Massages and recovery

Recovery is essential to getting huge. It’s needed to replenish energy stores, help repair damaged muscle and allow the nervous system to recover. Recovery is generally considered to be rest, sleep, proper eating and not much else. However, other methods allow you to recover from an intense session, such as active recovery, stretching, icing and even massages by a therapist. Massages are great for relaxation and overall well-being, but do they have a place in a bodybuilder’s methods of recovery?

Researchers questioned if massages help improve overall performance and aid recovery after a session at the gym. What they concluded was that massages help reduce the perceived pain of delayed onsite muscle soreness (DOMS), the general dull achiness that sets in about a day after you train. The massage does not improve the performance of the muscle however, so one’s strength isn’t fully recovered.


One shouldn’t write off massages. They still have their purpose in a bodybuilder’s recovery arsenal. They help loosen tight muscles, allowing muscles to perform better and helping remove lactic acid and other junk from them. Just don’t expect to go back with full functionality after a massage.


Hilbert J, Sforzo G, Swensen T. The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness. Br J Sports Med. 2003;37(1):72-75.

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