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How to (self) massage achy muscles

Foot_massage_-_Foto_Giovanni_Dall'Orto,_11-Aug-2007High impact interval training, like the exercises shown through Tabata’s pages, is a great way to add muscle, build endurance and lose weight at the same time. Its great contribution to health is evidenced. As a matter of fact, an article posted in ABC News, mentions that heart patients who have undertaken a cardio-rehab program based on high-impact interval training principles, showed tremendous recovery. That being said; it is highly likely that when doing these types of exercises, you might experience achy muscles. In order to increase the efficiency of your training program, it is important you massage any achy muscle.

Of course, you can do that the expensive way, meaning seeing a sports massage therapist, or the cost-effective way, and carry out your own muscle massage, with the following basics:

Step 1: Warm Up your Muscles

Before you start working on these achy muscles, be it shoulder, neck, or any other, it is important you warm them up, so you maximize the benefits of muscle massage. For that reason, try draping a warm (or even hot) washcloth around your achy muscle. It will provide instant muscle relaxation and relief from pain.

Step 2: Use Massage Tools

There is no need to stress your hand and fingers, or try to find elaborate electrical devices to massage your achy muscles. A simple tennis ball will do. However, you can also use foam rollers or rubber balls that you can find in numerous sporting goods stores near you.

Step 3: Start the achy-muscle massage

Massage Your Head and Neck 

  1. Squeeze and release the sore neck muscles (between the shoulder and your head) with your hand.
  2. Rotate or shrug the shoulder, at the same time.
  3. Alternatively, you can use a tennis ball to apply direct pressure to the achy spot.
  4. Release and repeat the massage, until you feel your muscle more relaxed.

Massage your Mid-Back

The area between your shoulder blades often gets achy when working out.

  1. Take a tennis ball, and either freeze it or place it as it is against the wall.
  2. Lean your back against the wall, while resting the tennis ball between your mid-back muscles.
  3. Alternatively, you can use 2 tennis balls, instead of one. You simply put them in a sock and tie a knot in the middle (and, of course, on the end). That way, you can massage both shoulder blades at once.
  4. By bending your knees, allow the tennis ball(s) to roll around by bending your knees and squatting up and down. With this exercise, you get to hit many different muscles.

Massage your Lower-back, Glutes and Hips

  1. If you want to massage a large area, use a foam roller. For smaller areas, you can use a tennis ball.
  2. Pick a couch, bed, or any other forgiving surface, and lie on the tennis ball or the foam ball. Avoid lying on a hard floor.
  3. If you want to massage your hips and glutes, roll on the ball you have selected, until you locate that tender spot.
  4. Once finding the achy spot, press against it and breath, for about 20-30 seconds.
  5. Repeat until you feel your muscle(s) are relaxed.

Massage your Foot

  1. After a strenuous work-out, you can put marbles or a tennis (or golf) ball in a zip-lock bag, and just roll your feet over it.
  2. Alternatively, you can freeze a water bottle to roll your feet over. It is perfect for tired and hot feet.

Important Notes:

  1. It is significant you know there are limitations to self-massaging achy muscles. If the ache is prolonged and turns into pain, you must seek professional advice from the GP or sports massage therapist.

Do not massage the point of pain, or areas with varicose veins, or any other nervous or muscular system issues. If you do, seek for professional help.

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