Foam rolling is always step one in our preparation phase before a workout. Our goal pre-workout is to prepare the tissue for the stresses that are about to be applied. Addressing the length tension relationships of the tissue and ligaments allows for better mobility and form during all exercises the athlete will perform during their workout.
If the tissue is stressed optimally, the resulting adaptation is positive. If the tissue is overstressed by inappropriate volume (too many reps), speed of lengthening (too fast), or inappropriate overload (too much weight) the tissue response will shift from positive to negative. Although tissue soreness is considered normal, we must acknowledge that there is an ideal amount of that normal response, and the response should be limited to the muscle tissue and not be present in the connective tissue. In other words, sore glutes would be ok, but sore knees or shoulders are definitely not ok.
We must consider the effects that contact sports have on tissue as well. Muscle soreness and tissue damage can be the result of impacts to the tissue instead of the planned application of stress. This tissue damage must also be mitigated, not just by time. It is important that tissue maintain its ability to deform properly. Loss of this tissue deformation ability results in what is called a stress riser. These stress risers increase the risk of the athlete getting injured later.
I guess the big takeaway point here is that many athletes around the world are foam rolling every day and getting good results. I think it is important for us to look at the positive result it is giving people and embrace it. It works so get yourself a roller and start IMPROVING the way you move TODAY!