Pre-event massage is massage done before an athletic event or
competition. It does not take the place of stretching or a warm
up. It is best done 20 to 30 minutes prior to competition, with the
focus being on the muscles stressed most in the competition.
The massage is done at a rapid pace and is very vigorous, so that it
imparts an invigorating feeling to the athlete. The massage consists
of deep compressions, deep transverse friction, and direct pressure.
When done properly it can promote speed, power and endurance
to the athlete as well as helping with injury prevention.
Effects of pre-event massage include:
Improved cellular nutrition in the muscles due to the dilation of
blood vessels with deep compression.
Improved circulation to tendons and ligaments.
Greater efficiency of muscular effort by relaxing the antagonists of
the muscles being used.
Release of trigger points that can negatively affect athletic performance.
Increased flexibility - good for gymnasts and other athletes who
require flexibility for their sport.
Prevention and treatment of muscle spasms
The technique consists of alternating deep compressions to muscles
with deep transverse friction to the tendons (origins and inser-
tions). Usually this is done at a quick tempo, with three sets of
compressions to each muscle, each set done progressively deeper.
The friction to the tendons is done rapidly and is not as deep as
cross fiber work.
Compressions should be done with an open palm. If you try
squeezing, you will tire out your wrist and finger flexors and run
the risk of a repetitive stress injury.
The work may be done through clothing without the use of oil.
Having oil on the skin may cause an athlete to overheat, although it
may be of advantage to use oil on a wrestler or a swimmer.
The muscle groups worked should be the ones used most in the
For instance, in a runner a good sequence would be:
Paraspinals (erector spinae)
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