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There a variety of different types of massage that are suited to different needs. People who want to relax and relieve stress may find that a Swedish (or relaxation) massage is the best option, while sports performers and weekend warriors may need some athletic recovery massage moves. For this, a deep tissue massage should be their first choice.
There’s a third popular massage type that offers many benefits as well: trigger point massage.
To begin, it’s important to understand what a trigger point is. Trigger points are myofascial areas of pain that hurt when they are pressed on. Essentially, when you have a knot that is bothering you and causing you discomfort – that’s a trigger point.
“Myo” means muscle and “fascial” refers to the connective tissue, so myofascial pain is used to reference surface-level sore muscles pain. Trigger points, or knots, feel like hardened lumps of muscle beneath the skin, and even if your body is relaxed, the trigger point stays contracted, causing it to remain tight.
Trigger points are commonly experienced in the back muscles, especially between the shoulder blades or in the upper back, shoulders and neck. Individuals who work out a lot for a sport may also experience trigger points in their calves, gluteus muscles and iliotibial (IT) bands.
Additionally, trigger points can send referred pain to other parts of the body, sometimes to areas that are far away from the spot itself. A headache, for example, hurts in your head but the pain may actually be coming from a trigger point in your neck or upper back.
Because trigger points can become incredibly painful, it’s important to assist the muscles in loosening and letting go of the building tension. In order to achieve this, you can give yourself a trigger point massage using a portable massager like the Moji 360®.
As the back is a prime spot for trigger points, we’ll use it as an example.
Because you are in control, you can apply as deep of pressure as is comfortable, keeping in mind that the deeper you press, the more the trigger point will release. In between working on trigger points, it can be helpful to work in some relaxation massage, gently rolling the spheres up and down the muscles without applying too much pressure.
A similar massage can be used on other muscles in the body as well depending on where you are experiencing knots and trigger points. Runners may have tender points in their calf muscles, quads and down the outside of their thighs (IT bands) while new moms may have sore lower backs or arms from lifting up their baby.
After you complete you trigger point massage, it can feel great to stretch out your muscles and release even more tension, and since you were applying pressure deeply to certain spots, it can also help with additional relaxation to apply an ice pack to the troublesome body part.
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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride: