Does foam rolling really work to relieve sore muscles?

CNET | 9/3/2019 | Amanda Capritto
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Foam rolling: Does it really speed up muscle recovery?

These days, it's nearly impossible to walk through a gym without tripping over someone shimmying around on a foam tube. If you're new to the gym scene, don't be fooled: These people aren't wiggling all over the floor because it's fun (though some may beg to differ), they're doing it to bust muscle knots and improve range of motion.

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Foam rolling has emerged as the go-to way to recover from workouts because it's quick, easy, inexpensive and 100% DIY. Read on to learn how foam rolling works and if you should try it.

Does foam rolling work?

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Perhaps the better question is how foam rolling works. We know that foam rolling hurts while you're doing it, but usually ends in an overall improvement in soreness. A good foam rolling session can help you work the stiffness and aches out of sore muscles, as well as improve flexibility and mobility (though you'll need more than one minute of foam rolling for that).

Scientists thought for years that foam rolling directly affected fascia, the soft connective tissue that basically holds your body together. That's where foam rolling got its scientific name, self-myofascial release.

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But some scientists have become skeptical of that claim because manipulating fascia requires much more force than any person's own bodyweight. Instead, foam rolling may actually work on your nervous system to relieve pain. There's also some evidence that foam rolling encourages blood flow, which we know is essential for muscle recovery.

Beyond this, there's still a lot to learn about foam rolling and its effects on muscle recovery and athletic performance, especially when...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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