Sports Massage for Climbers- Up Your Performance and Reduce Your Recovery Time

Want to recover quicker?! Perform better?! Climb Harder?!

We thought so. Now, we may not be as good looking as those bronzed bombshells in the Luxury Spa venues, and I can almost guarantee you will never hear whale music being played in The Climbing Physio Clinic, but we do pride ourselves in our ability to provide effective sports massage and therapeutic massage. Here’s how sports massage can benefit climbers and other athletes alike.

Massage lowers the muscle soreness felt post exercise(1), allowing you to increase your training intensity and make better progress with your climbing goals. This, for climbers, may be soreness felt in the forearms, shoulders and often upper back and neck either the evening following a climb or the day after. In scientific studies, those who did not have massage had much higher levels of soreness compared to those who did.

Massage has also been proven to relieve low to moderate pain(2) So if you are struggling with a niggle; perhaps an overuse injury, muscle strain or cramp like symptoms following a session at the wall then a massage may help to ease the discomfort in those early stages.

Research has demonstrated that massage can influence athletic performance too, improving your speed in shuttle runs and vertical jump height(3) (you guessed it… Dynos!); allowing you to finally top that project or stick the hold that was just out of reach.

It also improves how you feel after exercise, enhancing your recovery(2). This can benefit your training program, or simply stop those groans every time you stand up from your desk at work to make a cup of tea! How? Because massage ‘calms down’ the nervous system and reduces the excitability of muscles, lessening stiffness and muscle cramps(2).

This is also true in specific physiotherapy massage techniques to reduce the excitability of flexor muscles in the forearm(4) which are often overworked and struggle to recover in climbing.

Finally… Massage gives you an emotional boost and feeling of well-being(2), so we say why not treat yourself once in a while to help you through life’s stresses and the daily grind.

Not sure what a sports massage or massage entails? It is a bunch of fancy French words – effleurage, petrissage and tapotement used in combination to improve blood flow, aid in the drainage of the body’s waste products (like lactic acid), restore mobility between tissue interfaces, increase extensibility and strength of connective tissue and reduce the signals sent by the nervous system of pain and stiffness(5).

If you want to know more or have any questions about sports massage and if it could help you, feel free to send us an email or pop into the clinic… even grab us while we are climbing we are happy to go Physio Geek on you to help you climb harder and recover better.

Prevent | Progress | Perform



  1. Hilbert, J. E., Sforzo, G. A. & Swensen, T. 2003. The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37, 72-75.
  2. Hausswirth, C., Mujika, I. (2013). Massage Performance and Injury. In: Recovery for Performance in Sport. Human Kinetics
  3. Mancinelli, C. A., Davis, D. S., Aboulhosn, L., Brady, M., Eisenhofer, J. & Foutty, S. 2006. The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness and physical performance in female collegiate athletes. Physical Therapy in Sport, 7, 5-13
  4. Lee, H.-M., Wu, S.-K. & You, J.-Y. 2009. Quantitative application of transverse friction massage and its neurological effects on flexor carpi radialis. Manual Therapy, 14, 501-507.
  5. Holey, E., Cook, E. (2003). Evidence-based Therapeutic Massage: A Practical Guide for Therapists. 2nd ed. London: Churchill Livingstone.