Crossfit and Massage
How to get the most out of Crossfit
By Lavinia Dorwaldt LMT, Mckinney TX
Massage Helps Crossfitters Perform Better
Massages feel amazing and they provide excellent health benefits for CrossFit athletes. Massage helps speed up recovery, lengthens muscles and fascia. When tension and tightness are removed, injuries can be prevented. Getting a regular massage, at least once a month or preferably, every two weeks, can help you reduce soreness and risk of injury while increasing mobility.
Other benefits of massage include:
- Massage lengthens muscle and releases fascial adhesions. Muscles can ease back into proper placement.
- Increases range of motion.
- It will also make your muscles look more toned. This is ideal before a competition.
- Increases blood flow and circulation. This gets more oxygen into your body.
- Decreases anxiety and stress.
- Helps reduce pain and inflammation in the joints, tendons, nerves and bones.
When you exercise vigorously or intensely, you develop tiny tears in your muscle fibers that lead to inflammation. This is what causes your muscles to feel sore as the muscles work to heal themselves. Research shows that soreness is reduced and muscles heal at a faster rate after being massaged. This is because massage reduces the body’s production of cytokines, which contribute to inflammation, and stimulate mitochondria, which aid in the repair process. Taking an anti-inflammatory medicine like aspirin can reduce pain but it will not help the healing process. Inflammation that is not dealt with will lead to farther inflammation.
Inflammation that carries the greatest recovery time. Markers in the blood that point to injury were present even at the 72 hour mark. “The inflammation was ameliorated by white blood cells carried in the blood, and I would guess could be hastened by methods that improve blood flow. I’d also suggest that this study shows people may be waiting too long between working the same muscle, which seemingly needs only about three days to recover.
” More about blood chamistry and workouts HERE.
During high intensity exercise, lactic acid and general toxins from acidity increase in your muscles. Failing to flush out lactic acid can lead to soreness and slow recovery time. Yes, your body can naturally clear lactic acid and toxins. It takes lots of water, time and rest, however massage can help expedite the process, especially when you are pushing your body to it’s limits. Receiving a massage from an experienced Massage Therapist can help work out the lactic acid and other toxins from your body, speeding your recovery and reducing the risk of an exercise-induced injury.
If you are WODing 5-6 days a week, your body is under a high amount of stress and strain for an extended amount of time. Unlike most sports, Crossfit workouts incorporate every major muscle group on a daily basis. This can mean your body is storing lactic acid and toxin build up. When you get massaged, your body is able to release toxins out of your muscles. Think of your muscles as a water hose with the water turned on. Muscle tightness is akin to a foot stomping the water hose. When that pressure is relieved the water is free to flow. When your muscles are tight, your body is under strain. Synapses between cells can slow, toxins build up. By relaxing muscle tension, you allow your body to remove waste properly and function optimally.
Massage also lengthens your muscles and fascia. This allows more range of motion and mobility. Crossfit routines can cause adhesions in muscle because of the repetitive motions. By lengthening muscle fibers and fascia, impingement and clicks in your joints will be lessened. Your mobility and flexibility will be greatly improved.
“I foam roll, I don’t need a massage”
Foam rolling is a fantastic way to help your muscles relax after a work out. We highly encourage people to foam roll and do other self-massage techniques on a regular basis! Unfortunately, you can’t self massage every muscle with a foam roller or a tennis ball. Also you are not trained in the best ways to break up adhesions or how to achieve muscle relaxation. Massage therapists learn techniques to release trigger points and break up adhesions. Their training is generally over 500 hours of anatomy and technique. They learn contraindications and how to spot abnormalities. They understand the body, how it functions and how to help it unwind and relax. Unless you are a massage therapist, it’s simply impossible to be as effective at muscular relaxation and adhesion release as a professional massage therapist. Plus, you just can’t reach every muscle in your own body, so just go see a professional.
If you are a serious Crossfit athlete, adding therapeutic, sports, or deep tissue massage to your regimen will positively impact your body. You will feel more relaxed, your muscles will function optimally and you will be able to step up your workout to the next level.
We recommend a Sports Massage for Crossfitters.