Many people will book massage therapy treatment because it is a great way to help them relax and reduce their stress. However, there are many other reasons CrossFit athletes should seek out massage therapy. For CrossFit athletes, massage therapy can be a very effective way of helping treat tight muscles, increasing the flexibility of your muscles, increasing your range of motion and decreasing soreness from training. If you find that you are constantly using the foam roller or lacrosse ball to try to work out stubborn muscles, this is a good indication that you may need manual hands on therapy. Here are a few great ways that a massage therapy session can help with your recovery and keep you training efficiently and injury free:
- Reducing and eliminating trigger points in your muscles. A trigger point is a tender spot in your muscle (kind of like a knot) that can cause pain in other areas of your body. For example, you can have a trigger point in one of your glute muscles that refers pain down the back of your leg or the outside of your leg. Not only do these trigger points cause pain, but they can also reduce the strength in your muscle and reduce the flexibility of this muscle. This can affect how low you can go in a squat, limit your overhead range and not allow you to lift as heavy.
- Increasing range of motion and mobility. Many movements in Crossfit require adequate range of motion to be able to safely and effectively complete the exercise. For example, you need good range of motion in your shoulders and your upper back in order to be able to perform any movement overhead (thruster, overhead squat, overhead press etc). If you find that you have restrictions in your range of motion that can’t be increased with mobility exercises or foam rolling, you will probably need some hands on work to help release the muscles that cross the joint, as well as mobilizations to the joint itself.
- Decreasing tightness in your muscles. How many times have you felt tightness in your low back after doing deadlifts; or that you couldn’t go lower in your squats because of tightness in your hip flexors; or restricted in the front rack position because of tightness in your forearms? Massage is a great way to reduce tightness felt throughout muscles so that you can perform these movements with greater ease. Tightness does not always present itself in pain or limit you in what you can do, but it definitely does not allow you to move as efficiently.
Crossfit is a great way to get fit and build strength, however it is so important to take care of your muscles and joints that you use during these workouts! Just like your car needs regular maintenance, so does your body; especially given the intensity of Crossfit workouts.
-Shannon Weekes RMT