Are you wasting time foam rolling & stretching before lifting weights?

Foam rolling is the gold standard for silliness

Egis R.

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Image by the author

Two things to know going into this:

  • You gotta do the damn warm-up before the workout. We’re talking weight training here, obviously. Nobody cares about Pilates or some equally boring activity. Anywho. Coming into the gym and going straight into your working set is something out of the Middle Ages. It’s silly. You need to increase your core body temperature, improve your range of motion, and decrease muscle stiffness first.
  • Warm-up of most people consists of 5–10 minutes of low-moderate intensity cardio and 5–10 minutes of foam rolling/dynamic or static stretching. Foam rolling, by the way, ​​is the goofiest-looking shit ever — spikes, different colors, shapes, sizes, and densities. Can you explain this?

And I’d argue that you don’t need any of that in your warm-up. You definitely don’t need static stretching where you stretch your muscle for about 30 seconds as it has negative effects on subsequent strength performances.

And, as a recent systematic review with meta-analysis found, you don’t need foam rolling too because it pretty much does absolutely fuck all.

The study looked at 38 studies comparing the effects of stretching and foam rolling with several other interventions — walking, vibration, cycling, calisthenics, strength training, electrical stimulation, heat package passive warm-up, and cryotherapy — on a range of motion (ROM) improvements:

Foam rolling and stretching do not provide superior acute flexibility and stiffness improvements compared to any other warm-up intervention: A systematic review with meta-analysis
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The researchers found no significant difference between stretching or foam rolling and any other intervention with regard to acute effects on ROM or stiffness.

They concluded that:

For coaches or therapists who are aiming to acutely increase flexibility or decrease stiffness, it seems there is no need to specifically or exclusively perform foam rolling or stretching.
Image by the author

Here’s my take regarding this goofy-looking cylinder aka foam roller: It’s pretty stupid and it makes your workout take longer. I could go on dissing foam rolling for…

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Egis R.

I’m Egis, an online weight loss coach who has heightened BS sensors for fitness & nutrition. Only evidence-based & sustainable fat loss. www.absscience.com