Context: Recent research has underpinned the occurrence of nonlocal exercise effects. For instance, self-myofascial release (SMR) of the plantar fascia increases hamstring extensibility. A possible mechanism consists in a mechanical force transmission across myofascial chains. However, as the degree of structural continuity in these chains decreases with age, the magnitude of the above described remote effects might also be reduced throughout a lifespan. Objective: To examine the age dependency of nonlocal exercise effects following plantar fascia SMR. Design: Regression experimental study. Setting: General population. Participants: 168 healthy participants (M age = 45  y, 85 males). Intervention: One 120 s bout of plantar foot SMR, performed in standing position. Main Outcomes Measure: Hamstring extensibility was assessed using sit and reach testing. Relative pre–post differences were classified as no improvement, clinically nonrelevant improvement, or clinically relevant improvement according to previously published data. The age dependency of the effects was calculated by means of multinomial stepwise logistic regression. If the latter revealed other factors than age to affect treatment effectivity, their effect was eliminated using partial correlation. Results: SMR increased hamstring extensibility by 10.1% (pre: 24.9 [9.7] cm, post: 27.4 [9.3] cm, P < .001). About 99 participants (58.9%) attained a clinically relevant change. Multinomial logistic regression demonstrated no influence of sex, amount of physical activity, height, body mass index, and time of day, but a significant impact of baseline flexibility and age (Nagelkerke’s r 2 = .32, P < .001). Post hoc partial correlation analysis demonstrated that age, corrected for baseline flexibility, had a small to moderate association with treatment effectivity (r = .29, P < .001). Conclusions: Plantar foot SMR increases hamstring extensibility, which is explained by age to a small degree. Additional research is warranted to delineate the substrate of remote exercise effects. Besides mechanical force transmission, cortical adaptations might also represent the driving factor.
Jan Wilke, Kristin Kalo, Daniel Niederer, Lutz Vogt and Winfried Banzer
Jan Wilke, Philipp Niemeyer, Daniel Niederer, Robert Schleip and Winfried Banzer
Context: Foam rolling (FR) increases joint range of motion (RoM), but the optimal training parameters are unknown. Objective: To investigate the effect of FR velocity on RoM and tissue stiffness. Design: Randomized, controlled crossover trial. Setting: University. Participants: A total of 17 healthy, physically active adults (10 females; 25  y). Interventions: (1) Four 45-second high-velocity FR of the anterior thigh (FAST-FR), (2) four 45-second slow-velocity FR of the anterior thigh (SLOW-FR), and (3) inactive control. Outcome Measures: Maximal knee-flexion RoM (ultrasonic movement analysis) and anterior thigh tissue stiffness (semielectronic tissue compliance meter) assessed pre, immediately post (T0), as well as 5 (T5) and 10 (T10) minutes postintervention. Statistical analysis included Friedman tests with adjusted post hoc comparisons (Wilcoxon tests). Results: According to omnibus testing, RoM remained unchanged in all 3 conditions and at all time points (P > .05), while differences were found for tissue stiffness (P < .05). Post hoc tests revealed significant decreases following FAST-FR (T5: −17%, T10: −24%; P < .05) and SLOW-FR (T10: −15%; P < .05). The observed stiffness changes were significant in comparison with control (P < .01), but no difference was found between the 2 FR conditions (P > .05). Conclusions: FR of the anterior thigh decreases myofascial stiffness regardless of velocity. The lack of effects on RoM contrasts findings of recent literature and warrants further investigation.