Have you ever wondered if you could lessen your post-workout muscle soreness & avoid popping the ibuprofen?
Here’s how the situation may go down…
You hit the gym. You decide to change up your workout. Maybe you lift heavier weights, up your reps, increase your intensity, or maybe you’ve just skipped a few workouts. Hey, it happens!
You start feeling the dreaded “jello” muscles & you haven’t even finished your workout. By the end of the day you know the soreness is gonna hit you like a Mack truck!
This was me just a few weeks ago. I was seriously afraid I was not going to be able to walk for DAYS or even the entire WEEK! I didn’t go “heavy” with my weights, it wasn’t an interval session, but I did do some exercises I hadn’t done in a while. All day long I kept saying “Oh, I’m not going to be able to walk this week.” I couldn’t belive my muscles fell so wobbly for almost the entire day!
I didn’t sit around and wait for soreness to hit me like a semi, I was proactive & used the following techniques as soon as I finished my workout. While I did have some soreness, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I was sore for a couple of days, but not the kind of sore that I needed a walker to get around. 😄
I’ve done these before with success, so I decided it’s time to share with you what I’ve been doing after my new workouts so you too can hopefully avoid the problem of being so sore you have to roll outta your bed.
4 Ways to Lessen Post-Workout Muscle Soreness:
1. Foam Roll
Hands down, foam rolling should become your favorite way to lessen post-workout muscle soreness! You can use a foam roller to warm up the muscles before your workout, but you can also foam roll after your workout (hold 30-60 sec) to help your muscles relax. Think of it as a massage you perform on yourself. It can reduce inflammation & increase circulation (both are important for muscle recovery).
e.g. If you worked your legs, you can foam roll your quads (front of thighs) & hamstrings (back of thighs), but do it slowly. Roll up to the tight muscle/knot then back off a smidge & hold 30-60 seconds. It’s the craziest thing when you feel your muscles release! And sooo satisfying!
I HIGHLY recommend not postponing foam rolling. If you wait until the next day or a couple days later, you may be so sore you can’t stand to touch your sore muscles. (1)
2. Move It
Don’t sit on your laurels (yes that means your butt) if you’re sore! You need to move!!!
Ok, it may be a rest day, & that rest day may be warranted, but it doesn’t mean sit on the couch or at your desk all day.
Go for a leisurely walk, bike or hike if you’re super sore. Get your blood pumping. It helps with inflammation & supports the lymphatic system to flush out your body’s waste.
This study has shown that about 20 min of moderate cardio following a workout may decrease muscle soreness. (2)
- Ginger & Curcumin (a chemical compound found in turmeric)
Ginger & Curcumin are both natural anti-inflammatories & can help you out if you’re looking to lessen muscle soreness post workout, or even everyday muscle/joint aches & pains. They’re both great alternatives to NSAIDs! (3)
You can add ginger to your smoothies, stir-fry & soups or take it in supplement form HERE
Absorbing enough curcumin is a little trickier. While it doesn’t hurt to toss some turmeric in your smoothie, eggs, or curry, your body doesn’t absorb it very easily. This study shows that Meriva (29 x’s greater absorption than curcumin!!!) may prevent muscle soreness because of its effects on pain & muscle injury. (4) Click HERE to get a great quality Meriva that has great results!!!.
Magnesium requirements may increase 10-20% with strenuous physical activity according to this study. (5) It may also help lessen muscle soreness post workout because it helps muscles relax.
Topical Lotion, Gel or Oil (Magnesium chloride) is one way. You can focus on applying the magnesium to the muscles that are sore. THIS is a great gel to give a go.
Epsom Salts (Mg sulfate). Just toss 1-2 cups of Epsom salts into a tub & relax. Feel free to add a few drops of essential oils too if you wish (peppermint & lavender are great options for helping with sore muscles).
Magnesium Biglycinate found HERE is a highly absorbability form of magnesium that promotes muscle relaxation & even sleep!!! Yes, please!
While stretching may not lessen muscle soreness post workout, it does help lengthen shortened muscles. (6) When you work your muscles (contract them), you shorten them. If you don’t stretch you may end up with severely tight & sore muscles. When muscles are overly tight, you’re more prone to injury. So, while it may not be a “solution”, you need to include it.
So, after a workout, hit the mat for at least 5 minutes to stretch the muscles you worked that day. Check out THIS ARTICLE I wrote on reasons you should stretch.
While nothing completely eliminates muscle soreness, you can try these metohds to lessen your post-workout muscle soreness. If you’ve never used these, be warned, you may not complain as much as you use to about sore muscles between your workouts. 😉 🙌
Have you or do you use any of these approaches after your workout to try to nip the dreaded jello muscles in the bud?
If you need help or motivation with your workouts, fill out the contact form HERE and we can set up a time to talk.
*These are recommendations to possibly help prevent muscle soreness. If you feel pain or feel you may have injured yourself, get to a Dr & get checked out!