Cycling is a very popular and effective form of cardiovascular exercise. This means that it gets your heart rate up and blood pumping around your body while also working your muscles and burning calories that can help you maintain a strong body and healthy weight. While it’s generally considered to be a whole body workout, cycling primarily works the leg muscles – namely the quads and hamstrings. When you pedal, these muscles contract and release repeatedly, giving them an intense workout that can leave you feeling sore and swollen. There is also a risk that this repeated action can result in injury that could put you out of action for weeks or months.
Here are 5 reasons why cyclists should invest in a massage gun.
In this article, we'll cover:
- The importance of recovery after training
- What is percussion therapy and how does it work?
- Why should I invest in a massage gun?
- What to look for in a massage gun
- How to use a massage gun on quads and hamstrings to improve muscle recovery after cycling
The importance of recovery after training
You can only train hard and achieve your peak performance if you are also giving your body time to recover properly between each ride. This doesn’t only mean abstaining from any further exercise, but also involves a number of other elements. This includes getting enough sleep (quality is just as important as quantity), eating a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet, staying hydrated and using tools and techniques to help your muscles heal and recover.
Unfortunately, many people overlook the importance of recovery after training, putting them at risk of prolonged discomfort and stiffness in the days following each ride. Not focusing on recovery also significantly increases your chances of experiencing an injury. These are sometimes referred to as overtraining syndrome, which occurs when an athlete doesn’t adequately recover after intense training, and can include fatigue, persistent pain, declining performance and injury.
You may be wondering how to repair muscle damage caused by physical exercise. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this, with one of the most popular and effective being muscle recovery tools. A massage gun is a highly valuable muscle recovery tool, and an increasing number of cyclists are now recognising the benefits that they can offer.
Our Pulseroll Massage Gun, used by elite athletes and rehabilitation professionals, utilises percussion therapy to help them recover following their preferred sporting activity. Let’s find out more.
What is percussion therapy and how does it work?
Percussion therapy is a specific type of massage therapy that is designed to target soft tissues and muscles with the intention to soothe them and relieve pain and stiffness. Unlike conventional massage, percussion massage desensitises the soft tissues so that the pulses penetrate the muscles, creating a therapeutic effect without causing the significant pain that often occurs when regular massage is used.
Percussion therapy works by delivering accelerated bursts of pressure into the tissues of the body. This action breaks down knots and tension in the muscles, providing much-needed relief as well as encouraging blood flow so that the area can heal more quickly.
Why should I invest in a massage gun?
If you are wondering why a massage gun should be used for cycling recovery, here are a few reasons to consider investing in a Pulseroll massage gun to help you get back in the saddle after each ride.
- Ease muscle soreness: The greatest benefit of using a massage gun is the relief from the soreness that occurs after a period of exercise. Your massage gun will release any knots and tension in the muscles, enabling them to relax and your pain to reduce. This will help you to recover more quickly and get back on your bike sooner.
- Repairing tissue damage: When you regularly push your body beyond its usual limits, micro-injuries can occur in the muscles that are extremely painful and need to be repaired to prevent muscle weakening and long-term discomfort. Using a massage gun boosts your circulation, driving oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the area to enable the tissue to repair itself more quickly.
- Boosted blood flow: Increasing your circulation has a number of other positive effects. These include improving your muscle- and soft tissue health, increasing your flexibility and range of motion, and improving your overall health and wellness, so that you can continue to live an active lifestyle.
- Deeper penetration than other recovery aids: Massage guns can reach deeper layers of muscle than a foam roller, or even human hands. This enables them to penetrate the deepest knots of tension that can form in your leg muscles following a bike ride and relieve them to reduce your pain and stiffness.
- Perform massage in the comfort of your own home: There’s no need to visit a physiotherapist’s office. Instead, you can enjoy the same benefits at your convenience, in the comfort of your own home.
What to look for in a massage gun:
If you’re ready to buy a massage gun, there are a few things that you should look for. These include the following:
Power and speed
Make sure that you choose a massage gun that gives you choice when it comes to the power and speed of your massage. This will help ensure that you don’t have a massage that is too weak to be of use for muscle recovery after cycling, and that your massage isn’t too intense either.
Variety of heads
Massage guns come with a variety of different shape and size heads. Again, this helps you to tailor your treatment to suit your needs. For example, flat head attachment spreads the pressure applied by the massage gun, while a bullet head penetrates much more deeply.
Lightweight and easy to handle
Since you will be performing the massage on yourself, you need to choose a massage gun that you can handle with just a single arm. Anything too heavy may be too difficult to use. Many people choose our Pulseroll Mini Massage Gun for greater versatility and ease of use.
How to use a massage gun on quads and hamstrings to improve muscle recovery after cycling
Using a massage gun for muscle recovery after cycling couldn’t be easier.
Firstly, choose the correct head attachment. For the quads and hamstrings, a ball attachment is recommended as these are larger muscle groups. However, if you have a particularly tight knot of tension, a bullet head may be more effective. Then turn on your massage gun and choose the appropriate speed setting before you apply it to your body. This will enable you to adjust the pressure based on your personal preferences.
Work the massage gun slowly and methodically across all of the muscle fibers of the affected area. Start by moving from side to side, then when the entire muscle has been covered, switch to back and forth. Don’t spend more than two minutes doing this before you take a break. If there are any areas that are too tender to tolerate, focus your attention on massaging the muscles around it, moving in towards it to encourage blood flow to the tension spot.
You should ideally use your massage gun within an hour of your training ride to obtain the greatest benefits from it. However, you can use your massage gun at any point. There are also no limits on how often you use it, but once per day should be sufficient or you run the risk of overdoing it and causing more pain or damage.