Massage is a commonly utilized therapy within sports, frequently intended as an ergogenic aid prior to performance. However, evidence as to the efficacy of massage in this respect is lacking, and massage may in some instances reduce force production. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of massage on subsequent 30-m sprint running performance. Male university level repeat sprint sports players volunteered for the study (n = 37). After each of 3 treatment conditions, subjects completed a standardized warm-up followed by three 30-m sprint trials in a counterbalanced crossover design. Treatment conditions were 15 minutes of lower-limb massage (M), 15 minutes of placebo ultrasound (PU), and rest (R). Thirty- meter sprint times were recorded (including 10-m split times) for the 3 trials under each condition. Best times at 10 m (M: 1.85 [degrees] 0.09 seconds, PU: 1.84 +/- 0.11 seconds, R: 1.83 +/- 0.10 seconds) and 30 m (M: 4.41 +/- 0.27 seconds, PU: 4.39 +/- 0.28 seconds, R: 4.39 +/- 0.28 seconds) were not significantly different (p > 0.05). There was no significant treatment, trial, or interaction effect for 10- or 30-m sprint times (p - 0.05). No difference was seen in the location of subjects' best times across the 3 trials (p > 0.05). Relative to placebo or control, the results of this study showed that a controlled 15-minute lower-limb massage administered prior to warm-up had no significant effect on subsequent 30-m sprint performance. Massage remains indicated prior to performance where other benefits, such as reduced muscle spasm and psychological stress, might be served to the athlete.
(C) 2007 National Strength and Conditioning Association