I was recently booked for a sports massage for a cyclist. “J” wasn’t your normal 10 to 15 mile cyclist. He was about halfway through his cross-country bike ride from Washington, D.C. to Portland, OR.
While he wasn’t exactly “roughing it” by camping outdoors for the first half of his journey, his plans for the last half included sharing sleeping quarters with the coyotes and night owls.
A bike ride of this distance would prove tough for any cyclist. The fact that J is nearly 42 makes it all the more impressive.
The Cyclist Sports Massage Session:
J booked me via my online scheduling system for a two hour (120 min) session in his hotel here in Kansas City.
Upon meeting, he proved to be exactly the type of person that you imagine would enjoy testing the limits of his physical endurance while gnawing on a granola bar.
We discussed his specific areas of concern, mostly some pain and stiffness in his right knee and the sensation of occasional ‘catching’ while pumping on the bike pedals. I assessed the knee and tested it for any “play” in the joint that might indicate a dysfunction of the ligaments.
As you can probably guess might be the case with cyclists or tri-athletes, his legs were being overworked and holding a lot of tension.
During the initial session we identified other muscle groups that he was not aware were also painful and holding tension.
Riding a bicycle requires a lot of upper body strength to help maintain balance and physically hold the body up into the correct riding position. J’s shoulders and forearms were also quite sore.
First up: several deep tissue techniques, including cupping, along his upper back and to his glutes, hamstrings, and IT Bands.
I paid particular attention to the structures that aid in the movement of the knee: Rectus Femoris primarily.
Tension was noted in the adductors of both legs, but time constraints did not allow for focused work there or in his calves and ankles.
You would be surprised by how quickly a two hour session can fly by when working with endurance athletes!
At the conclusion of the session, I offered standard aftercare instructions. These included increasing his water intake and the application of ice to his knee to help calm down any inflammation that the massage may have triggered.
One Weekend, Two Sessions
J was so pleased with the results of our session he immediately rebooked for a 90 minute session two days later.
For this appointment I focused primarily on his legs to address the tension and pain in his adductors, hip flexors, and gastrocnemius. We discussed the importance of proper cyclist body mechanics.
J has a tendency of letting his knees point outward from the body at nearly a 45-degree angle which was engaging the adductors whose primary job is to try and keep the knee pointing directly forward.
By altering his posture on the bike, he could prevent the fatigue and soreness in the inner thigh. Keeping his knees pointed forward could also prevent strains of the ligaments and tendons attached to the knee.
I applied cups to his right knee, which to quote J, “Feels gnarly.”
I’m not gonna lie, he had a few choice words for me when I reached several very tender spots in his calves.
A sports massage for cyclists can help work out tension and soothe the aching muscles that are constantly flexing and extending the ankle on the bicycle pedals.
Our session wrapped up and it was time for J to hit the open road again. He was hoping to hit 100 miles the next day on his way to Denver to collect his camping gear for the remainder of the journey.
We exchanged Instagram information so that I could follow along with his trip. He promised to visit Kansas City again soon.
The sports massage for cyclists was just what J needed to continue the more than 2,800 mile journey across country.