Regular massage, used in conjunction with your training routine, can improve your flexibility, help reduce the likelihood and severity of muscle injury, and promote faster recovery.
Some key muscle areas that cyclists in particular need to be aware of are not only the powerful leg muscles – the quadriceps and hamstrings – but also the gluteus maximus and hip flexors. The gluteus maximus muscles (the largest muscles in our body), which is used in conjunction with the quadriceps, are the largest contributors to your power output on the bike - with a greater proportion of power output as effort increases.
The hip flexors help maintain your stability on the bike, allowing the other larger muscle groups to be devoted to their task of producing power output. However, if the hip flexors are tight, their function is weakened – and stability is then assisted by the gluteal group – which then compromises their ability to contribute to power output. Hip flexors can become tight due to being in a flexed position during our long hours of sitting in an office – followed by being in a flexed position, and under load, while sitting on the bike!
To reduce tightness in your hip flexor muscle group, make sure you adequately warm up before going out for a ride, and be rigorous about maintaining your stretching routine after your workout (think about doing some stretching while waiting for your order at the coffee shop!) Participating in a stretching class such as Yoga or Pilates during the week can also vastly improve your flexibility.
So whether you are training for your next race, a weekend lycra warrior, a commuter or just cycling to the park with the kids, regular massage is a particularly effective tool in helping to reduce tightness all of your key muscle areas. Your massage therapist can also advise you on stretching exercises that will help to address the key issues relevant to your sport and your body condition. Improve your flexibility and unlock hidden power!
Cazz Clarke (Remedial Massage Therapist) is available for Remedial, Therapeutic, Sports and Relaxation Massage in Kew East. Visit www.path-to-wellness.com for more information!
Discount offer – Bike it Better, Cycling Australia, and Bicycle Network members receive a $10 discount when booking a 1 hour remedial massage with Cazz at Path to Wellness Remedial Massage. Show your membership card and save!