Perform better and recover faster from workouts with massage therapy, Graston, and cupping.

As bodybuilders and strength athletes, we put our bodies through a lot of abuse. Just like your car, our bodies require routine maintenance to ensure that we run on all cylinders. IFBB Pro Nathan Epler walks you through three of his favorite therapy techniques for bodybuilders.


WHAT IT IS: Building muscle involves subjecting the body to intense muscular contractions repeatedly over time with increasing intensity. During these contractions, our muscles can end up with what is known as myofascial adhesions. Myofascial adhesion is just a fancy way to describe the muscle fibers being stuck on each other, also commonly referred to as a “knot” for most people. Over time these knots can become painful and even impact your ability to train intensely in the gym, hindering your bodybuilding progress. Massage therapy involves manually forcing these adhesions to release and return the muscle to the proper length by applying pressure over the muscle.

THE BENEFITS: The main benefits of massage therapy are decreased pain and muscle soreness, increased relaxation, improved joint range of motion, improved sleep, and injury prevention. All of these things contribute to improved gym performance and recovery, which will help increase your overall progression as a bodybuilder.


WHAT IT IS: Graston is a massage technique that uses tools to release myofascial adhesions manually. Scraping is performed by manually rubbing a tool (usually metal) over the muscle to release knots that traditional massage techniques mentioned above may not release. As the tool slides over the muscle, it helps break up muscular adhesions and scar tissue and will open small blood vessels to help draw blood and nutrients to the muscle, aiding recovery.

THE BENEFITS: Graston provides similar benefits as massage therapy, but the tool allows the practitioner to release muscles that are too deep or tight for regular massage therapy. 


WHAT IT IS: Cupping involves using a suction cup placed directly on the skin over a muscle. The practitioner will either leave the cup on one specific spot or move the cup along the surface of a muscle belly. The suction the cup provides helps draw blood and the metabolic by-products resulting from weight training to the surface where your body’s lymphatic system can help clear out and dispose of this waste, helping improve muscle recovery.

THE BENEFITS: The primary benefits of cupping are the release of myofascial adhesions, increased circulation, clearing of metabolic by-products, pain relief, and improved range of motion.

The BodyShop at American Muscle Factory in Indiana offers these services and more, or you can access services like this in your area at most sports medicine clinics.