T Nation

"Foam Rolling Gone Wrong" Article

It is a shame that there is no easy way to comment on articles like we used to be able to. That is why I have come to T-Nation less and less but when I saw this article I had to comment.

This article is about as inaccurate as they come. In the part subtitled: The Science, The Math, and The Truth the author attempts to show that the pressures exerted on a cell. Well, taking a single cell and popping it, is not the same at all as putting a bunch of cells together in a supportive matrix called flesh…which has all sorts of structural tissues designed to protect cells. It also discounts and ignores the body’s ability to generate a stronger tissue matrix in response to a training stimulus. For instance we know if you take a person that wears shoes all the time that they will have a hard time walking on gravel…over time though their feat adapt and the tissues get stronger and no longer sustain damage. The body does this by building calluses yes, but also deeper inside the supporting structures get tougher; and this is only one example. If you use this author’s reasoning then we would not even be able to walk without sustaining damage to our feet…even with shoes or sandals on.

On a personal, and yes an anecdotal level, when I first started foam rolling it was terribly painful. Over time it did not hurt at all, but seemed to get “loosened up”. I then started to use a PVC pipe - and yes it hurt…but again over time it does not hurt at all and gives me a feeling of being loosened up. I have used it for a good 6 or 7 years now with no issues at all. Surely if it was causing me such damage then over this period of time it would be noticeable. Instead what I have noticed is that my spider veins are gone, I bruise less easy in those areas and if I get slapped or whacked it doesn’t hurt so much. And if I perform an insane shoulder-neck workout or have an extremely rough wrestling opponent, and my neck is stiff, a lacrosse ball is all I need to return to normal.

So in short: this article is bogus.

1 Like

Ha indeed.

Using the idea of popping a single cell is as stupid as saying never lay on a bed of nails, it will kill you, look how a single nail will puncture the skin.

True. By that logic, squatting with a heavy barbell on your back would destroy all the muscle in that area and it obviously doesn’t. Perhaps there are inappropriate ways to use a foam roller that can cause damage, but it would hurt so much that you would know right away that something is wrong.