How has sports massage in NYC benefited our clients?
Are you a movement professional? Do you prioritize physical activities? This blog is for you! Meghan Krupka explains the ways sports massage in NYC can help athletes of all kinds.
Competitive athlete? Weekend warrior? Recreational fitness enthusiast? At Bodyworks DW, we work with a wide variety of active individuals. Our therapists provide custom-designed sports massage sessions focused on helping you maximize your activity enjoyment. This can include sessions for injury recovery, injury prevention, tune-ups and maintenance. Sports massage in NYC for active people and athletes is hardly a luxury – it’s an investment!
Sports massage for athletes provides targeted, therapeutic treatment tailored to the biomechanics and physical needs of the athlete. In other words, it’s not going to be like your typical fluff n’ buff spa massage 😉 You’re going to be moving around a bit for analysis. You and your therapist will be working together on increasing range of motion and unwinding injuries. And you’re going to get some homework!
Curious how a sports massage for athletes in NYC might work for you? We’ve taken some of our most common client-athlete cases and given you a run-down of how a sports massage could benefit each one. Keep reading more to dive in!
Update August 2020: Sports massage for athletes is especially important right now after months of COVID-19 shutdowns! We’ve all been trying to exercise via Zoom in ways that we aren’t used to and without the ability of trainers to give us hands-on adjustments to form and posture. Most of us are feeling more pain and stress than we are used to and could use a tune up 🙂
All-Around Athletes: CrossFitter (CrossFit, Boot Camp)
The CrossFit community is known for its high-intensity, highly variable workouts. These incorporate anything from gymnastics to Olympic weightlifting to aerobic conditioning. In particular, CrossFit places a high demand on the shoulders. There are a lot of overhead movements. And also plenty of movements that require quite a bit of shoulder stability AND mobility. We get a lot of clients coming in for sports massage for CrossFit with shoulder injuries from pushing a bit too much too soon.
Shoulder stability and mobility is a complex interaction between the scapular-thoracic interface and the glenohumeral (GH) joint. The scapulae (shoulder blades) sit near the upper half and outside portions of the back of the rib cage. The GH joint (or shoulder joint) is at the side of your upper arm. It’s where your arm attaches to your shoulder. Both have to work together to keep your entire upper body properly positioned when doing any overhead movement.
Anatomy of the glenohumeral joint and scapula
Image source: https://therapydiaportland.com/category/rock-climbing/
Movement Analysis: The Snatch
Let’s look at one of the more demanding movements found in both CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting: the snatch! The snatch demands quite a bit of shoulder mobility, including flexion, rotation and also thoracic extension. When a client is lacking mobility in one of these directions incorrect form is the result. Using an inefficient form for an explosive and heavy lift like this will cause small micro tears in the muscles and tendons of the shoulder.
Over time, these micro tears build up and limit mobility even more. Eventually, you have a day where you push a bit too hard towards the end of class. And boom, something major tears! It seems to come out of nowhere but the root cause started months to years earlier.
So how does sports massage in NYC help with this?
A sports massage therapist is qualified to assess your range of motion for any joint. We can also ask you to mimic what your position might look like in a snatch so we can see where form can be improved. And also where fascial restrictions are causing incorrect form. We also get a lot of information about your muscles. After all, your muscles are the things moving your joints 🙂
Mobility prerequisites for the snatch lift
In this athlete example, a series of sessions would definitely include work to mobilize the scapulae and open up the thoracic spine. It might also include more advanced techniques to increase range of motion in your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Then you can then explore this new range in class as you work towards more efficient forms. Additionally, your sports massage therapist might even use some muscle tests to further examine any imbalances they see. At the end of each session, we’ll recheck your positions and movement to see how they improved. And give you simple homework to retain your gains for the long term!
Long, Strong and Flexible Lines: The Dancer
Dancers are known for their relentless pursuit of effortless form and positions. They are also known for their turn-out. Turn out is the outward (external) rotation of the leg (femur bone) at the hips. This also results in the knees and ankles turning outward. Hips are designed as a very rotational joint. Knees and ankles…not so much.
When a dancer does not have sufficient range of motion at the hips, the knees and the ankles often over-rotate. This puts stress on the ligaments holding the bones together. Over time, as the ligaments get too loose, the muscles have to work much harder to hold the joints together. Sports massage for dancers is a necessity to keep them tuned up and moving!
Common Dancer Injuries
Dancers are also frequently on their toes. This places a lot of stress on the metatarsal joints. Stress over time can lead to stress fractures. Ankle sprains, bunions, and knee meniscus or ligament tears are also common injuries seen in the dance community. Overall, dancers demand quite a bit from their bodies.
The bones of the toes
Image Source: http://www.orthopaedia.com/page/Metatarsal-Fractures
Hip, knee, and ankle maintenance for dancers can go a long way to keeping these joints happy and healthy. This chain has a complex interaction. Both the hips and ankles allow for a high amount of mobility. The knees demand stability. When something goes haywire in this line, it’s likely going to affect what’s above and below it. Sports massage in NYC for dancers can address both maintenance and injuries. Want to make sure your ankle sprain doesn’t affect your hips and turn out? Or need work on the muscles that are continually helping you turn out? A sports massage therapist can step in to make sure you’re getting the care you need.
The Endurance Competitor: The Triathlete (Distance Running, Cycling, Swimming)
Swimming, biking, running…triathletes are the workhorses of the athletic community. With super long training routines! Two of these three activities are lower body heavy. However, the swimming leg means that your upper body and arms should certainly not be ignored. Great sports massage therapists also understand how important your breath and core are in all of these activities.
We definitely want to address your chief complaints like sore knees and hips. But we also want to get to the root of why you may be continually experiencing soreness. Or why you are starting to feel less refreshed after your runs or swims. This is often where breath and core awareness come into the picture. Sports massage for triathletes focuses on helping them balance the issues that each discipline causes.
Movement Analysis: Improving Cycling Form
Let’s look at a situation where a triathlete might be experiencing low back pain after their bike rides. Pelvic and lumbar positioning are critical parts of maintaining good, sustainable form. The whole area between the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your pelvis is often referred to as your “core.” In the image below, you can see in the “bad” form example, the pelvis is being compressed by a rounded lower back. This can overstretch your low back muscles in the back, and also pinch nerves in the front of your spine.
The good image shows the pelvis tilting forward to be more in line with the vertebrae of your lumbar spine. You’d want to be able to keep your spine in a more neutral shape and lengthen it. In order to do this you need better hip mobility.
Pelvic and lumbar positional importance for cycling posture
In the image on the right, the biker is compressing their hip flexors (front of hips) and their whole abdominal area. Core engagement is lost. In this position, your breathing is going to be more labored.
Can a sports massage therapist really help with all this? Absolutely!
We can help support a strong core by opening up the range of motion in your hip joints. This will help you to better keep an easy neutral spine during long rides (along with working with a personal trainer or physical therapist). A sports massage for athletes session in this case would most certainly include work with the deep hip flexors (looking at you, psoas and iliacus), rib cage positioning, the diaphragm and the low back muscles. All while incorporating breath work. And getting you to find more space and length in the anterior (front) portion of your body.
Mechanics of breathing and your diaphragm
A similar example can be used for running. If you’re having a hard time keeping yourself upright, this also may point towards a core and/or breathing issue. Never had your diaphragm or rib cage worked on? The diaphragm is the primary muscle of respiration! It also attaches to some of your lower ribs and sits in the lower portion of your rib cage. A great sports massage therapist is going to look at more than just where you’re sore or feeling achy. We will always aim to relieve typical symptoms. But we also want to help you be a better and stronger triathlete. After all, breath is life.
Ideal Image: The Bodybuilder
Bodybuilders prioritize a proportional and symmetrical physique. They train each muscle very specifically…and often. In addition to their muscle-building, they must also practice their posing!
Let’s look at the anatomy of the building and training first. When muscles are overtrained or pushed too much, strains can crop up. Muscular imbalances are likely to follow behind. A strain means there is some degree of tear in the muscle fibers. When tears go untreated, scar tissue builds up in the area. Scar tissue accumulation may cause muscles not to fire or function as optimally.
Translation: if you have excessive scar tissue on one of your right side quads, it may not end up getting the same tone (aka “pump”) as the left quads. If you’re striving to look as symmetrical as possible, you will want to have muscles on both sides of you firing and working equally. Sports massage in NYC can help break up and stretch scar tissue. We can also, with some more advanced techniques, help reinforce neuromuscular connections. Sports massage for bodybuilders will aid in getting muscles to fire more strongly again.
Movement Analysis: Posing and how it affects posture
When posing, bodybuilders will typically place their pelvis into what is known as an anterior pelvic tilt (see image on the left below). An anterior pelvic tilt in and of itself shouldn’t be thought of as a bad thing. You should be able to move your pelvis in and out of this position. The problem arises when you get “stuck” in a tilt, whether anterior or posterior. When the former happens, you are excessively lengthening (and disengaging) your abdominal or core area. You are also compressing your lumbar spine.
So what does this actually mean? With an anterior pelvic tilt, you shorten your lumbar spine (low back) and flare your rib cage. This results in some low back and hip flexor muscles working more than they should be. While causing other muscles such as abs and glutes to disengage and become dysfunctional. Because posing is a frequent occurrence for bodybuilders, your body gets used to this position. It may not initially cause discomfort (your body is highly adaptable after all). However, down the road you may run into problems such as low back pain or hip pain.
Your body has been primed for a specific position, but that position is less optimal for regular movement such as sitting, standing, or walking. Or put another way, since it’s a less efficient posture, your body may just start to feel discomfort as time goes on.
Anterior and posterior pelvic tilts and their force couples
Image Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20118525
Ok, so how can a sports massage in NYC help?
For one, our therapists at Bodyworks DW are going to take a look at postural deviations in your initial assessment. We’ll notice your pelvic positioning. That will give us insight into which muscles need to be lengthened and which to be activated. Your session would include work to rebalance the muscles attaching to and around the pelvis. Through palpation assessment, we’ll get an idea of the tone and quality of your muscles (and scar tissue!) and how they may differ from side to side.
If you’re a bodybuilder experiencing low back pain and also finding that you’re not as muscularly balanced as you’d like to be, we are here to help. We are certainly able to help with plenty of other issues, but these two are some of the most common we see with bodybuilders.
Ready for that sports massage now?
At Bodyworks DW, all of our therapists on staff are trained in sports massage in NYC for both pain or injury management. Many of our staff are even athletes themselves! We have a few therapists who are also personal trainers, a Pilates instructor, a black belt in Aikido, a weightlifter, a strength and conditioning specialist…the list goes on! Even many of our front desk staff are dancers and well versed in movement. Working with a massage therapist who understands your typical movement patterns can really make a difference.
Whether you are looking for a sports massage in midtown or in the Financial District, you have access to a diverse group of therapists. Especially ones that are experienced working with active people just like you!
Would you like to schedule a professional sports massage for athletes in Manhattan to help keep you feeling, training, and performing your best with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at either of our locations!