How to Help Sore Muscles Get Better
First and foremost, newcomers or even regular participants of strength training, face the realities of sore muscles. So, it’s best to know how to recover quickly in order to get back to building muscles.
Treatments for Sore Muscles
- 1First, apply Ben-Gay or other similar products over the area that is sore. Meanwhile, the three active ingredients of Ben-Gay include menthol, camphor, and methyl salicylate. And these ingredients create sensations of warmth and cold. So, when these sensations reach the nervous system, they compete with and helps to block pain signals from sore muscles.
- 2Next, a 2014 study showed that massage therapy improves general blood flow and alleviates symptoms of sore muscles.
- 3Also, a 2015 study showed that massaged muscles contain more blood vessels that those not massaged. As a result, recovery improves.
- 4In addition, massaged muscles showed only fifty percent of the scar tissue as non-massaged muscles.
- 5Or, you can topically apply ice to ease sore muscles. In fact, ice reduces inflammation in sore muscles. By the way, the current thinking is that build up of lactic acid doesn’t cause sore muscles, but rather inflammation. Consequently, it’s better to reduce inflammation.
- 6In the meantime, you can also treat sore muscles by massaging them yourself. Moreover, you can also massage yourself hard to reach areas such as your back. Furthermore, when you do massage muscles yourself you can apply the right amount of pressure. Meanwhile, massages relax and stretch sore muscles to relieve tension.
- 7Next, lightly exercising sore muscles can help reduce their severity. For example, stretching, doing core strengthening workouts, or low intensity cardio such as walking helps.
- 8Finally, taking protein supplements or eating more protein containing foods may help.
Exercises to Help Sore Muscles
Now, the following exercises may help your sore muscles get better.
- 1First, if you are familiar with yoga, use it.
- 2On the other hand, if yoga is not your thing, try stretching your muscles. For example, if you have a resistance band, or you go to a gym, use the resistance band to stretch your sore muscles.
- 3Also, walking can help. And, if you have a treadmill, you can use that to walk.
- 4Next, if you have easy access to a swimming pool, try swimming.
- 5Finally, if cycling is an option, try easy cycling. In addition, if you go to a gym, you can gently use their stationary cycles.
Most of all, it’s our desire for muscle growth that usually results in sore muscles. Now, there may be misconceptions among some that muscle damage (and hence sore muscles) is needed for muscle growth. However, research shows that muscle damage is not needed for muscle growth.
Meanwhile, getting sore muscles doesn’t mean there is muscle damage. In fact, research also shows that getting sore muscles is not a reliable indicator of muscle damage. So, while there may be no muscle damage, sore muscles may interfere with your strength training program.
Most of all, strength training usually results in microscopic tears in muscle, or even a breakdown in muscle tissue. So, in response to these microscopic tears, the body uses satellite cells to repair the tears and build up muscles over time. In addition, muscles get protected against future damage.
Furthermore, to help your body repair and grow muscles, it’s important to have enough protein in your diet. Finally, your muscles need rest for this process to succeed.
Good Eating and Drinking Habits Helps Prevent Sore Muscles
- 1First, to stay hydrated, drink water before you start your workout. Also, sip water intermittently throughout your workout. Finally, drink water at the end of your workout.
- 2Also, it appears that because of the electrolytes it contains, it’s even better to drink raw coconut water after a workout. Indeed, the electrolytes in coconut water help prevent muscle cramps.
- 3Next, to further alleviate chances of cramped muscles, eat a banana one hour before a workout. In fact, the potassium in the banana curtails lactic acid build up, which, by the way may cause muscles to hurt.
- 4Furthermore, research shows that tart cherries have anti-inflammatory properties. Indeed, these properties significantly help reduce inflammation in the body. In fact, the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports published a report on their research about tart cherries. And, they reported that marathoners drinking tart cherry juice before, during, and after a marathon had low occurrences of sore muscles. By the way, tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins. In addition, tart cherries are believed to reduce excess inflammation. Therefore, to get these benefits, all you need to do is to drink tart cherry juice twice a week. Meanwhile, you can make your own fresh tart cherry juice using a blender, masticating juicer, centrifugal juicer, or a smoothie maker.
- 5Finally, many studies show that caffeine consumed before a workout helps reduce sore muscles and fatigue. Furthermore, a study in the Journal of Pain reported that caffeine consumption resulted in a forty-nine percent drop in sore muscles. By the way, caffeine is an analgesic with pain-killing properties. Also, caffeine hydrates as well as water. Therefore, drinking caffeine is a good idea before a workout.
Proper Warm Up and Cool Down to Avoid Sore Muscles
- 1First, do five to ten-minute warmup and stretches before a workout. In fact, the warmup helps muscles get warmer, which prepares them for the workout. By the way, walking is a fine way to warm up.
- 2Second, stretching is an excellent way to cool down after the workout. In fact, research shows that static stretching performed before or after exercise helps reduce sore muscles.
- 3Or, do a short cardio to really warm up the muscles. For example, if are home, you can do the short cardio on an elliptical stepper, recumbent cross trainer, compact elliptical, or a long stride elliptical machine.
- 4Next, stretch intermittently during the workout. By and large, stretching helps cut back on buildup of lactic acid and therefore helps prevent muscle cramps.
- 5Also, a few hours after the workout apply a heating pad to muscles. In fact, the heating pad stimulates blood flow and loosens sore muscles. As a result, the healing process speeds up.
- 6Meanwhile, don’t forget to give your muscles time off. Now, strength training may cause tiny tears in muscle tissue. While these tears aren't harmful, they are important for muscles to grow stronger as the tears are repaired. In addition, always give your muscles at least forty-eight hours to recover before your next strength training session.
- 7Finally, a 2012 study reported on women who performed a 20-minute low to moderately intensive cycling workout following their strength training workout. Meanwhile, the study reported that these women had reduced muscle pain along with added boost in strength. By and large, the light workout increased blood flow. Which, in turn, naturally decreased inflammatory processes such as lymphatic draining, removing immune cells, and clearing inflammatory mediators.
- 1First and foremost, know how far you can exercise before it starts to hurt. Moreover, avoid going over that threshold.
- 2Also, the following day, work on a different muscle group.
- 3Meanwhile, keep challenging muscles by slowly increasing weight or resistance. Also, the right weight for you differs depending on the workout. So, choose a weight that tires the targeted muscle or muscles by the last two repetitions while still allowing you to maintain good form. However, if you can't do the last two reps, choose a lighter weight. On the other hand, when it feels too easy to complete, add weight (roughly 1 to 2 pounds for arms, 2 to 5 pounds for legs), or add another set of repetitions to your workout (up to three sets). In the meantime, if you add weight, remember that you should be able to do all the repetitions with good form and the targeted muscles should feel tired by the last two reps.
- 4Next, stick with your routine — working all the major muscles of your body two or three times a week is ideal. For example, you can choose to do one full-body strength workout two or three times a week, or you may break your strength workout into upper- and lower-body components. In that case, be sure you perform each component two or three times a week.
- 5In the meantime, use a foam roller to relieve any knots in muscles and soft tissue. For example, rolling your hamstrings and/or quads over the roller will help remove any knots. In addition, massage pillows can also help get rid of knots.
Proper Form to Avoid Sore Muscles
- 1In the first place, use a proper posture during the workout. Also select weights based on your form or condition.
- 2Most of all, focus on form, not weight. So, align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise. Meanwhile, poor form can cause injuries and slow down your gains. Also, when learning a strength training routine, start with no weights, or very light weights. Furthermore, concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group.
- 3Next, working at the right tempo helps you stay in control rather than compromise strength gains using a fast tempo. For example, count to three while lowering a weight, hold, then count to three while raising it to the starting position.
- 4Finally, pay attention to your breathing during the workout. For example, exhale as you work against resistance by lifting, pushing, or pulling and inhale as you release.