It’s sometimes seen as a self-indulgent luxury to ease the aches and pains after a long ride, but a sports massage can offer real benefits to cyclists.
Cycling is a physically demanding sport which can involve hours in the saddle and short recovery periods followed by further long rides. Consequently, many cyclists suffer from overuse injuries. This is often exacerbated by poorly fitting equipment. Although cycling is not a high impact sport like running, there are significant demands placed on the body by the aerodynamic position adopted while riding.
What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a modality of massage therapy that has been developed incorporating remedial techniques to help improve performance, speed recovery and reduce the risk of injury. Sports massage integrates deep tissue massage which will stimulate the muscular & nervous systems. It can be adapted to enhance pre-event preparation & warm-up, to offer assistance during an event and to aid recovery post-event.
How can Sports Massage help?
Any sportsperson places stresses on their body by frequent training and competitions. Therefore it is important to; have rest days, stretch regularly, maintain a healthy diet along with hydration to aid the body’s recovery. However, sometimes more is needed. Sports massage will aid blood circulation by removing waste products from tired muscles combined with stretches to re-lengthen overworked and shortened muscles to help maintain optimal athletic performance.
Pre event massage should be vigorous and warm up the muscles preparing them for action. Specific stretches and other techniques can be used to minimise any ongoing niggles.
Post event massage flushes the muscles through and helps disperse waste products stimulating fresh blood flow. It also helps to stretch and relax muscle fibres reducing muscle soreness. This should help the rider become fresher for the next training session. Post event massage should be relatively light as the body has recently undergone significant stress.
Maintenance massage further assists post ride recovery. Done regularly it leads to greater flexibility and less injuries, allowing the athlete to train more frequently. It keeps them tuned up, able to rest more comfortably and ready for the next ride. Most remedial work on injuries and problems is done during maintenance massage.
It is important that the Sports Massage Therapist gives you an appropriate massage for where you are in your schedule at the time, so communication is paramount.