Including Stretches to a Massage Routine Improves Recovery From Official Matches in Basketball Players

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Including Stretches to a Massage Routine Improves Recovery From Official Matches in Basketball Players

– THE JOURNAL OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING RESEARCH · MARCH 2014

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of incorporating stretches into a massage recovery treatment after a competitive basketball match on perceptual and physical markers of recovery. 9 men and 8 women who are national-level basketball players. Exclusion criteria were injury in the previous 6 months, and the presence of current medical treatment or nutritional supplements that could affect muscle function and recovery. Inclusion criteria involved being a starting player and have a match playing time greater than 25 minutes.

The participant received either a

  • massage,
  • massage and stretching,
  • no treatment

immediately after a competitive match.

The perception of overall fatigue and leg soreness was assessed immediately after the treatment and 24 hours later, whereas countermovement jump (CMJ) and repeated sprint ability (RSA) were tested 24 hours after the treatment.

Results

Skærmbillede 2015-12-14 kl. 14.01.49Compared with massage, massage and stretching induced lower perception of leg soreness immediately only in women whereas a longer lasting effect was observed in men, with a difference between treatments reported after 24 hours. Furthermore, both treatments resulted in a better CMJ performance compared with the control condition in men only. Massage and stretching involved a lower performance decrement during RSA compared with massage in women only. The results suggest that women benefit slightly more from the combination treatment than men, and therefore this type of recovery intervention should be adopted by physiotherapists working with women teams in particular.

Conclusion

The main findings showed that incorporating stretches into a massage routine immediately after an official basketball match resulted in lower perception of leg soreness and better repeated sprint performance compared with a classical sports massage. Although both massage treatments improved CMJ performance in men. In addition, perception of leg soreness after 24 hours was improved in men only, and the performance decrement during repeated sprint was better in women only.

Interestingly, there was an interaction between sex, treat- ment and time on the perception of leg soreness in the present study, with better immediate effects of the combination intervention compared with massage alone in women, and better benefits of the combination compared with massage alone in men after 24 hours only.

Psychological perception of fatigue is an important factor to take into account because it could influence players’ behavior and choices during competition if they do not feel rested.

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