Does Foam Rolling Improve Your Workouts?

It's important to prioritize recovery, but the benefits of foam rolling might not be what you think.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. No one likes to feel tricked, especially about their health. That’s why every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness with quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The real benefits of foam rolling

  • Healthy Lies

  • Arnold wisdom

  • The friendship test

Arnold’s Podcast

Want more stories from Arnold? Every day, Arnold’s Pump Club Podcast opens with a story, perspective, and wisdom from Arnold that you won’t find in the newsletter. And, you’ll hear a recap of the day’s items. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Real Benefits of Foam Rolling

Does reducing soreness mean you’ll have better workouts? The latest research might surprise you.

A recent study suggests foam rolling helps with pain relief but doesn’t necessarily boost workout performance.

Scientists analyzed participants who performed challenging workouts and then tested three different types of recovery: good old-fashioned rest, light cardio (low-intensity cycling), and foam rolling. 

While foam rolling reduced muscle pain and soreness the most, it did not improve strength, power, or agility.

If you had to rank-order the recovery techniques, foam rolling was most effective, followed by light cardio and rest. This isn’t the first time that research has found that foam rolling didn’t improve workout performance. But the same can also be said for other recovery methods, such as stretching, which also doesn’t appear to make much difference

That doesn’t mean there’s no value to foam rolling or other types of recovery. Research suggests that focusing on recovery can help with injury prevention. And less pain makes your body feel better, which might play an important role in helping you stay consistent with your workouts.

Just as important, it might be time to reconsider your workouts if you’re always feeling beat up and sore. New plans tend to cause soreness, but your body should adapt. If you’re chasing soreness, you might be adding unnecessary fatigue, which could result in poor recovery, and ultimately limit your results.

Healthy Lies

From Adam: I’ve known Arnold for 12 years, and one of his best lessons is be curious. Arnold’s curiosity and hunger served him well. It brought him into incredible positions and opportunities.

So when your curiosity leads you down an uncharted path, don’t be afraid to go where there are challenges and do what others haven’t. 

My curiosity led me to investigate how we spend more and more on wellness, diets, and magic pills...and yet we are becoming less healthy. The wellness industry is worth an estimated $4.5 trillion, and yet 75 percent of people in the US are either overweight or obese. 

Ever wonder why? Beneath it all is a story that represents why we write this newsletter — because you deserve the truth, accurate information that makes you healthier, and less negativity and manipulation.

Here’s the first-look at the teaser for Healthy Lies. It’s a documentary that takes a deeper look at the dirty secrets of the wellness industry.

Arnold Wisdom

Today, it’s easier than ever to broadcast your opinion to everybody. Unfortunately, because of the way social media works, it’s the negative opinions that get the most love. People love to complain or criticize. It doesn’t take much effort and is an easy way to get likes.

Don’t give in. I’m asking you guys to take the harder road. Try to understand other people. Fight back against negativity. And find your empathy. Because if we want a more positive world, it’s our job to build it.

If you don’t believe me, research suggests that empathy is one of the strongest predictors of human connection. And if you want to be healthier and happier, read the next item about why connection is so important.

The Friendship Test

When was the last time you saw a friend? Has it been more than a week? If so, it might be time to check-in. 

Research suggests that social connection can help reduce your risk of dementia, heart disease, and stroke. 

And it’s not just disease prevention. The 85-year study found that social connection is the strongest determinant of happiness and well-being. And, as we’ve shared before, loneliness can increase your risk of death from any cause by more than 25 percent. 

In fact, according to the research, good relationships are more important to happiness than your health, fitness, diet, career, or level of success.

The study has followed teenagers since the 1940s and found that a great indicator of health later in life was the strength of connection to friends and loved ones. That’s because loneliness is a stressor. It’s not that you need many friends, but having strong relationships where you share experiences and feel close is one of the healthiest things you can do. 

The researchers suggest connecting with someone at least once a week, whether a friend, significant other, or family member. Consider it your 7-day friendship check-up. Just like you want to walk each week or resistance train, it’s good to build your “connection” muscles.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell