Different Sports Massage Techniques: An In-Depth Guide

by | Apr 29, 2022


April, 2022

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, you can definitely rip off the benefits of sports massage. Sports massage is a great way to prevent and treat injuries and speed up healing time. But what are the different sports massage techniques? And which one is right for you? Keep reading to learn more!

Primary Sports Massage Techniques


Effleurage is a light, strokes sports massage technique typically used as the first step in a sports massage. Effleurage aims to warm up the muscles and prepare them for more profound tissue work. Effleurage is usually done with the palms or fingertips, using long, gliding strokes in the direction of blood flow.

Effleurage is a versatile sports massage therapy technique that can be used for various purposes. In addition to warming up the muscles, you can also use effleurage to help relax the body, increase circulation, relieve delayed onset muscle soreness, and improve lymphatic drainage.


Petrissage is a type of sports massage that is used to release muscle knots and tension. It is a deeper, more intensive form of massage than Swedish massage and is often used to target specific problem areas.

Petrissage involves the massage therapist using their hands to knead or “milk” the muscles, working out any adhesions or knots. This sports massage technique is often used with other methods such as effleurage or tapotement.


Compression is another sports massage technique that uses pressure and motion to compress and decompress the muscles. This type of sports massage is often used to relieve muscle soreness, pain, and tension. You can also use it to improve circulation, speed up the healing process, and increase blood flow.

Compression sports massage can be performed using the hands, elbows, forearms, or a compression device such as a compression ball. The pressure applied can be light to deep, depending on the needs of the individual.


Friction is another one of most athletes’ preferred sports massage techniques that uses pressure and movement to release adhesions in the muscle tissue. This sports massage is beneficial for treating injuries, relieving pain, and improving range of motion.

Friction techniques are performed using the thumb, fingers, or elbow to apply pressure to the affected area. The massage therapist may also use a knuckle, elbow, or forearm to increase blood flow and promote better blood circulation. It would be best if you did not use friction techniques on open wounds or irritated skin areas.


Tapotement (pronounced tah-poh-tuh-mehnt) is another sports massage technique that involves using short, quick strokes on the skin. It is often used to help improve circulation and relieve muscle tension.

Tapotement can be performed using the hands, fingers, or even a massage tool such as a brush or a small, soft ball. The strokes are usually applied to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments, especially during a post-event. Tapotement is generally considered to be a relatively gentle sports massage technique.


Vibration is a type of sports massage that uses rapid movements to target specific body areas. It is often used to relieve muscle tension and improve circulation.

There are two main types of vibration sports massage: linear and nonlinear. Linear vibration massage uses a back-and-forth motion, while nonlinear vibration sports massage uses a circular or side-to-side motion.


Rocking is a popular sports massage technique to help relieve muscle spasms and improve range of motion. The massage therapist uses their hands to Rock the client’s muscles back and forth, working deep into the tissue. This massage is especially beneficial for professional athletes or anyone who enjoys vigorous exercise.

Depending on the client’s preference, rocking can be performed with light or medium pressure. The massage therapist may also use their elbows, forearms, or knuckles to rock the muscles. This technique is often used in conjunction with other massage techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, or trigger point therapy.


Shaking sports massage is a unique and beneficial form of massage therapy. This type of massage uses quick, repetitive movements to stimulate the muscles and promote circulation. It is often used to relieve pain, increase range of motion, and improve flexibility.

A shaking sports massage can be performed with the hands, elbows, or forearms. The therapist will use short, rapid strokes to work the muscles and prevent sports injuries. This sports massage is usually performed on the back, neck, and shoulders. You can also use it on the legs, arms, feet, and other painful or sore areas.

Key Takeaways

If you’re looking for a refreshing and revitalizing massage, sports massage may be the perfect solution. This type of massage uses various techniques to target specific areas of the body. It can be used to relieve pain, improve circulation, and speed up the healing process.

So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your athletic performance or just want to feel more relaxed, consider trying a sports massage. You won’t be disappointed!