Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 229 - 238

Research article
The Training Effects of Foam Rolling on Core Strength Endurance, Balance, Muscle Performance and Range of Motion: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Daniel Junker1,2, Thomas Stöggl1, 
Author Information
1 Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Salzburg, Austria
2 Therapie und Training, Telfs, Austria

Thomas Stöggl
✉ Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Schlossallee 49, 5400 Hallein/Rif, Austria
Publish Date
Received: 25-01-2019
Accepted: 15-02-2019
Published (online): 01-06-2019

Self myofascial therapy via foam roller is a common technique used by many athletes and patients to aid recovery, improve range of motion (ROM) and prevent injury. Further, it is suggested that foam rolling improves core stability. However, research about the training effects of foam rolling on measures of core “strength endurance”, muscle performance, balance and flexibility is limited. Forty recreationally active females and males (age: 18-48 yrs) were randomly assigned to a foam roll (FOAM, n = 14), a core stabilization (CORE; n = 12) and a control group (CG, n = 12). FOAM massaged their lower leg muscles (5 exercises) with the foam roll 2 times per week for 8 weeks while CORE was assigned to core stability training including 5 exercises. CG underwent no intervention. Applied tests for outcome measurements were the Bourban trunk muscle strength test (TMS), standing long jump (SLJ), single leg triple hop for distance (SLTH) test, Y-Balance test and stand and reach test. There was an interaction effect (time x treatment) for the dorsal TMS (p = 0.043), demonstrating greater improvements in CORE compared with FOAM and CG with no difference between FOAM and CG. For the stand and reach test a main effect for time (p < 0.001) and time x treatment interaction (p = 0.005) were found, indicating an increase in ROM in FOAM compared with CORE and CG with no difference between the latter. No significant effects were found for balance and muscle performance. An 8-week training with the foam roll is effective in increasing ROM in the stand and reach test without concomitant decreases in core “strength endurance”, muscle performance and balance parameters. The core stabilization training was sufficient to improve performance in dorsal TMS test.

Key words: Core stabilization, fascia, myofascial therapy, Y-Balance

           Key Points
  • Eight weeks of core-stability training two times per week improved dorsal trunk strength with no changes in a foam rolling group or the control.
  • Hamstring flexibility was improved both by an eight-weeks core-strength and foam rolling training interventions.-
  • Neither foam rolling nor core-strength training had an effect on muscle performance (horizontal jump performance) and balance
  • Both foam rolling and core-strength training demonstrated no detrimental effects on performance and balance.
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