The Effect of Sports Massage on Recovery Following Plyometric Training
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: There is limited previous research into the effect of sports massage on recovery from plyometric exercise, proposing a need for a study in this area. The research into the mechanical effects and benefits of massage has produced inconclusive and contrasting results, with no definite reason discovered. Plyometric training was chosen in order to ensure indices of muscle damage. Objective: To investigate the effect of sports massage on psychological and physiological aspects of recovery following a plyometric training session. Method: 4 male and 8 female undergraduates voluntarily participated in the study, with mean (±) standard deviation for age, weight and height: 20.92 ± 0.9 years, 70.11 ± 15.6 kg and 170.93 ± 8.18 cm. Participants completed the plyometric session and either received a 15 minute sports massage or were asked to carry out passive recovery. They then returned 24hrs and 48hrs post-exercise for testing, where they were asked to rate their perceived muscle soreness on a Visual Analogue Scale, and complete the submaximal hopping test. This was then repeated seven days later, however in a counter-balanced design the recovery methods were reversed. Results: Massage resulted in a significant difference between pre-exercise and 24hrs postexercise in all three muscle groups. Massage also resulted in a significant difference between pre-exercise and 48hrs post-exercise in the quadriceps and calves. However, there was no significant difference between either time groups following passive recovery. There was also no significant difference observed between either time groups in absolute or relative leg stiffness values. Conclusion: Sports massage administered immediately post-exercise had an adverse effect on psychological parameters of recovery, and had no beneficial effect on physiological factors. Further research is required in order to compare sports massage to other recovery methods in order to determine the most effective.
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