Olivia Stovern1, Carley Henning1, John P. Porcari1, Scott Doberstein1, Kari Emineth1, Blaine E. Arney1, Carl Foster1. The Effect of Training with a Foam Roller 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) is a popular tool for providing self-myofascial release. The long-term use of FR is suggested to improve range of motion (ROM), flexibility, and a variety of performance measures. Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate the training effects of foam rolling on ankle and knee range of motion, hamstring flexibility, agility, and vertical jump height. Methods: Twenty subjects (8 male, 12 female) completed 6 weeks of foam rolling, which was held three days per week. Fourteen volunteers (6 males 8 females) with similar characteristics served as a control group. Pre and post-testing evaluation included measurement of ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion range of motion, hamstring flexibility (sit-and-reach test), agility (T-test), and vertical jump height. Results: There were no significant changes in knee range of motion, vertical jump height, or T-test time in either group from pre to post-testing. Ankle range of motion increased for both the foam rolling (3.1o) and the control groups (4.2o) over the course of the study. Hamstring flexibility improved significantly (1.9 cm) in the foam rolling group. Conclusion: Six weeks of foam rolling had a positive effect on hamstring flexibility and did not negatively affect agility or vertical jump height.