Percussive Therapy for Football Players
Arguably the most rigorous collision sport, football is as physically demanding as aesthetically entertaining. Staying fit all the time is of the essence. American football is a sporting activity that engages virtually all the muscles in the body. These muscles include the lower body muscles, the core muscles, and the higher body muscles.
A sport that involves almost every other muscle movement is easily susceptible to muscle injury or fatigue from either running, jumping, twisting, stretching, kicking, throwing, pushing blocking, catching/holding, and bending. The major muscles engaged are the arm muscles (biceps and triceps), the core muscles, shoulder (deltoid) muscles, chest (pectoral) muscles, the gluteal muscles, the quads, the hamstrings, the calves, and the Achilles.
One-time AFL all-star defensive lineman, Dan Birdwell, who played for the defunct Oakland Riders back in the 60s, famously tried to asseverate the needed mindset on the football field, quite comically. In his own words:
"You have to play this game like somebody just hit your mother with a two by four."
– Dan Birdwell
Benefits of Percussive Therapy to Football Players
- Reduces the risks of reoccurrence of knee injury: Knee injuries are the most re-occurring injury in the American football sport. Many times, while on the field, circumstances will demand that you make sudden twists, sharp turns, and Lombardi-Esque burst of speed. all these can create a sudden impact on the knee muscles that most times leads to internal muscle tear.
Using a massage gun saves you the stress and cost of booking an appointment with a physical therapist. It also amazingly delivers massages just as effective as having a physical massage. Using the massage gun carefully around the knee cap, avoiding cuts with the knee cap bone l, helps to prevent this injury, speed its recovery, and reduce the chances of the injury re-occurring.
Relating to a muscle tear, it is advisable to wait for three to four days before applying the massage gun to the area. However, this doesn’t stop you from applying the massage gun on other areas of your body even on areas close to where the tear is.
- Reduces the growth and formation of Scar tissues: Scar tissue is a mass of tissues that naturally forms where an injury on the skin has occurred before and now healed. Usually, the forming of scar tissue is an important part of the process of healing the body. Nevertheless, it can be disfiguring and irritating as its obvious appearance makes it stand out on our skin in times in an ugly fashion.
Can Massage Gun Help to Get Rid of scar tissues?
Yes, it can! Firstly, using a round ball is recommended. A bullet head is also recommended if you are careful enough to watch out for the knee cap and surrounding nerves and bones. When applying it to the area, you could tilt the massage gun sideways to allow the side of the ball to come in contact with the body. This achieves a similar result to the cross-friction physical hand massage as it gradually breaks up the scar tissues.
- Relieves and loosens the Quadriceps and hamstrings: The quadriceps (popularly called the quads) consist of four muscles located at the front of the thighs. The quads are regarded as the strongest muscle in the human body. The muscle helps to extend the knee when walking or running. It works alternatively with the hamstrings (as the quads contract, the hamstrings expand, and vice versa).
All four quad muscles: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius are in synchronization with the hamstring muscles and play an indispensable role in stabilizing a football player and giving them a propelling power base. These muscles also act as shock absorbers. Nonetheless, failure to keep these muscles from getting injured, or reducing their injury propensity can have a fatal impact on the footballer who already has plans, hopes, and goals for the game.
Due to their potential role in football players, the quads and hamstrings often get sore and sometimes tear. However, applying a massage gun on the hamstrings and quadriceps helps to get rid of every accumulation of toxins and lactic acid residues. This brings about relaxation and comfort to the football player. Finally, it also helps to build up resistance and resilience against the reoccurrence of muscle strains, soreness, stress, and tear.
- Relieves the core muscles: Muscles in this section include the upper and lower abdominal muscles, the lower back, the obliques, and the rectus abdominis (“6 packs” if you like). The core muscles can be regarded as the foundation on which every other muscle functions. This serves as the joining point between the upper body and the lower body. Hence, any injury on any of the core muscles will result in a huge deficiency and set-back for the football player. The core muscles are responsible for several actions and movement of the player on the field.
Weakness and pain in the core muscles can be a result of so many factors, a reoccurring one of which is known as the "delayed-onset muscle soreness" (DOMS), a type of muscle soreness that occurs usually after an intense period of overtraining, inadequate rest, and wrong application of drills, and an abrupt change in training mechanisms can persist for up to three to four days. However, as unavoidable as this aftermath soreness and pain are to every athlete, their occurrence can be reduced drastically to a significant minimum.
Making use of the massage gun on the core muscles (among many other benefits) reduces the incidence of the "delayed-onset muscle soreness" and additionally breaks up accumulated toxins and debris present in the upper and lower abs (abdominals) and lower back, thereby increasing the rate of blood flow into these areas. This results in a huge feeling of relief, comfort, and relaxation. The benefits of a massage gun cannot be overemphasized.
- The glute muscles: Also known as the gluteal muscle. They are the muscles present in the buttocks and assist primarily in the proper functioning of the hip flexor muscles and every other muscle involved in playing football. The glutes though easily overlooked, but make no mistake, it does perform many important roles in an athlete especially when running and pushing.
A weak or injured glute is often obviously noticed by the resulting unbalanced gallop walking sequence of the player. The massage gun serves you at your comfort with less stress, as it gently but vigorously pounds on the glute muscles, loosening every muscle tightness and knots, improving oxygen and nutrients supply, as well as blood and lymph flow to the glutes, which ultimately improves the propelling power and efficiency of the runner on the field.
- The shoulders: This part of the body for an American football player is one of the parts of the body that is most engaged in collisions. Although American football players are always in shoulder pads for protection, they still sustain several shoulders and pectoral injuries ranging from mild/minor injuries that require hours of rest, to severe and fatal injuries that require intensive medical attention.
Although major hip injuries have been identified to be bone fractures and joint dislocation, many also suffer from shoulder muscle injuries including shoulder muscle strains, sprains, muscle contusions, and tear. Massage gun plays a huge role in speeding up the recovery rate, and alleviating severe pain at that moment, as it is applied on the surrounding body area, therefore getting the player back on his feet and into the field in no time.
Massage guns present a major advancement in percussive therapy and can go a long way in improving muscle health of football players, pre-workout routine, as well as DOMS after a training session, or a football match.