Periodization and Massage for Athletes and Performers




6 CEUs for Massage Therapy, Chiropractic and Athletic Training


Athletes, performing artists (musicians, actors, dancers), and occupational athletes work through different training cycles in order to condition and perform. Massage can be an effective recovery tool, but it is not limited only to the recovery aspect of a training program. Understanding concepts from periodization in training for sports performance can help guide massage therapists and other practitioners in the integration of massage into different periods and cycles in training. This workshop will provide an overview of skills and abilities for athletes and performers and explore physiological demands at various phases in the training cycle. Neuromuscular physiology and active/passive insufficiencies will be reviewed to recognize how athletes and performers experience change during preparation phases as they prepare for a competition, performance, or event.

A case-based approach will be used to apply concepts and design different types of massage treatments. Attendees will recognize how different massage techniques, intensity, duration, and frequency of treatment will change as the athlete or performer progresses through macro- or micro-cycles of training. A portion of the workshop will involve hands-on work.

Upon the completion of this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Recognize challenges with an over-simplified description of sports massage.
  • Identify training and performance for different types of athletes and performers.
  • Differentiate between skills and abilities.
  • Summarize phases of the training cycle.
  • Outline the three cycles in the periodized training program.
  • Compare and contrast physiological demands skills and abilities through the training cycle.
  • Link neuromuscular physiology with activities, abilities, and phases of the training cycle.
  • Analyze active and passive insufficiencies and select relevant massage techniques for different phases in the training cycle.
  • Select assessments to measure acute effects of massage and the impact of massage through the entire training cycle.
  • Recognize ways to assess massage effects on a whole person level for athletes and performer


Introductions and Agenda
Overview of “sports massage”

·         Events support vs. training

·         Problems with a simplified approach

Defining different target audiences

·         Athletes

·         Fitness enthusiasts

·         Performing artists

·         Occupational athletes

Case Breakout: Case-based approach overview
Skills vs. abilities

·         Run, jump, pivot, throw, hit, catch, pull, balance; Tap, strum, hold, pluck

·         Power, speed, agility, strength, endurance

The training cycle

·         Competition, transition, recovery, maintenance, preparation

Periodization for training

·         Macrocycle

·         Mesocycle

·         Microcycle

Physiologial demands through the training cycles.

Case Breakout: Sample training schedules review and debrief
Neuromuscular physiology and movement abilities

·         Slow twitch fibers vs. fast twitch fibers

·         Motor recruitment

·         Fascia

Movement insufficiencies

·         Active insufficiency

·         Passive insufficiency

Practical approaches to periodization for massage

·         Techniques, intensity, duration, frequency

·         Designing treatments for skills and abilities

Case Breakout: Variations across the training schedule review and debrief

·         Detailing treatments

·         Assessing effects of treatment

o   Impact on performance

o   Biopsychosocial

·         Modifying programs

Case Breakout: Assessment for the periodized program review and debrief

About the instructor: Virginia S. Cowen, PhD has over 15 years of experience teaching in the health-related or complementary and alternative medicine areas for colleges including Rutgers University and UMDNJ. In addition to her private practice as a therapeutic massage, bodywork and exercise professional, she is also the founder and principal in a research and education consulting company that includes clients in consumer cannabis industries. A popular presenter, she is also a published author of several books about health including a guide for touching and relating to those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as numerous articles for professional publications and journals.

Additional information


Wednesday, July 22, 2020 9:00am-3;30pm, Wednesday, September 16, 2020 9:00am-3;30pm