The high volume and high intensity associated with training of strength and power athletes often leads to short- and long-term fatigue. Current research shows manual massage has little, if any, beneficial effects. Types of massage evaluated are manual massage, including effleurage, pettrisage, tapotement, and underwater water-jet massage (UWWJM). Dependent variables evaluated include strength and power performance variables, muscle damage, and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Studies evaluating the effects of manual massage have been fraught with methodological errors. Failure to standardize treatment protocol, including type, duration, and time course of massage, has limited the value of research to this point. Eccentric exercise protocols have been used to induce DOMS; however, this is not reflective of how strength and power athletes train. Although positive effects of UWWJM have been reported, future study is required to determine the reliability and validity of the results. Future efforts to study massage should focus on evaluating performance variables and muscle damage rather than DOMS, using realistic training programs over a longer time span.
Loren Z. Chiu, BHK, CSCS, is pursuing a Master's degree at The University of Memphis. Previously, he completed the Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree at the University of British Columbia. Loren is a competitive weightlifter and has qualified to compete at the national level in Canada.
Lawrence W. Weiss, EdD, FACSM, FRC, CSCS, *D, is a professor of Human Movement Sciences and Education and the director of the Human Performance Laboratories at The University of Memphis.
Andrew C. Fry, PhD, CSCS, is an associate professor in Human Movement Sciences and Education and the director of the Exercise Biochemistry Laboratory at The University of Memphis. He has previously served as the chair of USA Weightlifting's Sports Science committee and is a member of the NSCA research committee.
© 2001 National Strength and Conditioning Association