31 Jan Sports massage to improve your training
With the MetaSprint Series Aquathlon just weeks away, Janice Lim, Sports Massage Therapist and Lymphatic Drainage Expert at City Osteopathy and Physiotherapy explains how regular sports massage sessions can help your training.
What is a sports massage?
Janice: Sports massage is a deep tissue massage, tailored to your needs. It is muscle and movement specific, taking into account the way you move during your training as well as your overall posture. It releases tension, improves circulation and reduces muscular waste products which build up during training.
When should I schedule a sports massage?
Janice: During normal training, a monthly sports massage session will improve flexibility and ensure optimal muscle extension and contraction. In the buildup to an event, I recommend a sports massage 4 to 7 days before your race. This will release tension whilst allowing enough time for your body to get over any soreness induced by the massage. If you can only fit in a massage 1-2 days before the event, make sure it’s a light one, with a focus on stretching and relaxation. At this point, your goal is to loosen up any last bits of tension. If you’re lucky enough to have a sports massage therapist onsite on race day, a quick session right before the start will stimulate the circulation, warm up the muscles and get you mentally pumped to go.
What about after the race?
Janice: Recovery is as important as training. Immediately after the race, your muscles are likely to be sore, tender and inflamed and, at this point, you should avoid sports massage. Sports massage is much more effective and beneficial 2 to 3 days after an event, to work into the deeper layers of the muscles to get them loose and supple again.
Do you have any tips for the Aquathlon participants?
Janice: With swimmers, the areas to focus on are the shoulders, lower back and neck. If you tend to tilt your neck too much when swimming, rather than using the whole body or if you unintentionally arch your lower back, tension can build up and impact flexibility. For runners, it’s the legs, the iliotibial band and the shins. You need to make sure that tightness doesn’t build up in the calves. Sports massage can make you more mindful of your movements, to address any problems at the root.