October 2016

Biceps femoris activation decreases following foam rolling of quadriceps

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Foam rolling of the quadriceps muscle is associated with decreased biceps femoris activation, an effect that may be related to pain perception, according to research from the Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada.

In 18 recreationally active individuals (eight women), the investigators used surface electromyography to assess vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and biceps femoris activation during a single-leg landing from a hurdle jump under four foam-rolling conditions: application to the hamstrings only, the quadriceps only, both, and neither.

Biceps femoris activation was significantly lower for the conditions in which foam rolling was applied to the quadriceps. However, the reverse was not true: Foam rolling of the hamstrings had no significant effect on activation of either of the quadriceps muscles.

The authors hypothesized that the perceived pain associated with quadriceps foam rolling, which was significantly greater than that associated with hamstrings foam rolling, may trigger the alteration in antagonist muscle function.

The findings were epublished in September by the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.


Cavanaugh MT, Aboodarda SJ, Hodgson D, Behm DG. Foam rolling of quadriceps decreases biceps femoris activation. J Strength Cond Res 2016 Sep 6. [Epub ahead of print]

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