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Purpose: Self-myofascial release (SMFR) is a type of self-massage that is becoming popular among athletes. However, SMFR’s effects on running performance have not yet been investigated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of SMFR on the cost of running (Cr). In addition, the authors evaluated the effects of SMFR on lower-limb muscle power. Methods: Cr and lower-limb muscle power during squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) were measured before (PRE), immediately after (POST), and 3 h after (POST 3h) an SMFR protocol (experimental condition). In the control-condition testing session, the same measurements were performed without undergoing the SMFR protocol. Experimental and control conditions were tested in a randomized order. Results: Cr at POST trended to increase compared with PRE (+6.2% [8.3%], P = .052), whereas at POST 3h, Cr was restored to PRE values (+0.28% [9.5%], P = .950). In the experimental condition, no significant effect of time was observed for maximal power exerted during SJ. By contrast, maximal power exerted during CMJ at POST and at POST 3h was significantly higher than that observed at PRE (+7.9% [6.3%], P = .002 and +10.0% [8.7%], P = .004, respectively). The rate of force development measured during CMJ also increased after SMFR, reaching statistical significance at 200 ms from force onset at POST 3h (+38.9%, P = .024). Conclusions: An acute use of foam rollers for SMFR performed immediately prior to running may negatively affect endurance running performance, but its use should be added before explosive motor performances that include stretch-shortening cycles.
Giovanelli, Vaccari, Floreani, Biasutti, and Lazzer are with the Dept of Medical Area, and Giovanelli, Vaccari, Floreani, Copetti, Biasutti, and Lazzer, the School of Sport Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy. Rejc is with the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center and the Dept of Neurological Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA. Garra is with the Dept of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.