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1.  ROLLER MASSAGER IMPROVES RANGE OF MOTION OF PLANTAR FLEXOR MUSCLES WITHOUT SUBSEQUENT DECREASES IN FORCE PARAMETERS 
Background:
Limited dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM) has been linked to lower limb injuries. Improving limited ankle ROM may decrease injury rates. Static stretching (SS) is ubiquitously used to improve ROM but can lead to decreases in force and power if performed prior to the activity. Thus, alternatives to improve ROM without performance decrements are needed.
Objectives/Purpose:
To compare the effects of SS and self massage (SM) with a roller massage of the calf muscles on ankle ROM, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force F100 (force produced in the first 100 ms of the MVC), electromyography (EMG of soleus and tibialis anterior) characteristics of the plantar flexors, and a single limb balance test.
Methods:
Fourteen recreationally trained subjects were tested on two separate occasions in a randomized cross‐over design. After a warm up, subjects were assessed for passive dorsiflexion ROM, MVC, and a single‐limb balance test with eyes closed. The same three measurements were repeated after 10 minutes (min) of rest and prior to the interventions. Following the pre‐test, participants randomly performed either SS or SM for 3 sets of 30 seconds (s) with 10s of rest between each set. At one and 10 min post‐interventions the participants repeated the three measurements, for a third and fourth cycle of testing.
Results:
Roller massage increased and SS decreased maximal force output during the post‐test measurements, with a significant difference occurring between the two interventions at 10 min post‐test (p < 0.05, ES = 1.23, 8.2% difference). Both roller massage (p < 0.05, ES = 0.26, ~4%) and SS (p < 0.05, ES = 0.27, ~5.2%) increased ROM immediately and 10 min after the interventions. No significant effects were found for balance or EMG measures.
Conclusions:
Both interventions improved ankle ROM, but only the self‐massage with a roller massager led to small improvements in MVC force relative to SS at 10 min post‐intervention. These results highlight the effectiveness of a roller massager relative to SS. These results could affect the type of warm‐up prior to activities that depend on high force and sufficient ankle ROM.
Level of Evidence:
2c
PMCID: PMC3924613  PMID: 24567860
Dorsiflexion; electromyography; flexibility; self‐massage; strength
2.  THE EFFECT OF DOUBLE VERSUS SINGLE OSCILLATING EXERCISE DEVICES ON TRUNK AND LIMB MUSCLE ACTIVATION 
Purpose/Background:
Proper strengthening of the core and upper extremities is important for muscular health, performance, and rehabilitation. Exercise devices have been developed that attempt to disrupt the center of gravity in order to activate the trunk stabilizing muscles. The objective of this study was to analyze the trunk and shoulder girdle muscle activation with double and single oscillating exercise devices (DOD and SOD respectively) in various planes.
Methods:
Twelve male subjects performed three interventions using both devices under randomized conditions: single-handed vertical orientation of DOD and SOD to produce 1) medio-lateral oscillation in the frontal plane 2) dorso-ventral oscillation in the sagittal plane and 3) single-handed horizontal orientation for superior and inferior oscillation in the transverse plane. Electromyographic (EMG) activity during the interventions of the anterior deltoid, triceps brachii, biceps brachii, forearm flexors as well as lower abdominal and back stabilizer muscles was collected, and were normalized to maximal voluntary contractions. A two way repeated measures ANOVA (2x3) was conducted to assess the influence of the devices and movement planes on muscle activation.
Results:
The DOD provided 35.9%, 40.8%, and 52.3% greater anterior deltoid, transverse abdominus (TA)/internal oblique (IO) and lumbo-sacral erector spinae (LSES) activation than did the SOD respectively. Effect size calculations revealed that these differences were of moderate to large magnitude (0.86, 0.48, and 0.61 respectively). There were no significant differences in muscular activation achieved between devices for the triceps brachii, biceps brachii and forearm flexor muscles. Exercise in the transverse plane resulted in 30.5%, 29.5%, and 19.5% greater activation than the sagittal and 21.8%, 17.2%, and 26.3% greater activation than the frontal plane for the anterior deltoid, TA/IO and LSES respectively.
Conclusions:
A DOD demonstrated greater muscular activity for trunk and shoulder muscle activation but does not provide an advantage for limb activation. Overall, oscillating the devices in the transverse plane provided greater muscular activation of the anterior deltoid, TA/IO and LSES than use of the devices during frontal or sagittal plane movements.
Level of evidence:
2c: Outcomes research.
PMCID: PMC3812839  PMID: 24175124
Bodyblade®; Core musculature; Flexbar®; Trunk musculature; Shoulder girdle musculature
3.  ROLLER‐MASSAGER APPLICATION TO THE HAMSTRINGS INCREASES SIT‐AND‐REACH RANGE OF MOTION WITHIN FIVE TO TEN SECONDS WITHOUT PERFORMANCE IMPAIRMENTS 
Background:
Foam rollers are used to mimic myofascial release techniques and have been used by therapists, athletes, and the general public alike to increase range of motion (ROM) and alleviate pressure points. The roller‐massager was designed to serve a similar purpose but is a more portable device that uses the upper body rather than body mass to provide the rolling force.
Objectives/Purpose:
A roller massager was used in this study to examine the acute effects on lower extremity ROM and subsequent muscle length performance.
Methods:
Seven male and ten female volunteers took part in 4 trials of hamstrings roller‐massager rolling (1 set – 5 seconds, 1 set – 10 seconds, 2 sets – 5 seconds, and 2 sets – 10 seconds) at a constant pressure (13 kgs) and a constant rate (120 bpm). A group of 9 participants (three male, six female) also performed a control testing session with no rolling intervention. A sit and reach test for ROM, along with a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force and muscle activation of the hamstrings were measured before and after each session of rolling.
Results:
A main effect for testing time (p<0.0001) illustrated that the use of the roller‐massager resulted in a 4.3% increase in ROM. There was a trend (p=0.069) for 10s of rolling duration to increase ROM more than 5s rolling duration. There were no significant changes in MVC force or MVC EMG activity after the rolling intervention.
Conclusions:
The use of the roller‐massager had no significant effect on muscle strength, and can provide statistically significant increases in ROM, particularly when used for a longer duration.
PMCID: PMC3679629  PMID: 23772339
Flexibility; hamstrings; performance; roller‐massager; self myofascial release; stretching
4.  A COMPARISON OF TOPICAL MENTHOL TO ICE ON PAIN, EVOKED TETANIC AND VOLUNTARY FORCE DURING DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS 
Purpose/Background:
Pain can adversely affect muscle functioning by inhibiting muscle contractions. Delayed onset muscle soreness was used as a tool to ascertain whether a topical menthol-based analgesic or ice was more effective at reducing pain and permitting greater muscular voluntary and evoked force.
Methods:
Sixteen subjects were randomized to receive either a topical gel containing 3.5% menthol or topical application of ice to the non-dominant elbow flexors two days following the performance of an exercise designed to induce muscle soreness. Two days later, DOMS discomfort was treated with a menthol based analgesic or ice. Maximum voluntary contractions and evoked tetanic contractions of the non-dominant elbow flexors were measured at baseline prior to inducing muscle soreness (T1), two days following inducing DOMS after 20 (T2), 25 (T3) and 35 (T4) minutes of either menthol gel or ice therapy. Pain perception using a 10-point visual analog scale was also measured at these four data collection points. Treatment analysis included a 2 way repeated measures ANOVA (2 × 4).
Results:
Delayed onset muscle soreness decreased (p = 0.04) voluntary force 17.1% at T2 with no treatment effect. Tetanic force was 116.9% higher (p<0.05) with the topical analgesic than ice. Pain perception at T2 was significantly (p=0.02) less with the topical analgesic versus ice.
Conclusions:
Compared to ice, the topical menthol-based analgesic decreased perceived discomfort to a greater extent and permitted greater tetanic forces to be produced.
Level of Evidence:
Level 2b
PMCID: PMC3362986  PMID: 22666646
analgesia; cryotherapy; delayed onset muscle soreness; menthol; self-reported pain

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