Massage: The Ultimate Shiok Therapy for Cyclists
Cyclists tend to be in a seated position for a long duration on the road. This results in muscle adaptation in the midst of the cyclical rhythm that the legs undergo. Neck aches and leg soreness are common issues cyclists experience after a ride as they have to look up in a seated crouch position, with their thigh muscles being the main propeller during the ride. Other muscles such as the hamstrings, hip flexors, calf muscles are shortened throughout the ride. Hence resulting in muscle tightness and fatigue. Sports massage is an integral part of the athlete’s which aids in faster recovery of muscles, injury prevention and relaxation of the mental state.
What is a sports massage and how does it help?
Sports massage comprises of various techniques such as deep tissue, trigger points release, myofascial and muscle energy techniques to soothe the ‘muscle-complex’ out after it has been fatigue from the exercises. Sports massages aids in easing out the knots in the muscles by loosening tight muscles, fascia and trigger points physically, thus improving joint range of motion and flexibility. Sports massage helps in increasing blood flow to the fatigue muscles and speeding recovery, through an exchange of nutrients, oxygen to the tired muscle and removal of lactic acid. With that, you are less likely to suffer an injury from micro-tears, ruptures and strains as compared to a fatigue muscles impeded by adhesions and lactic acid.
Though there are no conclusive evidence of the physiological benefits from massage, sports massage helps to boost the psychological mood of an athlete. Phil Burt, the lead physiotherapist for the Great Britain Cycling Team shared that “Riders do like it, they report benefits and it’s part of their post-race or ride recovery and relaxation routine. It is important not to underestimate these slightly intangible and psychological benefits, as they can really make a difference to a rider’s attitude and how they perform.”
Recommendation for massage therapy
Pro cyclists usually get their sports massage after a day of racing to get their muscles soothed out, which allows them to be set up for the next training day. For amateur cyclists, it would be good to have sports massage once or twice a week or fortnightly.
What should you expect?
The intensity of the massage varies to each individual, one should feel a deep form of pressure and strokes on the tight muscles which could be sore. However, one should not be guarding against the pain, if so, the intensity is too great and the therapist should moderate accordingly.
Expect 2 days of soreness in the muscles after the deep tissue massage. Subsequently, you will be able to feel the benefits of the massage. This allows ample time for the soreness in the leg to recover and set you up for the weekend ride.