The One Thing Cyclists Need for Better Performance
Cycling has started to gain popularity here in Singapore – from competitive road cycling to the casual weekend cyclist, the prolonged period of keeping your body in the cycling position can result in body aches and pains. Cyclists, especially competitive ones are kept seated in a crouched position on their road bikes for hours at a time. This causes a strain not only on their legs but also their posture, resulting in neck aches and leg soreness after a ride.
While cycling, their leg muscles have to adapt to the form of the midst cyclical rhythm while pedalling. Moreover, having to look up whilst being in a seated crouching position, their thigh muscles serve as the main propeller during each ride and other muscles, such as the hamstrings, hip flexors and calves are fixed at a shortened length, leading to muscle tightness and fatigue. Sports massage acts as a catalyst for the recovery of muscles, as well as aids in injury prevention, and encourages a relaxed mental state.
What is Sports Massage and How Does It Help?
Sports Massage comprises various techniques such as deep tissue massage, trigger point release, myofascial and muscle energy methods to smooth the ‘muscle complex out after it has been fatigued. In addition, sports massages aids in easing out the knots in muscles by loosening tight muscles, fascia, and trigger points, thereby improving a joint’s range of motion and flexibility.
Through an exchange of nutrients and oxygen to tired muscles and the removal of lactic acid, Sports Massage also helps in increasing blood flow to fatigued muscles, speeding up recovery durations. Compared to fatigued muscles impended by adhesions and lactic acid, cyclists with healthy muscles are less prone to injuries from micro-tears, ruptures, and strains.
Although there is no conclusive evidence of the physiological benefits of massages, Sports Massage also aids in the reduction of tense psychological mood states of an athlete. Phil Burt, the Lead Physiotherapist for the Great Britain Cycling Team shared that, “Riders do like it, they report benefits and it is part of their post-race or ride recovery and relaxation routine. It is important not to underestimate these slightly intangible and psychological benefits, as they really can make a difference to a rider’s attitude and how they perform”.
When should I get a Sports Massage?
Professional cyclists usually get a sports massage after a day of racing to soothe their tired muscles and to prepare them to be ready for training again the following day. On the other hand, amateur cyclists typically receive a Sports Massage once a week or fortnightly.
After each session, cyclists should expect to experience 2 days of muscle soreness due to the deep tissue massage techniques employed. After which, the benefits of the massage should be felt in full, and cyclists should be ready for their next ride.
What to Expect
While the intensity of each massage varies across individuals, you should feel deep pressure and strokes on your tight, and possibly sore muscles. However, if you feel yourself actively guarding against the pain, you should inform your therapist and they will moderate the intensity accordingly.
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