Last night I had fun giving a couple a massage lesson. This couple enjoys cycling and wanted some home-care strategies to manage the toll cycling takes on the body, especially the legs.
Massage has a lot to offer cyclists. Here are some highlights:
- Flushing the quads & hamstrings. A variety of long, deep, & rapid strokes on both quads (front of leg) and hamstrings (back of legs) push a lot of blood through these muscles which have been working hard pumping and pulling on those pedals. Fresh blood brings oxygen and carries away the metabolic waste products of exercise.
- Stretching the IT band. You’ll find your iliotibial (IT) bands on the outside of each leg. They connect the knee and hip. The IT band is a long tendon and when it gets overly tight, as it can with cycling and running, it can pull on either the knee or hip and produce pain. Long, firm strokes to stretch the IT band help keep pain at bay and the IT band healthy.
- Foot and calf care. Detailed work on the bottom surface of the foot relieves pain from the repetitive nature of cycling. Loosening the plantar fascia helps keep the whole back line of the body from tightening up (from foot to calf to hamstring to low back!). Calves need some extra TLC to flush out their metabolic waste products and massage offers a perfect venue.
- Neck care. Ooh, that racing position is hard on the neck! It’s especially taxing on the splenius capitis. You don’t need to know the fancy Latin names of the neck muscles to know that they hurt! Maybe if cycling was the only thing we did that strained the neck, we’d be fine. But most of us also work on computers, drive, etc. and our necks need some attention to stay healthy.
If you’d ever like to have a massage lesson and learn some of these massage techniques for home-care, please let me know. It’s fun for me to show people something new and useful for keeping them healthy for the activities they enjoy. A massage lesson can be tailored to a trio, pair or individual.
Is there a sport or actvity that you’d like me to address as to how massage can provide specific benefit? Let me know in the comments and I”ll tackle it in an upcoming post.