Q&A: Foam Roll for Soreness
Q: I was wondering how the foam roller ties in with delayed onset muscle soreness. Is it still beneficial to use the foam roller where it's sore one to two days after a tough workout? — Ryan, Miami, FL
A: Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common symptom associated with intense exercise, especially eccentric muscle actions, like lowering a dumbbell in an arm curl. Researchers have had a difficult time finding a solution that treats DOMS effectively. We utilize regeneration after two days of intense training to assist with recovery from DOMS and fatigue—both mental and physical.
Using the foam roll, active stretching, light cardiovascular activities, and soft tissue massage seem to be most effective at helping with DOMS. The foam roll, along with deep tissue massage, help with inhibiting the muscle to allow a return to normal resting length and flushing the by-products out of the muscle after training.
If the muscle does not return to normal resting length and these by-products sit in the tissues, adhesions will develop over time. The result: A decrease in your mobility. For this reason, foam rolling is an important part of any training program, and although it does not solely treat DOMS, it is a vital part of maintaining optimal neuromuscular function.