Sports Massage for Cyclists

Get your legs moving smoothly with Sports Massage Therapy at Lilliput Health in Poole, Dorset!

Research from Chukyo University in Japan demonstrated that a ten-minute massage after a hard workout lowered cyclists‘ perceived leg fatigue and increased power. Sports massage at Lilliput Health is one of the most important tools that make a successful cyclist, yet it is often overlooked. For a competitive cyclist regular massage is almost as important as riding.

Everyone recognizes the heavy feeling in the legs caused by lactic acid – the metabolic waste product produced by the body when exercising hard. Although, lactic acid is naturally removed from the muscles via the blood, it can take up to several days to leave the system depending on fitness level, and until then, it pools in the muscles, leaving them heavy, sore and unresponsive feeling.

The primary causes of muscle soreness are:

1. Mechanical damage

Over-loading muscles, by increasing riding volume or intensity, causes microscopic tears in muscle fibres, along with inflammation and misaligned fibres.

2. Free-radicals

These unstable molecules damage muscle cells; and the more overloaded the body, the more it generates free radicals.

3. Cortisol response

Released when training hard, cortisol increases the rate of muscle-protein breakdown and restricts transport of amino acids (the building blocks of muscle).

Much of the mechanical damage of muscle soreness can be relieved through gentle movement. The day after a hard ride, going for a 60-minute spin, swim or walk, will start to loosen tight muscles and improve the circulation. The healing process can be accelerated by more direct techniques such as massage and stretching.

Sports massage therapy can alleviate muscle soreness, by helping to:

  • Relieve muscle soreness
  • Promote muscle repair and growth
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve circulation
  • Remove waste products

By increasing blood circulation, massage helps flush lactic acid out of tired, strained muscles much more quickly, meaning faster recovery and better performance. Joe Friel, author of The Cyclist’s Training Bible highly recommends using deep tissue massage as a recovery technique. Deep tissue massage helps relieve, as well as prevent, the incidence of painful muscle cramps. In addition, it helps soft-tissue recover from over-use injuries, such as tendonitis, by reducing swelling, delivering nutrients to the tissues and realigning muscle fibers – something that simple stretching can’t always achieve. Serious/competitive cyclists are recommended to have deep tissue massage massage at least every two weeks. However, if a muscle is injured, deep massage is not recommended for 48 – 72 hours.  Even if you’re not racing or more of a social cyclist, regular maintenance massage every few weeks is a key component to keeping muscles and joints healthy and maintaining flexibility.