If scheduling challenges or a tight budget keeps athletes from receiving regular professional massage,
a self-massage routine is essential.
program working with a therapist to keep an athlete pain, illness and
injury free might be one
session a month. Athletes recovering from an
injury, or training at high volume and/or intensity will find greater
benefit with increased frequency (i.e. 2-4 sessions per month). Self
massage can be done every day. Even a minute a day of rolling on
a foam roller can profoundly improve the health of muscle tissue.
Warm up, massage, train, stretch, massage, ice, and rest,
in that order. Simply compressing a muscle with both hands for 1-2 minutes
before or after a workout will flush some blood out, and speed a fresh
supply of nutrients to the tissues. Cupping your hands and tapping,
or making loose fists and lightly pounding (especially effective on
quads) helps loosen the muscles.
There are many products designed to help with self-massage.
Tennis balls (or golf balls) work great for feet and glutes. "The
Stick" is perfect for legs and IT band. The "Back Knobber" will help you reach trigger points
in your back.
performed correctly, it is not possible to receive too much massage! Be
careful not to overstimulate severely fatigues muscles, but do manually
manipulate trouble spots for a minute every day. Your muscles
will be less sore and perform better if you give them a little extra
attention during your most intense training periods. Train hard, train
smart. Rest even harder and smarter.