Sleigh Bells Ringing? Foam Rollers/Balls Vibrating…

December 10, 2018

By James Goodwin, PTA, CSCS

Does anyone you know spend hours upon hours trying to get rid of those nagging trigger points and muscle restrictions without getting the results they want? If so, look no further! The Hyperice Vyper 2.0 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness Roller and Hypersphere Vibrating Therapy Ball are game changers when it comes to self-soft tissue release (and look nice with bows around them).

Typical self-soft tissue release using a traditional (i.e., non-vibrating) foam roller applies only deep pressure to the muscles and soft tissue in an attempt to reduce soreness/pain, reduce tone, increase blood flow, improve range of motion thereby improving tissue health. Research has yet to prove how the latter occurs although many studies suggest physiological responses such as breaking up fascial adhesions (similar to immature scar tissue), decreasing trigger points (taut bands or “knots” of muscle), or stimulating proprioception (nerve endings around a joint for sensing body position). But, as most foam rolling enthusiasts would say, “If it feels good and reduces my pain/stiffness, then who cares how it works?”

Adding vibration during foam rolling with these devices augments the above physiological changes to calm the muscles so you can release tight tissue even better. How it does this is again unknown, and a matter for further research, but is likely due to stimulating additional nerve endings specific to vibration.

These should be used before or after activity/sport for no more than 1-2 minutes per muscle group. It is highly recommended to perform soft tissue release pre-workout/activity to benefit from the reduced tone of, and increased blood flow to, the working muscles. On the other hand, performing self-soft tissue release after exercise helps reduce soreness and speed up the recovery process. As with anything, moderation is key and using a foam roller (vibrating or not) should be used only as needed to refrain from growing “addicted” to using it every single time.

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