What is Foam rolling? What does foam rolling do?


Foam rolling is simply using a piece of foam  (for e.g by laying your body on a foam roller) and rolling over a part of the body. . It has become an increasingly popular thing to do and it can provide fast relief of muscle aches or pain and the feeling of being more relaxed afterward.


It has been proposed that foam rolling can help with:

  • Reducing DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness
  • Decreasing the tenderness of the muscle
  • Temporarily increasing in the mobility and range of motion of the joint

However there has been NO conclusive evidence to prove the effects of foam rolling on the body. But we do know that foam rolling DOES NOT:

  • Increase your muscle length – When you stretch, the increases in range of motion is from your body’s increasing tolerance to move through that range, rather than any changes in the actual muscle. This is the same for foam rolling.
  • Release fascia – Fascia is the dense fibrous covering that wraps around our muscles to keep it in shape. Foam rolling doesn’t ‘release’ the ‘stiff’ fascia in your body. Fascia is tough stuff and it is made to be like that. If our fascia, simply lengthened after a foam roll then it would do the same if we sat on a rock which would mean our bodies would just flop like a fish.


  • Place the foam roller over the sore area or muscle you want to massage
  • Roll over back and forth for 30s-2min
  • Make sure the pain you feel is tolerable and NOT excruciating. If it is really sore initially and does not go away, then don’t roll that area.
  • Ensure that there is no bruising after rolling. The harder you roll doesn’t necessarily mean its better for you.
  • Test/re-test your movement and see if there are any changes. For example, you can try a movement you struggled with initially like a squat, then foam roll, then squat again and see if it feels better.


  • Less is more. You will feel a little sore when you start to foam roll, but there should be no large increase in pain. Once you get comfortable (i.e.  over a period of a few days or weeks) with foam rolling you can spend more time doing it.
  • Prioritise your dynamic movement based warm up program before exercise.
  • Like stretching, you can foam rolling 30s-2min at a tolerable level before exercise as part of your warm up and/or after exercise to help reduce post-exercise soreness.
  • Ensure that there is no bruising after foam rolling.


ASPIRE PHYSIOTHERAPY: Supporting you to good health and well-being. The information provided is not intended as medical advice. A full physiotherapy assessment is ideal to identify your impairments, and from there an individualised rehab plan and program will help you return to full function. Please like and follow our Facebook page and if you have any questions please feel free to call us on (02) 87986991 or email: info@aspirephysio.com.au



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