Legit, Science-Backed Ways a Sports Massage Can Improve Your Workout

Legit, Science-Backed Ways a Sports Massage Can Improve Your Workout

from Shape:

You put a lot of work into staying in shape. Maybe you HIIT and run. Maybe you flow, spin, and do as many reps as possible in boot-camp class. Whatever your mix, you're likely missing one simple, science-backed way to maximize the benefit you get out of every drop of sweat: Give your body the targeted TLC of a sports massage. "Athletes typically work sports massage into their regimen to reduce muscle soreness and help treat problem areas," says Beth Mignano, a licensed massage therapist who assisted USA Track and Field at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. The idea is less pain, better training—a sound formula for anyone with a fitness goal. (BTW, did you know organ massage is a thing?!)

"Plus, getting a regular massage—even once a week—is also a great way to develop another level of body awareness," Mignano says. "When you have greater body awareness, it can serve to guide your training choices: If you feel something outside the norm, you might be able to prevent an injury or improve performance by adjusting a drill, a technique, or your intensity. (Not to mention, massage of any kind can do some great things for your mind.)

But these aren't run-of-the-mill spa treatments. Sports massages can consist of some heavy-duty manipulation techniques, including deep-tissue work and stretching, so they're not always relaxing. (Locate a sports massage specialist near you at FindaMassageTherapist.org.) What therapists are after is creating myofascial release to help you move better—myo refers to muscles and fascial refers to the continuous elastic sheet of connective tissue, or fascia, that covers them.

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