The 101st Tour de France just finished Stage 5 – a grueling battle against the elements, cobblestone and the usual tough grind of 100+ miles at constant speeds hovering around 35mph.
If there’s ever an athlete who deserves and appreciates the benefits of therapeutic massage, it’s cyclists. Hours of hard aerobic effort, which often includes major climbs, is not for the weak.
But even the strong can falter, and massage is one of the many ways these tough athletes survive to ride another day.
And whether you treat a pro cyclist or a weekend warrior, cyclists exist in great numbers all over the world and need your expertise. The circulatory benefits of massage can be profound, but other benefits include reduced existing muscle soreness, improved range of motion, and the break-up of scar tissue that can restrict movement of the muscles.
Here’s a short guide from a pro cyclist to the best times to provide sports massage for your cycling fanatics:
- 4-5 days before a race/big ride – deep tissue massage following a strong training ride. This is most likely also a couple days after a previous race/long weekend ride. Waiting a day or two after and race and four-plus days before the next big ride is a good time to work out the soreness and still have time to recover before the next competition.
- 2 days before race/ride – gentle massage following a lighter training ride, mainly to get muscles loose and legs ready to go hard.
- 1 day before race/ride – only a light relaxation massage/stretching session.
- Day of race – no massage…legs are primed to go hard!
- After the race/ride – It is not recommended to get a massage the day of or after a major effort like a long-distance ride or run. There is substantial muscular stress, including inflammation, so it’s wise to let the body heal itself for one to two days (*and we also recommend incorporating stretching into all sports massages).
And then just ride, relax and repeat!