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Is it best to get a massage before or after a workout?



Massage treatments are by no means a modern practice. The technique has been traced back to ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures as early as 2700 BC and legend has it Julius Caesar was rather partial to the occasional massage. The word itself comes from the Greek word 'masso' meaning "to handle, touch or work with the hands to knead dough".

There's a reason massage therapy is still hugely popular today. In fact, there are multiple reasons, which we'll go into in more detail below, but in a nutshell, massages are used to treat stress and pain and who wouldn't want that?

But the big question is whether it's best to get a massage before or after a workout? Let's take a closer look.  

Try our massage chairs for FREE*


Benefits of a pre-workout massage

Getting a massage before working out allows the muscles to get warmed up and stretched out so you're more flexible. It also helps get you in the right frame of mind to work out.

A study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that the psychological benefits of a pre-workout massage, including reduced stress, tension, and anxiety, leaves you relaxed and focused to get the most from your workout.

The key thing to bear in mind is that the massage should be gentle with light strokes and not deep tissue, which, pre-workout, can cause muscle soreness and tightness. 


Benefits of a post-workout massage

Receiving a massage once you've finished working out helps reduce muscle soreness by reducing inflammation and reduces your recovery time by speeding up cell recovery.

The key thing to bear in mind is that the massage should take place as soon as possible after exercising. According to a study in the Journal of Athletic Training this can reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMs) by a massive 30%.

So there you have it. The answer is there are huge benefits to having a massage both before and after a workout, just be sure to get the right type of massage to set your body up for success.


Did you know you can get a massage at PureGym?

Enjoying a massage doesn’t have to break the bank or involve going to a spa. We now have new hydro sports massage chairs available at PureGym London Hammersmith and Leeds City Centre North so you can train and relax like a pro.

Rather than standard mechanical chairs, our new state of the art massage chairs use heated water to apply pressure, at a level you chose, where you want it. So whether you want to warm up to work out, recover afterwards or simply relax, they're the next best thing to a physical massage. 

Just five minutes in the chairs will help: 

  • relieve stress

  • ease muscle soreness

  • lower blood pressure

  • boost energy

Don't just take our word for it though. Don't just take our word for it though. You can try the massage chairs for 10 minutes for FREE using your PIN to activate the chair.* You can even split your 10-minute massage so you can enjoy five minutes before and after you work out. 

If you'd like to enjoy unlimited use of the massage chairs whenever you want, simply upgrade to Extra from just £5 a month. 

As an Extra member, you'll also get these fantastic benefits:

  • book classes 14 days early
  • bring a buddy 4 times a month
  • access gyms on the same rate as your home gym for FREE
  • freeze your membership for up to 3 months at no additional cost

Upgrading to Extra couldn't be easier. Simply log into the Members' Area, click the 'Manage your memberships' tab and select the upgrade your membership option. Then, when you next come in, simply use your PIN to activate the massage chair…and relax!

As to whether you have a massage before or after a work out, well, that's up to you!


'I had a standard membership before & upgraded after the free trial. I use the chairs before & after workouts, it’s my little bit of luxury.' - Tom Canon, member at PureGym Leeds North

'I was on the multi club access before, and upgraded after that to use the chairs. The chairs are very good, its relaxing and it helps relieve stress.' - Michelle Soden, member at PureGym Leeds North

'Always been on the extra membership. It’s good for after workouts, really good for my back and shoulders.- Kelvin Codjoe, member at PureGym Leeds North

'It is great to get a water massage after your training. Your muscles seem to recover quicker.' Julien Carcano, member at London Hammersmith


*Free 10-minute trial of our massage chairs is only available at Leeds City Centre North and London Hammersmith and can only be redeemed once at one of the two locations.

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