Listed in Issue 262


BRADBURY-SQUIRES and COLLEAGUES, 1. School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Canada set out to determine the effects of applying a roller massager for 20 and 60 seconds on knee-joint ROM and dynamic muscular performance.


Roller massagers are used as a recovery and rehabilitative tool to initiate muscle relaxation and improve range of motion (ROM) and muscular performance. However, research demonstrating such effects is lacking.


Design: Randomized controlled clinical trial; Setting: University laboratory; Patients Or Other Participants: Ten recreationally active men (age = 26.6 ± 5.2 years, height = 175.3 ± 4.3 cm, mass = 84.4 ± 8.8 kg); Intervention(S): Participants performed 3 randomized experimental conditions separated by 24 to 48 hours. In condition 1 (5 repetitions of 20 seconds) and condition 2 (5 repetitions of 60 seconds), they applied a roller massager to the quadriceps muscles. Condition 3 served as a control condition in which participants sat quietly; Main Outcome Measure(S): Visual analog pain scale, electromyography (EMG) of the vastus lateralis (VL) and biceps femoris during roller massage and lunge, and knee-joint ROM.


We found no differences in pain between the 20-second and 60-second roller-massager conditions. During 60 seconds of roller massage, pain was 13.5% (5.7 ± 0.70) and 20.6% (6.2 ± 0.70) greater at 40 seconds and 60 seconds, respectively, than at 20 seconds (P < .05). During roller massage, VL and biceps femoris root mean square (RMS) EMG was 8% and 7%, respectively, of RMS EMG recorded during maximal voluntary isometric contraction. Knee-joint ROM was 10% and 16% greater in the 20-second and 60-second roller-massager conditions, respectively, than the control condition (P < .05). Finally, average lunge VL RMS EMG decreased as roller-massage time increased (P < .05).


Roller massage was painful and induced muscle activity, but it increased knee-joint ROM and neuromuscular efficiency during a lunge.


Bradbury-Squires DJ1, Noftall JC, Sullivan KM, Behm DG, Power KE, Button DC. Roller-massager application to the quadriceps and knee-joint range of motion and neuromuscular efficiency during a lunge. J Athl Train. 50(2):133-40. Feb 2015. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.5.03. Epub Nov 21 2014.

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