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Strength Exercises for Massage Therapists

A massage therapist's body is their most essential tool. Doing massage means spending hours at a time going from lunge to squat, while using core strength and good posture to put proper force behind every effleurage stroke or trigger point release. Working up to that strength is a process, whether for the first time as a student or as a professional coming back from a break.

Below are some tips on what exercises can be done to supplement this strength and hone your muscle for the greatest potential.

A note before we start - if you have a preexisting injury or any of these exercises become painful, stop immediately! This is meant to strengthen your body, not push it past its limits.

#1 - Forearm Planks

Forearm planks are a great exercise to hone the entire body, but especially arms and core. Focus on keeping your bottom low - if it is difficult, you're probably doing it right. Take it easy with this one! 10-30 seconds is plenty to try and hold this pose, and after a short break repeat about 5 times.

#2 - Bench Dips

This is a modifiable exercise that is fantastic for all levels of fitness. The key is to try and keep your body as straight up and down as possible while performing the movement. This will target the deltoid, triceps, and pecs. Repeat for 3 cycles of 10 reps, or whatever feels comfortable yet challenging to you.

Play with different heights of bench to see what feels good to you. You can even elevate your feet on a secondary surface for a more challenging workout.

#3 - Squats

Squats are an effective classic whether you include weights or not. With your core and leg muscles activated, pretend to sit down in a chair. Shoot for having your thighs parallel with the ground at the end of your squat, and then push to standing again.

You can make balancing easier by stretching your arms out in front of you, or make it more difficult by adding a handheld weight.

#4 - Yoga

This might seem like a general suggestion, but finding a yoga video online to follow along with is easier than ever. If you have no equipment and aren't sure what to do, yoga can be an amazing full body strength builder.

#5 - Stretch

If you do one thing and only one thing, make sure it is stretching! Yoga is great because it usually incorporates strength and stretching together, but if you are doing routine of your own, make time for full body stretches. Hold every stretch for 30-60 seconds for maximum effect.

Want to learn more?

Our school focuses not only on the necessary curriculum, but also on learning good body mechanics and self-care tactics that keep massage therapists in shape for a long and happy career. Come by for a visit if you are interested in seeing what other tips we have!


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