After training seriously for about a year, I started to notice that my body felt like it was falling apart. My knee was the first piece of the puzzle. Seemingly out of nowhere, squats, lunges- really anything that required me to bend my knee- caused sharp, intense pain. As the days passed, my knee was bothering so much that I was limping around instead of walking.
My initial thought? I was injured. Never to return to the gym again.
And then a friend suggested I see her Sports Massage Therapist. Minutes into the massage, the therapist asked several questions.
“How well are you warming up before your training?”
“Are you stretching after your workout?”
“Are your quads always this tight?”
I could barely speak as he dug into my tight muscles. I realized rather quickly that this wasn’t the relaxation focused spa massage I had imagined.
I was SHOCKED when the massage was over, and I got off the table. I COULD WALK. I paced around the room, gratefully. “Can I squat?” I asked my therapist, he nodded approvingly, and off I went into several deep, pain-free squats.
It turns out; I was never injured. My knee wasn’t hurt. Instead, all the muscles around my knee joint were tight. My quads, hamstrings, and calves, in particular, were so stiff that it was putting pressure on my knee as it was being pulled from every direction. Instead of just punching the time clock, I should have been more mindful of not only adequately preparing my body for training, but also recovering after my workout.
In this blog post, we gave you some essential recovery musts such as dynamic warm-ups, post-workout static stretching, Epsom salt baths, and rest days. Still, the truth is that if you’ve been really challenging yourself in the gym consistently for an extended period of time, you are probably going to need more help to stay on your game.
If you feel like you could use some extra support, it may be time to book a Sports Massage.
Sports massage is a targeted treatment for the unique physical and biomechanical needs of athletes that specifically targets muscle release and will help improve flexibility, reduce pain, and increase range of motion. This type of massage—if done right—is not a trip to the spa. Be prepared to breathe and relax your muscles through discomfort, to move around, interact physically, and to receive “homework” at the end of your massage to maintain and improve benefits between appointments.
How to find a skilled Massage Therapist?
Ask around – Ask coaches, trainers, or athletes who live near you if they have a good referral for a sports massage therapist.
Utilize Google – Simply google “Sports Massage Therapist near me” and scope out the reviews to find a good option.
When to get a massage?
We recommend scheduling your massage on a rest day, but you should also consider what your training looks like the day after your massage. It’s better to complete your most intense workouts for the week (squats, for example) before your massage, so you aren’t going into those workouts with post-massage soreness. (Yes, you may be sore after your massage for 1-2 days.)
How often should I get a sports massage?
This depends on your budget.
If you’re on a tight budget, your best bet is scheduling a massage every 4-8 weeks, but you will need to take personal accountability for asking questions during and after your massage in order to get the most out of it.
What should you ask?
- Why am I having pain?
- What can I do daily (before, during, and after workouts) to mitigate these issues? In this scenario, your therapist becomes your guide and you become the executor of recovery.
If budget isn’t an issue, sports massages 2-4x a month is the top end frequency you could utilize.
What’s the Cost?
Most Massage Therapists charge $60-$100 per session. Be sure to ask about first-time discounts, packages, and referral programs.
Dehydration can stiffen the fascia and muscles, which translates to a more painful massage. Ensure you’ve been getting 100+ oz of water in the days leading into the massage.
We hope that Sports Massage can help you keep your body primed and ready for hard training and optimized results! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about Sports Massage or anything else for that matter!