Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Apres-Cycling: the Wine Bottle Massage

I know what you're thinking. "What, don't you own a rolling pin?" Well of course I do. But I use it for printmaking, so it lives in my studio. Luckily, what I lack in baking paraphernalia, I make up for in empty wine bottles. It's not that I drink a lot of wine, but that I tend to keep the empties for years - using them as flower vases and such. So when I came home holding my thighs today and my eye searched for something rolling pin-like, a tall bottle from a Spanish red fit the bill.

It's been a while since my legs felt this tight after a ride; I have low gears on my bikes and use them. But after two long, climbing-intensive rides a couple of days apart, a massage was in order.

There are different ways to go about doing this on your own, and here is what I do: I sit on the floor with my legs stretched out in front of me. The massage can be done on bare legs or over clothing, such as loose pajama bottoms (just not anything made of thick fabric, like jeans). I hold the bottle firmly, in one or both hands (there is no second handle as you would have on a rolling pin, but it still works okay), and move it in a gentle rolling motion up and down whatever muscles feel tight, in long strokes, at an even pressure. I use light to medium pressure, but others press harder - whatever feels right. Also, some prefer to sit on a chair, rather than stretched out on the floor. Try it both ways and see what feels better. If you need to do the back of your legs and don't have anyone to help, you can do it yourself standing up. A little awkward, but doable. Either way, this simple leg massage technique works surprisingly well on stiff, achy, or even just tired leg muscles in a fairly short amount of time. I have even seen cyclists do this during rides - using their mini bicycle pumps.

Of course if you have an unopened bottle of wine, you could combine the bottle massage with a glass of its contents for that extra bit of relaxation. A versatile product to keep on hand.

23 comments:

  1. You couldn't have posted this at a better time - I'm reading this with frozen beans and peas resting on my legs. I decided to try not to drive today and ran all around town on my gorgeous steel steed, half the miles with a 45-pound preschooler on the back rack. I rode about 13 miles and... yeah, I overdid it. But it was fun! Crossing my fingers that this works. :)

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    1. Frozen stuff works for a lot of people. For me it's hot bath for general "Aaaarh I rode too much!", and rolling out the muscles for leg pain. Also, I like to walk or ride my city bike after a hard road ride, instead of sitting still at home; feels better.

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  2. So soon after the Populaire, no wonder! Where didja go?

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    1. I did the same ride! Well, almost - Bolton Flats. My cycling club does a 100K "social ride" every Tuesday morning, and this week's route happened to be very similar to the NER Populaire, most of the same climbs. It went easier this time.

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  3. Mini foam roller; your method doesn't use much pressure, which you may not need if you don't flagellate yourself properly.

    Body weight on the mfr; wine btl too slippery.

    Massage = hard rides = no whinging about premature disappointment.

    Now if you don't mind i must get back to suffering thru Call the Midwife, but at least the lead rides a Raleigh with a cool med kit on the rack (sure it's not artidnal tho.)

    That Radish was to have been mine, Red Baron!

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  4. 2 Words: Foam Roller

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  5. looks like SOMEONE is doing the 200K this Saturday!

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  6. +1 on the foam roller. But I like your method too!

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  7. Foam roller, hmm. Learn something new everyday. And too many choices as usual!

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  8. Velouria, there really is only one option for foam roller: the Rumbleroller. You can use it while you watch TV at night, before lifting weights, after cycling.

    Though I will give you that the wine bottle is a much more DIY option, although I prefer just to drink the wine.:)

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    1. I don't have a TV, will I still be able to use it?

      Kidding. Thanks Tara, I'll check it out.

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  9. So which wines would you recommend for this technique? I want to make sure I buy the right kind! And I don't suppose beer will do?

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    1. A large wine bottle that is shaped similarly to a rolling pin. Beer bottles are too small and the wrong shape.

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    2. I think Isaac was joking and was suggesting he'd rather drink the booze than roll the bottles on his legs. I'm with Isaac on that one but I find a large bottle of rum to work best. It tastes good mixed with with orange juice, works as an anti-inflamatory and an anti-depressant and is a nice size bottle if you really want to bother with the massage part.

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  10. I keep a few bottles of stout on hand for post ride recovery. My method is thus:

    1. Pour the stout into a glass
    2. Recycle the bottle
    3. Drink stout

    I usually just skip the massage part.

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    1. My recovery is cheeseburger + Guinness. Funny, because when I wasn't riding much in the winter I stopped craving either, but now it's back in full force.

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  11. Noticed that the new Target stores here in Canada are carrying these in their fitness section - not the wine bottles but the real thing. $20 - $30 if I can recall. Great to have around.

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  12. Is it really a massage if you give it to yourself?

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    1. In most states, I believe so.

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    2. Didn't Cyndi Lauper do a song about that?

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  13. My knees have started to hurt after a hard ride, does anyone else experience this? I do like the idea of a post ride tipple to ease the pain though ; )

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    1. If you're serious, that is not good. Don't ignore knee pain, you can mess up your knees that way. Typically knees hurt when the saddle is either too far forward or too low, so adjusting it might help.

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    2. Too many possible answers.

      I'm gonna go:

      Tight IT band. Get foam roller. Youtube videos. Tipple. Done.

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