Foam Roll & Stretch For the Best Result

The little things really do make all the difference. You see examples of this repeatedly throughout history.

Think about this in terms of sports performance. The ‘greats’ weren’t usually the most gifted. They weren’t freaks in the weight room.

For example, none of the following are household names:

Justin Ernest, Stephen Paea, Mike Kudla, Mitch Petrus, Leif Larsen, Brodrick Bunkley, Jeff Owens, Dontari Poe, Scott Young, Kyle Harrington…

Do any of these names ring a bell?

Don’t worry if they don’t but they are the NFL Combine bench press record holders.

Contrast this with Peyton Manning.

His level of preparation for games was meticulous. Before a Super Bowl he would watch all 16 regular season games the opponent had played. And he had the back-up watch the 4 pre-season games and give him a report on what they were doing. He kept notes himself of what worked and what could be better. And then he made the appropriate adjustments and corrections based on this study and preparation.

What about regular Joes like you and I? Does preparation matter?

Absolutely it does!

All I need to do is go back about 5 years to a powerlifting competition where I missed a deadlift attempt at 385 lbs. My previous effort in that competition was 365 lbs so that is where I finished for that lift.

That was disheartening. At that point I felt like maybe strength was going to be a thing of the past for me. Maybe I would have to adjust my training? Maybe I would  get into the sports and activities that guys in their 40s and 50s do? Maybe my best was now in the rear-view mirror?

Was this going to be my new sport?

Was this going to be my new sport?

This was a bitter pill to swallow. But I was right about one thing. I did need to adjust my training. With two ACL reconstructions and bilateral pars fractures in my low back I would have to approach my training differently.

Fast forward 5 years and I haven’t lost anymore strength. In fact where I was was in 2013 at a 365 lbs for a single rep is now 430 lbs for 3 reps.

So what did I do to turn things around strengh-wise?

I started putting a lot more effort into soft tissue, stretching and mobility work before lifting. Maybe I will do a detailed post showing how I warm up for a training session?

But this approach wasn’t just pulled from thin air. It was evidenced-based. And it ties in with Savanna’s review of the following  study.

 

Some clients hit the fast forward button on the warm up and sometimes forget the importance of it. This article highlights the affects on range of motion of the hip when the warm up is preformed in its entirety.

The study is Effectiveness of Foam Rolling in Combination With Static Stretching Protocol of the Hamstring.

Below is a quick overview of the study.

* 40 healthy subjects (14 male and 26 female) with no extremity injuries occurring in the 6 months prior to the study
* randomly assigned to either stretching only, foam rolling only, foam rolling and stretching or control group (participated in neither)  * baseline measurements of hip range of motion were taken and the subjects visited the lab 6 times over a 2 week period to perform range of motion tests on their hips

The researchers found was that:

  • those subjects receiving the foam rolling and stretch treatment had the greatest increase in hip range of motion
  • there was an average increase of 11 cm in range of motion of the hip after foam rolling and stretching

This is incredible considering:

* some of the clients have limited range of motion so if we are able to gain a little bit more range of motion before they exercise this could help them preform a certain exercise more smoothly and with less discomfort.

In other words, we can achieve a better result with our training i.e. bigger deadlifts, with fewer side effects like soreness and discomfort.

Reference

Mohr, A, Long BC, Goad CL.  Effectiveness of Foam Rolling in Combination with a Static Stretching Protocol of the Hamstrings. 2014. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 23:296-299.

 

 

 

 

 

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