7 Strategies for Dealing with Muscle Soreness
By Adi Golani
Most people think that sore muscles after a workout are a sign that you had an effective workout, that you’ve stimulated growth, and that more soreness equals better workout and faster results. Is it? Not necessarily.
I’ll admit that I used to be disappointed if I wasn’t sore after my training. I thought it meant that I hadn’t worked hard enough. I was wrong! Sore muscles or as it called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) isn’t necessarily an indicator of an effective workout, and the lack of DOMS isn’t necessarily a sign of an ineffective workout. The reality is that soreness and workout quality are largely unrelated.
So what does DOMS mean? DOMS usually means you’ve done a workout that’s new or more intense than what you’ve been doing (more reps and sets, heavier weight, more speed, etc). And as you probably have experienced with our BURNIN' by Ray program, your body slowly adapts to the new routine and the soreness you felt the first time will lessen considerably in subsequent workouts.
So what do do in case of DOMS?
- Stretching. Stretching is your first line of defense after your workout. When muscles are in recovery mode they tend to tighten up, exacerbating feelings of soreness. Slow, gentle stretching of the area will relieve that tight feeling.
- Foam rolling. Using a foam roller to massage your sore muscles will increase blood flow to your muscles and can significantly reduce DOMS.
- Staying hydrated. Water is the ultimate way to re-hydrate which your muscles need in order to repair themselves.
- Icing sore muscles. Use a cold pack to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Applying heat therapy. Warm temps can increase blood flow to sore muscles. Soak in a hot bath or apply heat patches directly to the sore spot.
- Doing cardio. Cardio increases blood flow and acts as a filter system. It brings nutrients like oxygen, protein, and iron to the muscles that you've been training and helps them recover faster.
- Getting a massage. Massaging a sore muscle can help reduce tightness while promoting blood flow, which in turn helps speed recovery.