It feels amazing to push ourselves beyond our limits – to hit that personal best mile mark, or go on a long ride with friends that we never thought we’d be able to accomplish.
The flip side? Pushing ourselves can leave us feeling sore and stiff the next day. The good news is that there’s an easy fix to ease the pain, and it only takes a few minutes of simple massage.
Be Your Own Masseuse
As fantastic as it would be to have a dedicated personal masseuse to greet us at the end of a long ride, most of us don’t have that luxury – but we do have the ability to work on our own muscles with foam rollers and other personal massage tools.
Your muscles get damaged and torn during hard rides, and they get filled with residual waste product from training. Rolling them back and forth on a foam roller helps expel lactic acid and break down adhesions and scar tissue so that your muscles heal properly and get stronger.
How to use a foam roller
Use the weight of your body to roll back and forth over painful or overworked areas, spending extra time anywhere a knot seems to have formed. Give your muscles a good stretch after using the roller to work out the rest of the kinks and release tension.
You can find a series of great exercises for hamstrings, glutes, quads, and more at Bicycling.com.
GoFit Massage Roller
Traditional foam rollers can break down over time, which is why companies like GoFit have started to design grid massage rollers made of dense closed-cell foam wrapped around a hard plastic core. The patterns of grooves and knobs are meant to massage your deep tissue and the rollers last longer.
The open-ended design lets you use it for core exercises, and it’s lightweight so you can throw it in your bag and use it at the hotel when you travel.
Trigger Point Quadballer and Performance Cold Roller
Trigger Point, maker of the original GRID® foam rollers, also makes these convex rollers designed to target muscle bands in your quads, calves, lower back, and neck. The solid core is covered by layers of fabric designed to have the same give and suppleness as a human hand.
Their unique Cold Roller has a stainless steel body and Gel Core that stays cold.
The aggressive lugs on the Rumble Roller are designed to stretch muscles and soft tissues in different directions, giving you a deep tissue massage that should really work out trouble spots.
Power Systems High Density Foam Roller
Classic foam roller like this one from Power Systems are a great way to massage your whole body. They come in multiple widths and lengths, which can be great if you want to use them for core exercises, too.
Trigger Point Massage Ball
If you’re looking for targeted deep tissue massage in your legs or shoulders, Trigger Point has a soft massage ball wrapped in the same fabric as their Quadroller. Place the ball on the floor or against the wall and use your body weight to roll it around over knots.
You can also just use a tennis ball, or even a golf ball for hyper-targeted massage or reflexology-style foot massage.
How Do You Work it Out?
Do you have any favorite self-massage tools? Let us know in the comments below.
Jessie Kwak is a writer who loves to type about the good life: travel, outdoor adventures, food and drink, and (of course) cycling. You can find her at Bictoro: Bikes and Crafts.