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Ask Scott: What’s More Effective, Foam Rolling Or Stretching?

  • By Competitor Running
  • Published Oct. 18, 2011

Q.

Hi Scott,

If you had a choice, what would say would be more effective after running, foam rolling or stretching? Many people dealing with time constraints would like to know what would be more beneficial. (I know practicing both would be ideal).

Thanks for taking the time to answer!

Best,

Patrick

A.

Patrick,

Both foam rolling and stretching can be beneficial for runners and it is hard to pick a winner in the effectiveness department. The best way to find out which one might be more beneficial would be to have a physical therapist or massage therapist determine if muscle and tendon flexibility or myofascial restrictions are more of an issue for your body.

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If both need work–like is the case for many runners–I would recommend alternating stretching and foam rolling due to time constraints. If you dedicate foam rolling 2-3 times per week and stretching 2-3 times per week you should be covered without gobbling up your precious time.

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For time-efficient stretching I recommend the Active Isolated Stetching technique and 1-2 minute or longer prolonged static stretching when a muscle group is extremely tight. If you have a muscle group that is tight, focus on stretching that area and foam rolling the others to be efficient.

Scott

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