Dear Road Bike Action,
Interesting about the need not to stretch before we warm up on our bikes. Here’s a follow-up question; what about massage before riding? Have any studies been done on that question? I’ve found I feel better riding when I use my massage machine before I ride. But is that just the same mental tolerance increase you talked about regarding stretching? Am I actually undermining my riding ability by massaging immediately before a ride?
-Scott W. Gunnison, Colorado
The results of massage may be debatable to the extent that there is not a high level of large published studies that show statistical evidence that a massage either before or after your ride will make you faster. But there is a reason that so many athletes don’t want to travel without their personal massage therapist
There are known benefits of message including:
• Reducing post exercise muscle soreness
• Lowering stress levels
• Decreasing cortisol levels
• Decreasing blood pressure
• Increasing blood flow to the muscles
• Stimulating lymph circulation and quickening waste and toxic elimination.
• Releasing endorphins
• Supporting relaxation and improves sleep
• Stimulating slower breathing
Don’t underestimate the power that simply being relaxed can have on your riding. Tight muscles, mental stress, and quick, short breathes often go together for a reason. If a massage helps to combat these things you can be pretty sure that they will help you on your bike. If you feel like you receive a benefit from a massage before a ride, it most likely is a benefit to you. Obviously, you don’t want to become too relaxed immediately before a race. Save the long, sleep inducing massages for post race recovery. But a massage that increases blood flow to your muscles, allows you to slow down your breathing and become more focused is apt to help you on the road.