Have you ever done a killer workout and the next day you can’t get out of bed because you’re so sore? Soreness is part of working out, and is a great part of life! Yes, it is a beautiful thing even with all the duck waddling you do after leg day.
Being sore is important. It tells you that your workout the day prior was effective. You’re adapting to the changes you’re making. And now, you’re reaping the benefits.
Because you’re sore, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that you can do to subside that feeling. Pay attention! This is how to reduce soreness after a workout!
Stretch Yourself Out
Yeah, no kidding. But seriously. You must stretch after your workouts. This will alleviate your soreness because you’re telling your body that you’ve concluded the strenuous effort of the day.
Stretching will bring the muscles to a place where they can start the repair process.
When you’re sore, however, stretching can be soothing for you. Be sure to do a small warm-up with yourself. Even a few air squats will loosen yourself prior to stretching. If you start stretching without warming up then you won’t get that full effect you’re looking for: relief.
When you do stretch be sure to go slowly and steadily. Easy breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth is a great strategy to maintain awareness of how you’re feeling at the moment.
Once you feel a stretch, hold for about 10-20 seconds. Then breathe in, and out, and go down a little further. Our Yoga friends do this VERY well! They’re all about breathing and mindfulness.
The bottom line with stretching is that you feel yourself relaxing. You’ll still be sore. You might be sore for a few days or more. But when you stretch consistently you’ll find yourself less sore and able to recover a little faster than if you did nothing
No surprise here. Our bodies need water to recuperate. Think of water as the engine oil for our bodies. The water levels need to be high in order to properly function.
Have you noticed headaches in the middle of the day after you worked out in the morning? It’s because you’re not well-hydrated. I wrote something about this earlier as well.
Get those electrolytes. Drink more water, especially immediately after working out. I’ll usually down a whole 32oz water bottle shortly after I work out.
If you live in humid places, expect to lose more water in your sweat. The more you lose in your sweat, the more you’ll have to replenish PLUS your daily recommended half of your body weight in ounces. That’s a lot of water…
I’ve seen people run around with full gallon jugs of water. OK…that’s a little much, but the intent is there. Drink enough water. Avoid those sodas and skip the coffee every now and again to have a tall glass of water. It’ll help you feel tons better after having sweated your butt off during an exercise routine.
Roll Out and ICE!
A good foam roller is perfect for sore muscles! It’ll take some time and effort but you’ll feel the results if you do it right.
I’ll do this normally after leg day or a heavy dead lift workout. I feel it a ton in my hamstrings, so I need to feel some relief after the workout.
So…do you roll out or stretch? The answer is: yes. Do both if you’re really sore. Rolling out yourself can feel awkward but if you’re hitting the right muscles during your roll then it can substantially reduce your soreness.
Are you feeling pain in general? Rolling out helps this too. I’ve had some back pain for most of my life and I recently started rolling out my back to feel relief. It doesn’t take all the pain away, but it does reduce the pain for a while. Doing this often enough to become a habit will help reduce your pain.
There are tons of videos on how to roll out that are very informative.
Ice is your friend. After a good rolling session put some ice on where it’s most sore. You’ll feel that swelling decrease.
If you have a hot tub or sauna, a spending a few minutes in there will help you relax as well.
Alternate Muscle Groups
One of the cardinal transgressions of the workout doctrine is to work out the same muscle group multiple times in subsequent days. I know that bench press will get you those GAINZ, however you’re not going anywhere by working the same muscle groups each day.
Vary your routines, especially keeping track of what muscle groups you’re using. By doing this, you’ll be able to feel sore in one area when you’re working out another. Yes, that will make everything sore, BUT your muscle groups adapt and become less sore are you keep working out.
So, be smart and vary which muscles you’re working.
Soreness vs. Pain
There is a clear feeling of soreness versus pain. Anyone who’s working out must know that difference.
Soreness is a general discomfort in the muscle group you worked. It feels like a tightening effect as you move and do general body stretches. This is a good kind of discomfort you want at the end of your workouts.
On the other hand, pain is what you want to avoid. It’s usually a sharp, stinging sensation where it feels like something is off. You’ll feel like something moved or shifted. Or you may feel like something is jabbing you in that spot where you feel pain.
If you’re feeling that pain, stop your movement exercise, take a break, and engage a different exercise. You’re not proving anything by toughing that one out. If anything, it’ll lead to more injury down the line. Be careful, and don’t hurt yourself.
Using medication can help in this department as well. Use ibuprofen as directed to help with your soreness or pain.
What Does This All Mean?
I want you to feel the burn! Working out has some great perks, and one of those is that feeling of soreness. When you’re sore, your body is telling you that you did the right amount of work for that muscle group. It’s like instant feedback your body gives you.
What exercises make you sore? How do you overcome your soreness? Comment below! Thanks Garage Gym Goers, and I’ll see you next time!