Guest post by Sheree Phelps from Podium Therapies
With the Cardiff half marathon coming up and the annual charity races under way, I’ve seen an influx of runners, athletes, and Sunday morning joggers, needing their various leg muscles and tender lower back muscles, soothed and looked after with some pre and post event sports massage.
Whether it’s to warm up, warm down, prepare or recover, a sports massage can help with those little niggles that constant training gives you or that injury in the past that never went away.
Having competed as an elite athlete for 13 years, I have a deep understanding of what an athlete wants and needs, before, after and during their competitive and training phases within their sport. However, sports massage can be for anyone, from someone who simply enjoys going to the gym, playing sports as a hobby or just needs a more specific, deeper massage than a basic holistic massage.
I give the client the opportunity to discuss what they would like to get out of their massage treatment. I assess any injuries or specific points I find whilst examining them and use a range of techniques, trigger points and strokes, to wake up muscles before an event or training session, as well cool them down post exercise, thus helping reduce the buildup of lactic acid.
The most common thing I have seen so far is hamstrings and calf muscles in need of some deep tissue work. People tend to do the main muscle stretches which is fab, but you cannot forget about the little muscles that stabilize the legs and hips such as the soleus muscle which sits behind the gastrocnemius muscle (the main calf muscle). By adapting your stretch routine before and after your run, jog or cycle, you can maximize the muscle usage and get better, fresher and more oxygenated blood round to power the muscles longer and further.
The same applies to hamstrings. Most athletes will warm up the main belly of the hamstrings but forget the groin and hip flexors. This can lead to a tight lower back, restricted movement of the hip joint and the range of motion in the legs. Simple trigger point techniques and stretches can improve all this and help you get that competitive edge over your opponent.
Editor: Thanks to Sheree for writing this post.
You can also find a couple of other therapists in the north of Cardiff: