Massage Therapist Love
Yesterday was Strongman Sunday. I trained all the implements for my upcoming competition. So, now that Monday has rolled around – my body is feeling every rep of the axle and each rotation of the Conan’s Wheel.
I now know that I’ll call my massage therapist (in my speed dial) and set up a massage this week. I sure wish someone had let me in on the secret of a good massage therapist earlier in my Strongwoman training. Unfortunately, had to learn the hard way.
When I first started strongman training, I would have days with crazy back pain, sore traps and hamstrings that were as tight as rubber bands. And I had no idea what to do about it. I just popped some ibuprofen, took hot baths and waited for it to pass. Since I didn’t know how to treat it, the pain would worsen and cause other areas to hurt, too. I didn’t know the “strongman secret” of what a good massage can do for you.
Now that you’re on your journey in the Strongman training world, I’m sure you’ve noticed a few things – Strongman training inevitably leaves you with tight muscles, a ton of bruises and unbelievably sore. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to find a good massage therapist. Seriously, finding a good massage therapist is life-changing and, for me, essential to my Strongman training. Here are a few tips to finding a Massage Therapist:
Find one that Works on Athletes: There are a ton of massage therapists. But most of them focus on relaxing massages with aromatherapy and hot stones. But, when my back is tight and my quads are screaming, that’s not exactly what I need. Let’s face it, our bodies are just different. We’re built differently, we have a lot more muscle than the Average Joe and we ask a lot from our bodies every day during training. So, obviously, our massages aren’t going to be the same as everyone else’s. You want a massage therapist that understands what you do during workouts, how hard you push yourself and what is needed to help get your body ready for your next training session.
Tell them Exactly what you Want/Don’t Want: This is a bit trickier for people. You need to communicate exactly what you need from your massage therapist. Don’t just lay on the table in your undies and tell her to “do the normal massage.” You need to really be open and honest and let them know what areas need attention. Heck, sometimes I go into a massage and say, “spend the whole hour on my back.” That way, the areas that actually need the attention get it. After all, you paid for the massage – get what you need out of it.
It May Get Personal: Ok, here’s where it can get touchy (pun intended.) Sometimes, the areas that need attention might be a little, how do I say this, “near delicate areas.” But, if you’re there to really get the kinks out, you’re going to have to let down your guard a bit. Case in point – I was having some awful pain in my butt/hamstring. I told my (kinda new at the time) massage therapist what was hurting, going into great detail on the pain and location. That day, we really took our relationship to a whole new level. Perhaps we should have first had dinner and drinks. 🙂 But she located the issue, focused on it and, no surprise, it was better when I left. Don’t be scared to tell them your glutes hurt or your pecs are sore. They’ll rub it, fix it – then maybe you should send them flowers. 🙂
It Probably Won’t Be Comfortable: Anymore, I very rarely get to go into a massage and relax and enjoy it. Often times, it’s even uncomfortable. But the massage therapist is working to help relax the muscles, get out knots and help me get ready for what I’m demanding of my body the next day. There have been a few times she’s run up my quad that I seriously broke out into a sweat and may/may not have uttered a few colorful words, but it’s so worth it when I walk (and sometimes skip) out of the door.
Go Often: Once you get a relationship with a massage therapist that works for you – go see them. A lot. Listen to your body. When it starts telling you it’s tight and tired (sometimes in a soft voice, other times screaming) make an appointment. When I’m hitting training hard with heavy weights, I sometimes go every 7-10 days. Seriously. You’ll be happier, your muscles will be happier and your performance in the gym will be better.
If you’re looking for a massage therapist that’s a good fit for you – start by asking the other Strongmen/Strongwomen in your gym. I guarantee you they’ll have recommendations on people they use.
Stay strong, lift big and eat well!