Leg days are probably one of the most challenging and grueling body parts to train, and if the actual weight training sessions aren’t bad enough, the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) experienced post leg day is enough to make even a grown man cry. But according to Australian sports scientists, there may be some good news for fitness fans. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that giving yourself a massage with a foam roller post-workout may help to reduce muscle soreness and slightly speed up recovery.

Their experiment was conducted on 8 fit and physically active students. The scientists got the students to perform ten sets of squats to failure on two separate occasions. On the first occasion, the students did nothing after their workout but on the second occasion, the students performed a series of massages on their upper legs using a foam roller post-workout. They then repeated the foam roller massage 24 and 48 hours later. The massage sessions took roughly 20 minutes to complete. In order to gauge muscle soreness, the researchers measured how hard they could press the subjects’ leg muscle before the pain became unbearable. Without the foam roller massage, the pressure the scientists were able to utilise was a fair amount less than when the subjects used the foam roller. This was especially noticeable on the first and second day.

The scientists also got the subjects to perform long jumps prior to their training session and then 24, 48 and 72 hours thereafter. Post-workout the subjects found the long jumps more difficult as their muscles were sore from training. With that said, the scientists did note that recovery was faster when the subjects used foam roller massage. This showed in their enhanced long jump distances in the period following their workout. From the study, the scientists were confident that foam roller self-massage is an effective means of helping to bolster the recovery process. “Athletes commonly must train or compete during consecutive days despite discomfort and pain they may have sustained from the previous exercise. At times of severely delayed onset muscle soreness, athletes can experience decrements in physical performance up to and beyond 72 hours post-exercise.” “To combat the adverse effects of

DOMS, a 20-minute bout of foam rolling on a high-density roller immediately post-exercise and every 24 hours thereafter may reduce the likelihood of muscle tenderness and decrements in multijointed dynamic movements.” “Just three 20-minute bouts (60 minutes total) of foam rolling can substantially enhance recovery after DOMS and alleviate muscle tenderness. This form of self-induced massage could benefit athletes seeking a recovery modality that is relatively affordable, easy to perform, time-efficient and that enhances muscular recovery.”

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