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Pro athletes often have pro massage peeps who follow them around, ready to lend a hand (or two) to keep their muscles pliable and prevent a sports injury. Unfortunately, the average gal's bankroll doesn't accommodate such upkeep. Which is why we love the concept of DIY self massage. "Self massage can iron out knots in the tissue," says Joe Dowdell, C.S.C.S., owner of NYC's Peak Performance." Once the knots are out, the muscle can build strength more efficiently." Try these strategies from Ironman competitor Rich Poley, author of Self Massage for Athletes. They're well worth the finger cramps.
The Technique - Gliding
Apply It: Pre-workout
Best For: Any muscle you can reach
Do It: Place your palm over the muscle group you're targeting. Keep your four fingers together but your thumb a few inches away so your thumb and index finger form a V. Glide your hand up and down the muscle, applying just enough pressure to indent your skin. Do between five and 50 strokes, until you feel a warming sensation in the muscle.