As a competitive cyclist, sports and Thai massage therapist and a soigneur working with professional cyclists, I have an in depth perspective on the demands that we place on our bodies while training and racing. One of my favorite sayings that pertains to recovery is: “Training breaks your body down. Recovery is what builds it stronger.” Specifically, while riding hard, your muscle fibers are tearing and as a result, releasing toxins and metabolic waste products into your muscles.
The role of massage is to combat these toxins while pushing the waste out of the muscles, into the bloodstream and out of the body. The faster you eliminate the waste, the faster new nutrients and oxygen come into your body to repair and make larger, more powerful muscles. If you have ever felt the delayed onset of tired, heavy, sore legs, it is likely the result of excessive and stagnant lactic acid in your legs.
Another key role that sports massage plays in faster recovery is stretching. Many of us intend to stretch more or use the foam roller regularly, but we seldom do, especially to the degree that a therapist can. In sports massage you are passively (without help from the receiver) stretched, counteracting the time we spend hunched over our bikes in the saddle. Major areas of importance are the hips and shoulders, both being in a prolonged rounded position, placing strain on the lower and upper back and neck.
I hope this information is beneficial to your time off the bike. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to schedule a sports or Thai massage with me.
Troy Lyon LMT