What is sports massage?
Sports massage has been around for quite a few years, but it has grown in popularity over the last five years. Sportsmen and sportswomen are more visible and accessible to the public eye than ever before, and this is especially true in CrossFit. The general public is more interested in how CrossFit athletes perform and what they do to get ready for a competition.
Sports massage is used for a number of different reasons, but it is especially effective in aiding recovery, improving mobility, and treating and preventing injury. This makes it a perfect tool within professional sports to help improve individual performance.
But will it affect me as CrossFit participant?
CrossFit is a sport that demands functional movements at different levels of intensity and variety. When you become injured, your body’s effectiveness becomes compromised and compensates for that injured area. This diminishes your ability to react and carry out movements to their optimum potential.
To ensure you perform at your best, you must recover quickly and efficiently after competition or training. This enables you to gain the full benefit from a hard WOD or strength-and-conditioning session. If you don’t recover efficiently, then performance and fatigue can set in, eventually succumbing to the effects of overtraining.
Sports massage can help:
- Promote efficient scar formation following acute trauma
- Reduce excessive adhesion and scar formation following chronic trauma
- Reduce excessive fascial thickening
- Reduce spasm secondary to pain
- Decrease neuronal excitability
Reducing tension and adhesions in muscle allows you to improve your range of motion, perfect for the different events involved in CrossFit. The massage will also dilate your blood vessels and have a positive effect on your cardiovascular system. This improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body while removing waste products and toxins at a quicker rate. Muscle repair times are faster, ultimately reducing the risk of delayed onset muscle soreness.
How can it help me postworkout?
Sports massage can aid the process of recovery — especially as you change your program, add weight or attempt something different in your normal routine. If you are new to CrossFit, massage is even more relevant because you will be learning new skills and movements that will put a lot of strain on your body.
Techniques such as trigger point therapy and myofascial release will help reduce and release adhesions and knots, ensuring your muscles return to their optimum state a lot quicker.
Sports massage helps relieve pain and promote the growth of new muscle cells while repairing the damaged ones. Even if you are not in pain, sports massage will improve muscle function, thus making you more efficient while recovering and competing. Regarding recovery, sports massage can:
- Reduce excessive post-exercise muscle tone
- Increase muscle range
- Increase circulation and nutrition to damaged tissue
- Deactivate symptomatic trigger points
- Identify soft tissue abnormalities
There are also many psychological benefits of sports massage, such as relaxation and stress reduction — both mentally and physiologically. A clear head is key to individual success, and sports massage often aids individuals in concentration and application.
Sam Brindle is the lead tutor for the sports massage courses at Body Aid Solutions Ltd.