Are There Any Benefits To A Massage Before Riding?

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

Don’t underestimate the power that simply being relaxed can have on your riding.

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.

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