Post-workout Massage

Author: Wildfire Sports & Trek  Date Posted: 31 January 2024

To further your recovery, taking some time post-workout to focus on specific muscles that you worked can help remove tension, reduce the possibility of injury, increase flexibility, and also be very relaxing.

Post-workout routines can involve a cool down, a recovery food or drink and hopefully some good stretching. To further your recovery, taking some time to focus on specific muscles that you worked can help remove tension, reduce the possibility of injury, increase flexibility, and also be very relaxing. 

You don’t necessarily need special oils or calming music playing, but focussing on working through these basic massage techniques and developing a massage routine can take your process to another level.

Effleurage (Strokes):

  • Technique: long, smooth strokes using the palms, thumbs, or fingertips. The movement is typically in the direction of the heart to aid in blood circulation.
  • Purpose: effleurage is often used at the beginning and end of a massage. It warms up the muscles, stimulates the nervous system, and helps in lymphatic drainage.

Petrissage (Kneading):

  • Technique: lifting, rolling, and squeezing the muscles, often with a bit more pressure than effleurage.
  • Purpose: petrissage helps in breaking down knots and relieving tension in the muscles. It also enhances circulation, which brings more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.


  • Technique: this involves pressing the muscles against the underlying bone with hands, forearms, or elbows.
  • Purpose: compression helps in improving circulation and preparing the muscles for deeper massage work.


  • Technique: deep, circular movements using the fingertips, thumbs, or elbows. It's used in areas with muscle adhesions or tightness.
  • Purpose: this technique is beneficial for breaking up scar tissue and muscle knots. It can be intense but helps in promoting flexibility and healing.

Tapotement (Percussion):

  • Technique: rhythmic percussive movements, like chopping or cupping, with the hands over different muscle areas.
  • Purpose: tapotement is stimulating and invigorating. It can increase local circulation and can be beneficial at the end of the massage to wake up the muscles.
  • Percussive therapy devices are incredibly useful for maintaining a continuous movement, with adjustable speed and attachments to suit your pressure preferences.


  • Technique: gentle stretching can be integrated into the massage. It involves moving the limbs and body into stretches that target specific muscle groups.
  • Purpose: stretching helps in increasing flexibility and range of motion. It also aids in muscle recovery.


The above techniques are great for muscles you can easily reach, or if you have a partner to assist. But what about when you need a massage where you can’t reach?

Self-myofascial release; using foam rollers or massage balls can help relieve muscle tightness, soreness, and inflammation, and increase your joint range of motion. Never used one before? Here's a basic guide on how to use a foam roller.

Choosing the Right Foam Roller:

  • Density: foam rollers come in varying densities. A softer roller is more suitable for beginners, while a denser roller provides a deeper, more intense massage.
  • Size: larger rollers are great for bigger areas like your back, while smaller rollers or massage balls are good for targeting smaller areas.


  • Start slow: begin with light pressure and slowly increase as your muscles start to warm up and relax.
  • Roll back and forth: position the foam roller under the targeted muscle group and slowly roll back and forth. This motion helps to break up adhesions and scar tissue.

Common Areas to Foam Roll:

  • Calves: place the roller under your calves and roll from the ankle to below the knee.
  • IT band: lie on your side with the roller near your hip and roll down towards your knee.
  • Quadriceps: lie face down with the roller placed under your thighs, and roll up and down from the bottom of your hip to the top of your knee.
  • Back: place the roller under your upper back, cross your arms in front of you, and gently roll up and down.

Time and Duration:

  • Each session: spend about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each muscle group. 
  • Frequency: you can use a foam roller as part of your daily routine or a few times a week, depending on your need and comfort level.

Safety Tips:

  • Avoid rolling over joints and bones: focus on the muscle tissue and avoid rolling directly over bone or joints.
  • Avoid lower back: rolling the lower back can create spinal pressure; instead, focus on the upper back.
  • Listen to your body: if something feels too painful or uncomfortable, adjust your position or reduce the pressure.

Bonus Tips:

  • Deep breathing: remember to breathe deeply while rolling, as this helps to reduce tension and ease pain.
  • Water: it's important to stay hydrated after a massage to speed up recovery and help flush out any toxins released from the muscles.


Remember, when performing a massage, always be mindful of the pressure you apply. It should be firm enough to be effective but not so hard that it causes pain or discomfort. It's normal to feel some soreness after foam rolling, but if you experience sharp pain or significant discomfort, it's best to stop and consult a professional. Regular use of a foam roller can greatly assist in muscle recovery, flexibility, and overall well-being.

If you're new to massage or have specific muscular issues, consulting with a professional massage therapist is recommended.

Relax and enjoy!