Emergency rooms and doctor’s offices see tens of thousands of people annually due to exercise-related injuries. Some of the most common include tennis elbow, shin splints, carpel tunnel, rotator cuff injuries, and tears to the ACL (the anterior cruciate ligament which connects the femur and tibia).
While you can’t always keep these types of issues from happening, especially if you engage in sports and are sometimes at the mercy of an opponent who slams into you or by making a quick movement that creates unintended strain, there are some things that you can do to make these types of injuries less likely. One of the best involves using a piece of exercise equipment called a massage stick, something that can help tremendously if used after each and every workout.
What Is a Massage Stick?
A massage stick is a long stick that essentially acts as a rolling pin that you use on your muscles to help them elongate and stretch after a grueling workout. And because it places pressure on your muscles, it also helps remove the toxins from your tissues that tend to build up during intense exercise sessions. Both of these together mean better circulation to that area, which also means faster recovery.
Some sticks are smooth, but some of the newer, more innovative massage sticks have spiky points along its shaft instead. This enables them to reach the necessary areas of the muscle more effectively, providing better results. So what types of exercises can you do with a massage stick that can help you prevent injuries?
Massage Stick Exercises
If your goal is to keep the lower half of your body free from injury, one very suitable post-workout exercise is to stand so your knees are slightly bent and roll the stick over your thigh, moving it from your upper knee to approximately your groin area. Roll slowly to help get the tension to release while removing the toxins and improving the circulation at the same time.
You can also release your hamstrings by doing the same movement to the back of your upper legs or your calves by using the stick in these areas. No matter which ones you choose though (or if you do all of them), be sure to use the stick on both sides of your body so you get even results.
The massage stick is also great for preventing upper body injuries as well. For instance, if you feel tension in your neck area, hold one end of the stick in each hand while placing the stick behind your head and against the back of your neck. Slowly roll the stick up and down while looking straight ahead and placing your chin down slightly so it is closer to your chest. After you’re done, turn your head slightly to one side, moving the stick up and down the back of your neck while targeting more of the side muscles. Repeat on the other side.
You can also roll the massage stick over your shoulder area to and clavicle to release any tightness there as well. And if your goal is to avoid injury to your lower back, stand while holding your stick behind you and roll it up and down over the muscles in that area. As an alternative, if you have someone that can assist you, you can also lie down on your front and have someone massage your back for you.
By using a massage stick post-workout, you’ll reduce your injury risk while enhancing your recovery at the same time. That makes this one piece of exercise equipment you don’t want to go without as it can provide multiple benefits after your workout session is complete.