T Nation

Massage: After Training or Off Day?


So im just curious because the only massages I've ever gotten have been from girl friends (oh and a prostitute in Dom Republic once...LOL). But my current Girl just gave me a Spa package (90 minute massage, 30 minute facial [NO HOMO])for my Bday cause shes always giving me massages due to my frequent aches and soreness.

I know to get a Sports massage for obvious reasons but my question is this, SHOULD I GET THE MASSAGE ON A DAY I TRAIN SEVERAL HOURS AFTER OR ON A COMPLETE OFF TRAINING DAY? The only days i take off from training are days i work (paramedic 24on/48off) so this would mean an extra day off than what im used to.

Any suggestions....?


I don't know what's best but my idea is to get it a day or more AFTER a hard workout or a string of hard workouts, my thinking being that you've beaten up the muscles and let them recover to a degree and now it's time from them to get a present.


I would say on a recovery day.


Yea i've been pretty much leaning towards on a good recovery day, jus kinda wanted a second opinion from anyone whom might have known more than me

thx fellas


Take it after the workout. The deep tissue massage, if done well, should break up scar tissue to the point where it breaks up blood vessels. The skin on that area worked might even get purple. Usually it takes a few days for that to clear up, and the goal with this is to let it clear up so the muscle tissue can recover.

So use that off day to just do nothing and let the scar tissue heal up. If you do it on the off day, you are likely lifting the next day right? You don't want to lift and break scar tissue before the broken scar tissue from the massage is even recovered. I know that was long-winded and explained horribly but I took 600mg of caffeine pills earlier and that is fucking me up right now, haha.


Definitely on recovery days. You are more prone to have muscle soreness on those days, which is a great tool for telling the therapist exactly where you need the most work.


Even better probably, is if you ever deload, to do it then


Massage Therapist chiming in.

-Don't ask for sports massage. It's not what you want based on what you described.

-If your massage is enough to change the color of your skin longer than twenty or thirty minutes, it is enough to screw up your work outs for the next 48-72 hours at least

-I prefer receiving massages as late as possible on a training day or early on a recovery day. I like maximal time for my body to appreciate the massage before training again (and generally undoing all the work I just paid someone to do)

-If you are chronically having mobility issues or repetitive injuries, find an orthopedic or neuromuscular massage therapist

For when to schedule a massage:
-Flowing, relaxing techniques can be done anytime just for the benefit of circulation to the muscles if you are not training in the next several hours.
-Deep Tissue or Neuromuscular techniques should not be performed at least 3 days prior to training as they change your body's movement patterns, compensation patterns, and proprioception.

Start at the beginning


Don't give advice, massages should never been doen after training.


...care to expand? I've had both (after lifting, on recovery day), I think post-lifting is way better.


I've read that certain types of massage before training(how long before I'm not so sure) can impair performance, and that some can also improve performance. I'm sure the massage therapist that posted knows more on this that I do.

What is the reason for not getting post-workout massage Marzouk?


Sorry if i came off rude, wasnt my intention.

The pain after lifting is pretty much caused by lactic acid that is the muscle. A few studies have shown that active recovery removes a lot more lactates from the blood and from the muscle than massage. basically during massage the specific muscle being massaged has the blood flow reduced which impairs the body's ability to remove the lactic acid and therefore prolonging the pain.

Don't get me wrong i love having massages but after a workout it isn't beneficial. And i'm pretty sure pummelling the hell out of muscle fibres that are torn up isn't guna aid recovery.


There is no question that active recovery is the best thing for muscles full of lactic acid. A properly done massage can increase or decrease blood flow, depending on the type given. You won't find anyone digging in with their elbow or really beating the tar out of you while still improving blood flow. To increase that, you need less pressure with more speed.

Lymph Drainage applied by a sports-oriented therapist would help tremendously with fluid movement. Someone well trained in Kinesio-Taping would probably be the best inactive thing you could do for blood flow/nutrient delivery/lactic acid removal.

Deep Tissue, Neuromuscular Therapy, Myofascial Release, Myoskeletal Alignment, and Trigger Point treatments can and usually will decrease your work out abilities. They all do so because if done right, each modality will change your motor patterns, your compensation patterns, your propioception, your range of motion, and even power generation.

All of them are great styles and need to be done to bring your body into an optimal, neutral, balanced posture and movement. Don't be afraid of these styles, just accept that when you improve your body through therapy, it takes a few days before you see improvements.


Another massage therapist here. Physiologically the only thing regarding a massage that will effect you enough to notice anything different in training is if the therapist goes too hard and you end up sore, thereby having legs that are too sore too put weights on or a back too sore to Deadlift with. Massage is great for assisting fluid movement in the skin and just below it, assisting scar tissue remodeling and also neural reporting, but it is not going to make your muscles 'weaker' or 'stronger' and it will not affect lactate removal to any level that is measurable at all.

Get a massage before or after training, whichever suits you best. Everyone responds differently and some people get sore from training or massage and some don't. I think in all honesty it is a question only you can answer yourself by seeing what works better for you and finding a therapist that knows what they are doing.

Studies on muscle strength and massage

Studies on lactate removal



As another LMT and Advanced Educator of Massage and skincare, Well said. Never should the point of massage be to cause bruising, pain or discomfort. That being said, sometimes is a by product and it happens, but do not let them tell you "Oh, you need it." - Seek another LMT.

In between professional massages, use a foam roller to break up the fascia and scar tissue, while increasing the circulation to the tissue.

Remember, More is More. You dont go the gym once a month and expect gains...
Get at least a 30 min massage, once a week/biweekly. It beats 1 hr, once a month.

Good Luck.


Pain after training is not from lactic acid, its called an injury. If by pain you mean soreness, that isn't lactic acid either.

Massage does not limit blood flow, it increases it by bringing attention to the afflicted/treated area... Thereby excelling healing.

Speaking of not giving advice...