What should you do about muscle soreness?
(P.S. I’ve also included a link to my podcast on the subject of muscle soreness versus injury. It’s at the bottom of the post for those who want to listen instead.)
First, let me give this warning. If you think you have injured yourself, you should stop all exercise and see your doctor. You shouldn’t be taking any advice about injuries from me, or anyone else who isn’t qualified to answer the question for you. A good sign of injury if there is a sudden, sharp, stabbing, throbbing or any kind of severe pain… especially if it comes on quickly and during exercise. Don’t “Push through” injuries.
Soreness, on the other hand, is usually the feeling that you get anywhere from 24-48 hours after completing a workout because DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is setting in. Today we are going to be talking about this type of muscle soreness… as the only answer to an injury, is go get it checked out.
Some of the more obvious things that you should do like ice, stretch and massage are a great start…. but don’t forget about eating right and using the proper supplementation when you need it. There’s no better time than post-workout to drink a shake that’s free of unnatural/banned substances that will help your body stop breaking down and start the rebuilding. Check out this article about post-workout for more information about that, as proper nutrition and supplementation can help you greatly reduce (not eliminate though!) soreness.
There’s two more things that may be the furthest from your mind.
First, keep working out. Yea, take it easy… but getting the blood flowing back into those muscles is going to be key for recovery. The people who quit on the 2nd or 3rd day because of soreness have it all wrong, the next few days are going to be far worse if you do that. Get the blood flowing, and you will be grateful the next time you crawl out of bed.
Second, embrace the pain! No, I’m not a bondage type guy, but the soreness is a good way of your body telling you that you’ve embarked on something that is good for you. I’ve gotten to the point where if I don’t feel sore the next day, I feel like I didn’t have a good workout! This isn’t the case (well not exactly), but it’s just an indication that your body has started to adapt to the workout and it might be time for a change. Whether that’s increased repetitions, increased weight, or just switching up that workout with a different type all together.