When Should You Be Foam Rolling & Stretching?

Foam rolling and stretching are two of the most beneficial ways of improving your flexibility, range of motion, and stiffness. But when is the best time to do them?

A recent study conducted a systematic review to evaluate the effects of stretching and foam rolling before and after exercise. Results found that foam rolling and stretching immediately before exercise negatively impacts the strength and power of your muscles. The induced elasticity to the muscles causes them to react slower during physical activity which can contribute to possible injury and reduce performance. However, a dynamic warm-up using active movements brought similar short-term flexibility improvements without the loss of muscle performance.

It also showed that both stretching and foam rolling have similar benefits in improving flexibility.

It is still important to incorporate stretching and foam rolling into your schedule as they have been found to increase your range of motion and flexibility significantly. Just do them either after exercise or at another time.

The study also highlighted the need to adopt a more customised approach to warm-up routines for each individual, considering the specific needs, preferences, and circumstances of each person.

If you require assistance with a personalised warm-up routine or have more questions on when to use your foam roller and stretching routine, feel free to book an appointment with one of our trained professionals here at Back To Health Physiotherapy, or give us a call at 9997 4970. If you are also looking to purchase a foam roller, give us a call and we will be happy to set you up with one that is suitable for you.

Reference Paper: Warneke, K. et al. (2024) ‘Foam rolling and stretching do not provide superior acute flexibility and stiffness improvements compared to any other warm-up intervention: A systematic review with meta-analysis’, Journal of Sport and Health Science [Preprint]. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2024.01.006.