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Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015 Apr;10(2):203-12.

Comparing the effects of self-myofascial release with static stretching on ankle range-of-motion in adolescent athletes.

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Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Strength and Conditioning Research Limited, Holborn, London, United Kingdom.



Increased flexibility is often desirable immediately prior to sports performance. Static stretching (SS) has historically been the main method for increasing joint range-of-motion (ROM) acutely. However, SS is associated with acute reductions in performance. Foam rolling (FR) is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR) that also increases joint ROM acutely but does not seem to reduce force production. However, FR has never previously been studied in resistance-trained athletes, in adolescents, or in individuals accustomed to SMR.


To compare the effects of SS and FR and a combination of both (FR+SS) of the plantarflexors on passive ankle dorsiflexion ROM in resistance-trained, adolescent athletes with at least six months of FR experience.


Eleven resistance-trained, adolescent athletes with at least six months of both resistance-training and FR experience were tested on three separate occasions in a randomized cross-over design. The subjects were assessed for passive ankle dorsiflexion ROM after a period of passive rest pre-intervention, immediately post-intervention and after 10, 15, and 20 minutes of passive rest. Following the pre-intervention test, the subjects randomly performed either SS, FR or FR+SS. SS and FR each comprised 3 sets of 30 seconds of the intervention with 10 seconds of inter-set rest. FR+SS comprised the protocol from the FR condition followed by the protocol from the SS condition in sequence.


A significant effect of time was found for SS, FR and FR+SS. Post hoc testing revealed increases in ROM between baseline and post-intervention by 6.2% for SS (p < 0.05) and 9.1% for FR+SS (p < 0.05) but not for FR alone. Post hoc testing did not reveal any other significant differences between baseline and any other time point for any condition. A significant effect of condition was observed immediately post-intervention. Post hoc testing revealed that FR+SS was superior to FR (p < 0.05) for increasing ROM.


FR, SS and FR+SS all lead to acute increases in flexibility and FR+SS appears to have an additive effect in comparison with FR alone. All three interventions (FR, SS and FR+SS) have time courses that lasted less than 10 minutes.




Ankle; dorsiflexion; flexibility; self‐massage; stretching


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