|First measure, then improve|
How to Incorporate Massage into Your Training
1. Training Maintenance/Tune-up - General: Directly after or the day after an intense workout, you will want to receive a general post-training massage to facilitate faster and easier recovery, and to minimize adhesions, restrictions, and trigger points. Since this is, overall, a lighter massage you do not need to take time out, but can continue on with intense training the next day. This massage will help lessen tenderness and stiffness as it facilitates blood and lymph circulations within the body. By assisting the body to push fluids, the focus is more on working with a group of musculatures than on a specific grouping of muscle fibers. The massage techniques are more general with strokes that are long and slow with light to medium pressure.
2. Injury Recovery/Maximizing Performance - Specific: This type of massage is needed if you are in the process of recovering from an injury, or have noticeable imbalances, stiffness, and tenderness in relation to gait, posture and/or pedaling. When you need deeper work, it means that your body has developed enough adhesions, trigger points, and scar tissue to affect the functional & structural integrity of your musculoskeletal system. Your movements become noticeably weaker, stiffer, and less precise. The purpose of massage in this situation, is to increase circulation and range of motion and to promote efficient, ease of movement for all affected areas. The massage techniques are more precise in nature and incorporate different variations of neuromuscular therapy, in addition to deep tissue, myofascial, visceral manipulation, foot compression and heat/cold therapy. In working with a deeper layer of muscles, the approach is slow and methodical in nature. Restrictions are released one layer of muscles and connective tissues at a time. Continual dialogue with the massage therapist is kept to ensure proper and speedy recovery.
Deeper, more detailed massages like this require 72 hours of rest as your body adjusts and heals. Expect to feel some soreness. You can do some light therapeutic movement to help the body integrate new lengths, but always remember to be cautious and stop before feeling fatigue physically. It is recommended to receive this type of massage during active recovery periods or before scheduled rest days.
3. Athletic Performance Optimization (See Below): There are also other massage modalities and specialties such as visceral manipulation, craniosacral, and assisted stretching that you may want to incorporate within your training. They are very therapeutic in nature, and will help tremendously in optimizing health and athletic potential. Further, since they require no active recovery time, you can receive them anytime.
How often should you schedule massages?
Types of Performance Optimization Massages
Visceral Manipulation/Psoas release
Visceral (Abdominal) Manipulation