A person on a blue yoga mat, using a foam roller to help with doms, rolling their

Can foam rolling help with doms

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common condition experienced by athletes and fitness enthusiasts after intense workouts or new exercises. It refers to muscle pain and stiffness that usually sets in within 24-72 hours after a workout, peaking at around 48 hours. DOMS can make it difficult to move and perform daily activities, affecting overall fitness goals. Foam rolling has become a popular technique for relieving muscle soreness, but does it really help with DOMS? In this blog post, we will explore this topic in detail.

Understanding the Mechanisms and Causes of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a condition that many people experience after intense or novel physical activity. DOMS is characterized by muscle soreness, stiffness, and tenderness that can last for several days after exercise.

DOMS is a sign of progress in training. But it also impedes performance and limit one’s ability to train effectively.

To understand if foam rolling does will help to manage DOMS, it is essential to understand the underlying mechanisms and causes.

DOMS is primarily caused by microtrauma to the muscle fibres, which leads to inflammation, swelling, and pain. The microtrauma occurs when muscle fibres are forced to contract eccentrically, meaning the muscle lengthens under load.

Eccentric exercise causes more muscle damage than concentric exercise, where the muscle shortens under load. The damage triggers an inflammatory response that leads to the release of various chemicals, such as cytokines, prostaglandins, and histamines. These chemicals cause pain and swelling in the affected area, leading to the characteristic symptoms of DOMS.

Other factors that contribute to DOMS include:

  • Intensity and duration of exercise
  • Type of exercise
  • Level of fitness
  • Age and gender
  • Genetics

Understanding the mechanisms and causes of DOMS can help individuals tailor their training and recovery strategies to minimize the impact of DOMS and improve overall fitness.

Does foam rolling help DOM’s

Foam rolling has gained popularity as a self-massage technique that can help alleviate muscle soreness and stiffness, in muscles groups such as arms, legs, and back. Foam rolling involves using a cylindrical foam roller to apply pressure to specific muscles or muscle groups. The pressure applied by the foam roller is thought to break up adhesions, increase blood flow, and stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers.

While foam rolling has been widely used as a recovery tool to help with doms, the scientific evidence supporting its efficacy in alleviating DOMS is limited. Some studies suggest that foam rolling may be effective in reducing muscle soreness and improving range of motion, while others have found no significant benefit.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 21 studies published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that foam rolling was effective in reducing DOMS and improving range of motion. However, the authors noted that the quality of evidence was low, and more research is nessecary to confirm the findings.

Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that foam rolling after a workout did not significantly reduce muscle soreness or improve performance compared to a control group.

Overall, the evidence supporting the efficacy of “does foam rolling help with DOMS” is confusing. While some studies suggest that foam rolling may be effective, more high-quality research is necessary to confirm these findings. Nonetheless, foam rolling may still be a useful tool in managing DOMs. It may be worth trying alongside other recovery strategies, such as rest, hydration, and nutrition.

Scientific studies and trials that back this up

Several studies have looked into the effectiveness of foam rolling for reducing DOMS. One study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that foam rolling reduced muscle soreness. It also improved range of motion in the quadriceps muscle after a bout of exercise. Another study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that foam rolling decreased muscle soreness and improved muscle function in the hamstrings.

Overall, the evidence suggests that foam rolling may be effective for reducing DOMS in some individuals, but more research is needed to determine its true effectiveness.

How else can you help DOMS?

In addition to foam rolling, there are several other ways that can help alleviate DOMS:

  1. Rest: Taking a day or two off from exercise can give your muscles time to recover and reduce soreness.
  2. Active recovery: Engaging in low-intensity exercise, such as swimming or yoga, can increase blood flow to the muscles and help with recovery.
  3. Proper nutrition: Eating a balanced diet that includes protein, carbs, and healthy fats can help support muscle recovery and reduce soreness.
  4. Massage: Professional massage or self massage with a foam roller or massage ball can help alleviate muscle soreness and stiffness.
  5. Stretching: Gentle stretching can help improve range of motion and reduce muscle soreness.

Q: How often should I foam roll to reduce DOMS?

A: The frequency of foam rolling depends on individual preferences and needs. Some people may benefit from foam rolling daily, while others may only need to foam roll after particularly intense workouts.

Q: Can foam rolling prevent DOMS?

A: While foam rolling may help reduce DOMS, it is not a fool proof way to prevent it. Proper warm-up, cool-down, and recovery strategies are all important for preventing and reducing DOMS.

Q: Can foam rolling be harmful?

A: Foam rolling is generally safe when done correctly, but it can be harmful if done improperly or if you have certain medical conditions. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise or recovery program, including foam rolling.

Q: Is foam rolling the only way to alleviate DOMS?

A: No, foam rolling is just one of several strategies that can help alleviate DOMS. Rest, active recovery, proper nutrition, massage, and stretching are also effective strategies for reducing muscle soreness and stiffness.


In conclusion, foam rolling may be an effective way to reduce and help DOMS for some individuals. But more research is necessary to determine its true effectiveness. In addition to foam rolling, rest, active recovery, proper nutrition, massage, and stretching are all important strategies for alleviating DOMS.

If you are experiencing persistent or severe muscle soreness, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions or injuries. With the right recovery strategies, you can minimize the impact of DOMS and continue working towards your fitness goals.


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