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Massages are a great way to aid muscle recovery and immunity, but it’s not as easy for an average guy to stick to a massage routine as it is for elite athletes. That being said, don’t let that stop you from benefitting from this tried-and-true recovery method.
If getting a massage every time your muscles could use a recovery boost isn’t in your budget, you’re not out of luck. Try these at-home, self-massage techniques to relax and refresh tired muscles.
“Start by applying lotion or oil, and massage in long strokes,” says P.J. Hair, a massage therapist who’s worked with Olympic athletes. “Locate areas that feel tight or tender, then apply pressure to them. You’re essentially holding a trigger point. Breathe into it so your body relaxes. Once you feel the muscle release, press deeper until it softens.”
“Research shows that slightly softer rollers—the foam kind, without the PVC core—are more effective,” Hair says. “If you create too much pressure with a harder roller, the muscles get protective and tighten. Be sure to avoid pain—it’s a misconception that pain is good. If you’re doing self-massage and it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.”