Massage for Cyclists: Five Easy Tips

Whether you’re a roadie or a mountain biker, massage can prevent injury, improve performance, and make you faster.

Pro cyclists get massages frequently, and for good reason. Massage helps overcome and prevent injury, and can improve recovery. But the timing and intensity of massage for cyclists can have a huge impact on performance. And even if you’re not a pro, the same benefits of a massage can apply to you. Here’s what we know:

Pre-Race: Deep Tissue.

While you may not be able to afford a massage after every hard ride or race, if you’re strategic with your timing, you can optimize the benefits of massage. If you have race coming up, consider getting a deep tissue massage about four-five days in advance, but not any closer. The reason is that a deep tissue massage can break up muscle fibers and adhesions. This can ead to sore legs, and a feeling known as “legginess.” And you don’t want  any “legginess” the day of a race!

Pre-Race: Light Rub.

A day or two before your race, give you legs a light rub-down. Ideally this is done by a massage therapist, but if you had a deep tissue massage a few days ago, you may not be able to justify another session! If that’s the case, consider using a foam roller or your hands.

Post-Race: Light Rub.

After a very strenuous effort, your legs might be sore, even to the touch, so a light rubdown might be best.

Post-Race: Deep Tissue.

If your legs aren’t sore after the event, try to go deep to break up adhesions. If they are sore, wait a couple of days before getting a deep-tissue massage.

Maintenance. 

Even if you don’t race, if you ride a few days a week or more, you can benefit greatly from regular massage, say once or twice a month. Ideally these massages will be on the deeper side, with the massage therapist working on painful spots, and troublesome areas that could become worse if not worked out. If you do your hardest rides on the weekend, this means you should get your massage on Monday or Tuesday, so the “legginess” is gone by the weekend.

If you’re a cyclist do you have any tricks or tips for optimizing the benefits of a good massage? If you’re a massage therapist, same question–what are your best massage for cyclists tips! And, if you’re considering a career in massage therapy and you think working with athletes sounds exciting, consider becoming a sports massage therapist.