0.05) compared with foam rolling.
... A warm-up is a well-established practice to prepare athletes for both training and competition (14). The benefits of a warm-up include raising core and muscle temperature, adapting the body for competition demands, improving flexibility and range of motion, as well increasing power output (14). ...
... A warm-up is a well-established practice to prepare athletes for both training and competition (14). The benefits of a warm-up include raising core and muscle temperature, adapting the body for competition demands, improving flexibility and range of motion, as well increasing power output (14). Static stretching (SS), which involves holding a limb at maximal range of motion for anywhere from 10-60 seconds, has traditionally been used in a warm-up to achieve these four physiological factors (2,14,15). ...
... The benefits of a warm-up include raising core and muscle temperature, adapting the body for competition demands, improving flexibility and range of motion, as well increasing power output (14). Static stretching (SS), which involves holding a limb at maximal range of motion for anywhere from 10-60 seconds, has traditionally been used in a warm-up to achieve these four physiological factors (2,14,15). While SS may increase range of motion, current literature suggests that it may in fact hinder performance and increase injury risk (2,14). ...
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The purpose of this study was to analyze the muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2) of static and dynamic warm-up and assess their impact on athletic preparation. The acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on muscular and functional performance have been well established, with many studies highlighting physiological factors and performance markers (such as range of motion and flexibility). To date, no studies have analyzed the effects of dynamic stretching on muscle oxygenation. Twenty-three recreationally fit participants performed both static (SS) and dynamic stretching (DS) protocols targeting the rectus femoris muscle while the effects on SmO2 were monitored using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). SmO2 levels after stretching were significantly (p = 0.04; d = 2.21) enhanced with DS (62.8 ± 12.6%) compared to SS (55.1 ± 17.8%). The effect persisted for two minutes after stretching had ceased, which may have implications for exercise prescription.
... The purpose of SMR is to alleviate hypersensitivity in the myofascial structures (Beardsley & Skarabot, 2015;Phillips et al., 2018). Commonly, SMR is performed using different kinds of tools, such as foam rolling and individuals exerting pressure on the restricted tissues with their body weight (Su et al., 2017). A wide variety of benefits have been observed, especially increased range of motion (ROM) (Guillot et al., 2019;Jay et al., 2014;Kelly & Beardsley, 2016;Romero-Franco et al., 2019;Škarabot et al., 2015), muscle flexibility (Behara & Jacobson, 2017;Guillot et al., 2019;Su et al., 2017), and athletic performance expressed by higher jump and shorter sprint time (Baumgart et al., 2019;Healey et al., 2014;Peacock et al., 2014Peacock et al., , 2015Richman et al., 2019;Smith et al., 2018). ...
... Commonly, SMR is performed using different kinds of tools, such as foam rolling and individuals exerting pressure on the restricted tissues with their body weight (Su et al., 2017). A wide variety of benefits have been observed, especially increased range of motion (ROM) (Guillot et al., 2019;Jay et al., 2014;Kelly & Beardsley, 2016;Romero-Franco et al., 2019;Škarabot et al., 2015), muscle flexibility (Behara & Jacobson, 2017;Guillot et al., 2019;Su et al., 2017), and athletic performance expressed by higher jump and shorter sprint time (Baumgart et al., 2019;Healey et al., 2014;Peacock et al., 2014Peacock et al., , 2015Richman et al., 2019;Smith et al., 2018). ...
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... Different types of exercises such as jumping, ballistic exercises, squats with heavy weights, and rapid movements have been increased with different warm-up methods [9]. A good warm-up method can be used as a mechanism to improve the performance of athletes in various sports. ...
... In this context, the squat jump is one of the most widely used sports gestures combined with 2-s maximum knee flexion (to eliminate sources of tension reflex in jump height). According to the principle of exercise specificity, specific warm-ups can be useful in enhancing coordination and improving performance by simulating the movements of a particular sport [9]. For example, improvement of rapid running [10] and jumping [11] after warm-up has been confirmed by many researchers. ...
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Purpose: A proper warm-up method can be used as a strategy to improve the performance of athletes in various sports fields. The present study aimed to compare the effect of two traditional and post-activation potentiation (PAP) warm-up methods on electromyographic variables of lower limb muscles during squat jumps. Methods: Fourteen trained male athletes randomly performed three different protocols: traditional warm-up method, dynamic post-activation potentiation (PD) by implementing two dynamic half-squat repetitions with 90% 1RM (one rep maximum), and static post-activation potentiation (PS) warm-up by implementing two static half-squat repetitions with 90% 1RM. Vertical jump tests were performed five minutes after implementing each protocol (recovery time). EMG activity of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, biceps femoris, semi-tendinous, medial gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior was recorded. Also, the co-contraction index and median frequencies were calculated. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used for data analysis (P<0.05). Results: The results of this study showed that the activity level of all muscles in the concentric and flight phases, the co-contraction index of the ankle and knee joints, and also median frequencies of rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, semi-tendinous, biceps femoris, and medial gastrocnemius significantly changed in the PD and PS warm-up methods compared to the traditional warm-up method (P≥0.05). Also, the activity level of rectus femoris, vastus medialis, and biceps femoris muscles had a significant difference between the PD and PS compared to the traditional warm-up method in the eccentric phases (P≥0.05). Conclusion: According to the study results, the PAP warm-up method can improve the performance of athletes in training and competition conditions.
... Compared with other studies, the current study identified a non-significant change of CSR, and this difference may be attributable to the stretching and rolling volume (stretching each muscle for two sets of 30 s and rolling for one set of 60 s). For example, Lee et al. reported that FR, VFR, and SS (3 sets of 30 s for all three warm-up conditions) significantly improved knee extension ROM [44], and FR (3 sets of 30 s) and SS (3 sets of 30 s) were reported to significantly improve CSR results [46]. ...
... Similarly, Adams et al. advocated whole-body vibration stimulation (range 30-60 s) for its general positive impact on countermovement jump performance [47]. It is important to mention that in some previous studies [44,46,48] participants performed FR or VFR on the floor by actively rolling back and forth on each muscle while maintaining body stability and balance. In the current study, to ensure the safety of the older adults, passive rolling was performed and the core muscle group was not used, which might have affected the participants' lower limb strength performance (e.g., 30 s chair stand). ...
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... By determination of effect of myofascial release via the foam roller on power and activation of knee extensor and ROM in knee-joint [35] discovered that using of a foam roller had not any significant influence on power of quadriceps or its activation, but it had significant influence on increasing of ROM. Other authors [40,41] determined that after using of a foam roller in stretching came to significant improvement in flexions of coxal joint. Other researches point that using of the foam roller has significant influence on range of motion (ROM) of hamstrings for 5 -10 seconds with pressure of 13 kg [42]. ...
... Although the authors realized that in hip flexibility was statistically significant difference when tested after both dynamic stretching and foam rolling (p=0.0001). Alike many other authors say that they did not discover statistically significant differences between stretching with foam rolling and dynamic stretching, they found out that flexibility [40,41] and ROM [35] had improved after using foam rolling. In our study we did not discover any significant difference (p>0.05) by young volleyball players by using foam rolling in comparison with dynamic stretching. ...
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... This effect has been referred as stretch-induced strength loss (52). This effect was also found in the included studies, where static stretching had more adverse muscular-performance results in comparison with either dynamic stretching or SMR (31,38,48,82,91). Therefore, in these outcomes SMR using instruments seems to be a more valid option in comparison with static stretching. ...
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G*Power (Erdfelder, Faul, & Buchner, 1996) was designed as a general stand-alone power analysis program for statistical tests commonly used in social and behavioral research. G*Power 3 is a major extension of, and improvement over, the previous versions. It runs on widely used computer platforms (i.e., Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X 10.4) and covers many different statistical tests of the t, F, and chi2 test families. In addition, it includes power analyses for z tests and some exact tests. G*Power 3 provides improved effect size calculators and graphic options, supports both distribution-based and design-based input modes, and offers all types of power analyses in which users might be interested. Like its predecessors, G*Power 3 is free.
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Part 1 of this two part article showed that immediate fascial responsiveness to manipulation cannot be explained by its mechanical properties alone. Fascia is densely innervated by mechanoreceptors which are responsive to myofascial manipulation. They are intimately connected with the central nervous system and specially with the autonomic nervous system. Part 2 of the article shows how stimulation of these receptors can trigger viscosity changes in the ground substance. The discovery and implications of the existence of fascial smooth muscle cells are of special interest in relation to fibromyalgia, amongst other conditions. An attitudinal shift is suggested, from a mechanical body concept towards a cybernetic model, in which the practitioner's intervention are seen as stimulation for self-regulatory processes within the client's organism. Practical implications of this approach in myofascial manipulation will be explored.