The acute effect of self-massage on the short-term recovery of muscle contractile function

Zorko Nejc, Jakob Škarabot, Amador Garcia-Ramos, Igor Štirn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fast recovery is desirable in the performance of competitive sports. Foam rolling, a type of self-massage, has been shown to lower perceived ratings of fatigue, but physiological effects of foam rolling on short-term recovery have not been explored to date. The purpose of this study was to provide the preliminary data on the effects of self-massage via foam rolling on the recovery of muscle contractile function. Ten participants visited the laboratory on two occasions to perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions on a knee extension machine at 70% of 1 repetition maximum. This was followed either by foam rolling (intervention group) or passive rest (control group) for a period of ninety seconds, in a randomized order. Measures of muscle contractile function were performed prior to exercise, immediately following exercise, and after the control/intervention procedure. Main outcome variables included maximum voluntary contraction and response of the relaxed vastus lateralis muscle to a single electrical stimuli followed by two sets of double stimuli (10 Hz and 100 Hz, respectively). Both the foam rolling and passive rest promoted small recoveries (effect size = 0.2 – 0.6) on all main outcome variables (5.5 – 16.2 % and 4.7 – 8.3 % after foam rolling and passive rest, respectively) with no differences between them. Foam rolling appears to be equally effective as passive rest for short-term recovery of muscle contractile function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
JournalKinesiologia Slovenica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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