A massage is great any day of the week, but a sports massage can speed healing from injury, prevent injuries from occurring, and lessen soreness and pain, allowing you to follow a strict training schedule.
What Is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a type of Swedish massage that targets areas that hold tension or are frequently injured in your sport. Focus is usually on glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, shins and lower back. It is a high pressure massage that sometimes can seem slightly painful, but it works the lactic acid out of muscles and loosens tight tissue to make your body less prone to injury or quicker to recover from pain or injuries that have already occurred.
Sports Massage to Prevent Injury
Getting regular sports massages will reduce the occurrence of injury by breaking up lactic acid in the muscle tissue that causes stress or tension, preventing overuse injury (see below). Keeping your muscles in top shape will increase flexibility, not only in muscles, but in tendons and ligaments as well. Flexibility equals safety here. Range of motion is increased over time as the muscles are worked, making it easier for you to maintain good form during your workout sessions.
Sports Massage for Overuse
To help prevent injury and to reduce pain and minor injury from overuse, sports massages are an excellent step after your toughest training session of the week. Athletes and fitness aficionados tend to push themselves to the limit, especially with interval training and repetetive motions, which can cause overuse injuries in the long term. Overuse injuries generally start as soreness and minor injuries like shin splints. Without proper recovery, those shin splints turn into stress fractures.
Your best bet is to see the massage therapist as soon after your workout as possible, preferably the same day. It will reduce post workout pain, called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and keep your muscles at their most flexible state, enabling you to keep your rigorous workout schedule.
Pre-Event Sports Massage
Getting a sports massage before an event is a common way to loosen up muscles and get them ready for the tough task ahead. A quick massage just before the event is used to increase flexibility and circulation, energizing and preparing the muscles.
Sports Massage for Injuries
Let's face it. Sometimes an injury just happens. To avoid risking further injury, training is off limits when you're hurt. However, surprisingly, that may not be the best thing for your muscles. Sports massage is just the thing to keep your muscles moving, and limits the production of scar tissue during your rehabilitation process. Most soft tissue injuries (sprains, strains, tendonitis, etc) can be severely reduced--in pain, scar tissue and recovery time--after receiving a good sports massage.
Whatever your needs for sports massage, it is the perfect compliment to your training schedule!