Foam Roll Reduces Blood Pressure After Exercise

Foam Roll Reduces Blood Pressure After Exercise

admin Blog, Dr. John Mullen, Latest&Greatest, Training Leave a Comment

Hypertension (HTN), characterized by increased blood pressure (BP), is quantitatively the most important risk factor for premature cardiovascular disease (CVD). Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a type of myofascial release technique which incorporates elements of massage to reduce soft tissue pain, inflammation, and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).


A total of 15 (M = 8, F = 7) healthy subjects between the ages of 18 and 27 years were recruited. During the FR trial, subjects performed FR on a (6 inches diameter × 36 inches length) uniform polystyrene high-density roller (OPTP, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA). Subjects completed 10 SMR repetitions per bodily target area followed by 1 minute of rest. Each repetition consisted of moving the target tissue across the roller in a fluid motion at a rate of 2 seconds inferior and 2 seconds superior as determined by a metronome. SMR was performed on the:

  • Adductors
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Iliotibial Band
  • Gastrocnemius
  • Upper Back
  • Lower Back

Blood pressure, heart rate and heart rate variability were measured.


Baseline parameters between the FR and CON trials were not significantly different. There were significant (p < 0.05) trial-by-time interactions for SBP, DBP, nLF, nHF, and nLF/nHF. There were significant increases (p < 0.01) in nHF at post-10 and post-30 for the FR trial, whereas no changes were observed from baseline after the control trial. In addition, there were significant reductions (p < 0.05) in SBP, DBP, nLF, and nLF/nHF at post-10 and post-30 for the FR trial, whereas no changes from baseline were observed after the control trial. There were no significant changes in HR, TP, and RMSSD after the FR or control trials. No significant correlations were observed between changes in HRV parameters and BP in both the FR and control trials.


The main findings of this study were that a bout of SMR using a foam roller produced a decreased sympathovagal balance in young normotensive subjects. The FR session also resulted in reductions in BP at 10 and 30 minutes postintervention when compared with baseline.

The results of this study suggest that an acute session of FR in normotensive young individuals produced a decrease in sympathovagal balance during a 30-minute postintervention period due to concomitant increased parasympathetic and decreased sympathetic activities. In addition, our intervention elicited important hypotensive effects at 10 and 30 minutes postexercise. Further research aimed at investigating HRV indices and BP responses using longer recovery periods after an acute FR session, as well as the adaptations of these variables to chronic FR, are clearly warranted.

Practical Implication

FR may be an effective recovery tool for swimmers, as it provides a hypotensive effect for 10 and 30 minutes postexercise. Coaches should consider using this as a recovery tool after workouts. Consider purchasing mobility for swimmers for more information on foam rolling.


  1. Lastova K, Nordvall M, Walters-Edwards M, Allnutt A, Wong A.Cardiac Autonomic and Blood Pressure Responses to an Acute Foam Rolling Session. J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Oct;32(10):2825-2830. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002562.

Gary John Mullen Swimming Science Physical TherapyDr. John Mullen


Dr. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS is a World renowned expert and speaker in sports training and rehabilitation. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at USC, as well as the Josette Antonelli Division Service Scholarship, Order of the Golden Cane, and the Order of Areté. At USC, he also performed research on strength training and rehabilitation. Dr. John has worked with multiple professional and Olympic athletes, helping them earn Olympic medals.

His dedication to research and individualization spurred him to open COR in 2011. Since 2011, Dr. John has been featured in Gizmodo, Motherboard, Stack Magazine, and much more.

He has worked with the numerous colleges and teams regarding rehab and performance. Before his Doctoral program, Dr. John swam on an athletic scholarship at Purdue University.

At Purdue, Dr. John was an Academic Honorable Mention All-American and was awarded the Red Mackey Award and R. O. Papenguh Award. He also won the Purdue Undergraduate business plan and elevator pitch competition, as well as 1st prize with the Indiana Soy Bean Alliance.

Dr. John was born in Centerville, Ohio and was a 24-time high school All-American Swimmer. Dr. John is still a swimmer and holds a Masters Swimming World and Pacific Swimming Record.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.