Carley J. Henning1, Olivia Stovern1, John P. Porcari1, Blaine E. Arney1, Scott Doberstein1, Kari Emineth1, Carl Foster1. The Acute Effects of Foam Rolling on Ankle and Knee Range of Motion, Hamstring Flexibility, Agility, and Vertical Jump Height. 1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA.
Introduction: Foam rolling (FR) has become a very popular modality to provide self-myofascial release. FR is often used during the warm-up period or cool-down period and can purportedly improve range of motion (ROM), flexibility, and a variety of performance measures. Purpose: This study evaluated the acute effects of FR on ankle and knee ROM, hamstring flexibility, agility, and vertical jump height. Methods: Nineteen subjects (8 male, 11 female) completed a 15-minute FR session and a control condition (sitting quietly), on two separate days. Pre and post-testing evaluation included ankle dorsiflexion ROM, knee flexion ROM, a sit-and-reach test to assess hamstring flexibility, agility, and vertical jump height. Subjects also filled out a perceived benefits questionnaire. Results: There were no statistically significant differences for any of the criterion measures (p<.05), although knee ROM (p=.08) and hamstring flexibility (p=.07) approached significance. Subjectively subjects felt that FR increased ROM at the ankle and knee and improved their flexibility. Conclusions: FR, as conducted in this study, did not provide any physiologic benefit when used as a warm-up modality. However, FR may provide some psychological benefit as subjects perceived it to be beneficial.