Do We Need More Sports Massage Or Just Stretching?

Should we be getting more sports and remedial massages? Or stretching more? This is a question I get asked many times. Well the answer is actually both. Recovery is down an athlete’s performance one of the most important aspects to athletes. The quicker your body recovers, the quicker you can go train with more intensity. Fatigue and lactic acid are both aspects that slow. If you do endurance sports like triathlon, long distance running or even cycling, sports injury treatment exmouth massages are a must to your training program.

In my earlier article “Are we really stretching enough? ” We discussed some of the importance of stretching, which increases flexibility and greater range of motion (ROM) that will provide more quality in the athletes training. Another important area we discussed was compensating muscles.

In this article we discuss why we should stretch pre and post training, as well as duration of a stretch.

One of the reasons why we stretch before any training or event is so we open up the muscle fibres to have greater ROM. Pre training stretch should NOT be considered as a warm up. You should do a warm up first of the training you are doing, get the blood flowing and a bit of sweat. Then followed by a light stretch up to open up muscle fibres. Now you can start your training, with the intensity you are trying to achieve.

The more the body isn’t conditioned to the training, the more emphasis should placed on the stretching. You are more vulnerable to strain up or injure yourself when you’re not conditioned. For example someone running 5km for the first time is more vulnerable to strain up than a marathon runner(42km) running 5km as a recovery.

I have had clients even injure themselves from even doing yoga, believe it or not it’s true. They have picked up a more advance class, and suffered an injury the next day.

The purpose of post training stretching is to open up the tight or fatigued muscles to reduce lactic acid build up. The quicker you recover from your training session, the quicker you can get back out to train with the same, if not more intensity.

With the same example as above, the marathon runner (42km) running 5km will not pull up as sore as they are running less than 85% to what they normally run. However the athlete running 5km for the first time in their training will pull up sore, tight and even lactic acid build up. So the key is when you train, especially outside of your normal routine either in duration, intensity or work load you have previously done. Stretching will assist in your body’s recovery, either by time, flexibility and even reduce the amounts of lactic acid build up.

A common error made by athletes while stretching is the quality of the stretch and the duration of holding a stretch. By not stretching properly and by cutting corners you’re only cheating yourself. So if unsure, ask your trainer, coach, or even you sports massage therapist. As for the duration of hold, lot of people hold a stretch for a quick 3-4 seconds. This actually will not suffice and probably waiting your time. So when doing active stretching, holds it at least 25 seconds. If injured seek medical advice through trainers, doctors or physiotherapists

In conclusion by adding stretching in your training program, especially early in your training, before your body is conditioned will reduce muscle tightness. Sports and Remedial Massages will aid your recovery and reduce lactic acid build up. Remember everyone needs specific training programs to cater for their specific needs. Talk to your coach, trainer, Physiotherapist or even your sports massage therapist for more specific information in accordance to and to address these needs.


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