woman getting massage before or after workout
Health and Wellness

Should I Get a Massage Before or After Workout?

Jun 06, 2023

Whether you're an athlete or a casually active individual, incorporating massage into your workout routine can be highly beneficial. However, the question arises: should you get a massage before or after a workout? The reasons to workout before or after massage will depend on several factors including workout intensity, type of workout, your available time, personal recovery needs, and more.

Today, we’re looking at getting a massage before or after workout routines. We’ll help you determine which is right for you (it may be both), the benefits of each, and the best types of massage before or after workout routines to keep your body in optimal condition.

Doing a Workout Before or After Massage: What to Consider

Deciding whether it’s better to get a massage before or after workout routines—or maybe both—will vary from person to person. Pre- and post-workout care is as personal as the most effective workout, with different bodies having different requirements to stay in top shape.

Some of the considerations for doing a workout before or after massage should include:

  • Workout intensity: The intensity of your exercise plays a crucial role in determining whether to get a massage before or after workout routines. Intense workouts, such as weightlifting or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), may benefit from a pre-workout massage to loosen up muscle groups and prepare them for upcoming use. On the other hand, low-intensity workouts like yoga or light cardio may benefit more from post-workout massage to continue the deep stretching and keep muscles loosened.
  • Type of workout: The specific type of workout also influences the timing of your massage. For activities involving repetitive motions or high impact, a pre-workout massage can help increase blood flow, warm up muscles, and enhance flexibility. This is ideal for preventing accidental injuries due to overexertion. Post-workout massages can aid in reducing muscle soreness and promoting recovery, keeping muscles from seizing.
  • Time availability: Consider your schedule and the time available to get a massage before or after workout routines. If you have limited time before exercising, a post-workout massage may be more practical. Conversely, if you have ample time before your workout, a pre-workout massage might help you mentally and physically prepare for it.
  • Personal recovery needs: It’s vital that you pay attention to your body's individual recovery needs when determining if you should get a massage before or after workout routines. If you tend to experience muscle tightness or stiffness after workouts, a post-workout massage can aid in releasing tension and promoting relaxation. If your body tends to experience muscle tightness before exercising, a pre-workout massage can be beneficial for improving range of motion and preventing injuries.

So, can you workout after a massage? ​​While massages are typically safe and beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels, it’s important to be mindful of your intended exercise when pairing them with a workout. For example, while there are plenty of deep tissue massage benefits, some individuals may experience temporary muscle soreness or fatigue afterward. This can negatively impact performance during a workout, which could result in accidental injury or exertion if not taken into account.

What Kind of Massage Before or After Workout?

Choosing the right type of massage before or after workout routines is essential for supporting performance, aiding in recovery, and promoting overall well-being. Whether you’re wanting to prepare your muscles for physical activity or alleviate post-workout muscle soreness, choosing the right kind of massage and massage tool can enhance your workout experience plus contribute to a faster, more effective recovery.

Pre-Workout Massage

Before a workout, you’ll want to choose a massage technique that helps warm up muscles, increase circulation, and enhance flexibility. A few different types of massages that are ideal for before workouts are:

  • Swedish massage: This gentle and relaxing massage technique uses long, flowing strokes to increase blood flow, loosen muscles, and promote relaxation. Swedish massage is an excellent choice for a pre-workout massage as it helps improve flexibility, which may increase injury prevention and overall performance. 
  • Gentle sports massage: Perfect for athletes and active individuals, sports massage focuses on working specific muscle groups and areas of tension. While it can include various techniques such as deep tissue massage, stretching, and joint mobilization, it’s best to choose a light intensity sports massage if getting one before a workout. Done gently, sports massage before a workout can help improve flexibility, range of motion, and muscle readiness.
  • Dynamic stretching: While not a traditional massage, dynamic stretching techniques involve moving the muscles and joints through a controlled range of motion. This type of warm-up routine helps improve muscle elasticity and prepares the body for physical exertion.

Post-Workout Massage

After a workout, the main focus of a massage is recovery. You want to reduce muscle soreness and promote relaxation for your body. A few massage techniques for post-workout sessions may include:

  • Deep tissue massage: This technique targets deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues to release muscle tension. Deep tissue massage can help alleviate muscle soreness and tightness after a workout. It is particularly effective in targeting specific areas of discomfort or post-exercise muscle knots.
  • Shiatsu massage: After a rigorous workout, a shiatsu massage can be highly beneficial. Shiatsu massage focuses on applying pressure to specific points in order to release muscle tension, reduce soreness, and promote relaxation. It targets key areas of the body, aiding in the recovery process by improving circulation, stimulating the lymphatic system, and boosting energy levels.
  • Lymphatic drainage self massage: Lymphatic drainage self massage focuses on stimulating the lymphatic system to remove waste products and toxins from the body. By gently massaging specific areas and using light, rhythmic strokes, you can help enhance lymphatic flow and reduce post-workout inflammation and swelling. 

Tools for Massage Before or After Workout Routines

Getting a massage before or after workout routines doesn’t mean you have to have set appointments with a traditional massage therapist. Not only is this difficult to fit into any busy schedule, it’s also financially impractical if you’re exercising multiple times a week. Instead, many athletes and active individuals have turned to tools like massage guns or a luxury massage chair. 

Massage tools like massage guns and massage chairs offer convenient alternatives to traditional massages, allowing you to experience the benefits of massage therapy at home. Both can be used before or after workouts, depending on personal preference and needs.

Using a massage gun before or after workout routines applies percussive therapy. They can be used as part of a pre-workout routine to warm up muscles, increase blood flow, and enhance range of motion. After a workout, you can use a massage gun to keep muscles loose and workout out any tightness or soreness you might be experiencing. Different attachments are recommended for various parts of the body.

If a massage gun before or after workout routines is nice for small areas, using a massage chair is great for taking care of your entire body at once. Luxury massage chairs are particularly beneficial post-workout, offering a full-body massage experience that can target multiple areas simultaneously. They provide a wide variety of benefits including relaxation, pain relief, and improved circulation—all contributing to a faster recovery.

Bonus massage chair features like zero gravity reclining capabilities and heat therapy make the massage chair benefits for athletes extremely useful. More convenient and practical than making constant post-workout appointments with a massage therapist, these chairs can be adjusted in technique and intensity to meet your needs each use.

Have you been wondering if you should get a massage before or after workout routines? The answer is you may benefit from both. Take into consideration your body’s needs, the intensity of your workout, and a post-workout recovery plan to choose the right time to get your massage. Incorporating massage into your physical activity routines will help keep you in optimal condition at all times.

Massage chairs are some of the best recovery tools for athletes. Take the time to compare different massage chair models and see which is right for you.
Related Articles

How to Improve Digestion Naturally at Home

Read more

What is a Chair Massage?

Read more

How to Increase HRV (Heart Rate Variability)

Read more

Benefits of Massage for Seniors At Home

Read more