An Acute Bout of Self Myofascial Release Increases Range of Motion Without a Subsequent Decrease in Muscle Activation or Force.
This research article on self myofascial release, specifically on the use of foam rollers, is one of the first to study the effectiveness of foam rollers on ROM and strength. Many therapists and strength coaches use foam rollers in their daily treatments or workouts but little evidence has proven its effectiveness. This study had a small sample size (11) but did show increases in ROM at 2 mins and 10 mins following foam rolling. At 2 mins flexibility was increased by 12.7% and at 10 mins flexibility was increased by 10.3%. Additionally, foam rolling did not decrease voluntary muscle activation. This is important to note because static stretching and massage have been shown to decrease force production.
Obviously there needs to be more studies with larger sample sizes but this begins to give some credibility to foam rolling. Many trainers and therapists swear by foam rolling for multiple different reasons and now there is some evidence behind it.