Objective: Petrissage is assumed to influence circulation as well as interstitial drainage of both superficial and deep tissues. To study its effect it was applied between consecutive bouts of supramaximal exercise performed by the lower leg muscles.
Methods: Subjects were 11 healthy female students actively engaged in sports. Exercise bouts of ergometer cycling at loads determined individually (0.075 kp x body weight (kg)) for 5 s repeated eight times at intervals of 20 s had to be performed twice on an experimental day with 35 min intermittent bed rest. Each subject was investigated on two occasions with a minimum interval of 1 week, once without (control, CO) and once with 10 min petrissage (massage, MA) of the exercising lower leg during the bed rest phase. Effects of exercise bouts on blood lactate, muscle stiffness and perceived lower limb fatigue and their recovery before and after the second exercise bout were determined.
Results: For the first exercise bouts total power did not differ between MA and CO. Courses of blood lactate did not differ between MA and CO. However, recovery from measured muscle stiffness (p<0.05) and perceived lower limb fatigue (p<0.05) were more pronounced and total power during the second exercise bout was enhanced (p<0.01) in MA as compared with CO subjects.
Conclusion: Petrissage improved cycle ergometer pedalling performance independent of blood lactate but in correlation with improved recovery from muscle stiffness and perceived lower limb fatigue.