Muscle soreness is a harsh reality that weightlifters eventually have to face. In order to build strong muscles, you have to push yourself to the point of tearing your existing muscle fibres. This gives them the chance to rebuild and makes them stronger than before. If that doesn’t sound very pleasant, it’s because it isn’t! Anyone who has tried to walk down a flight of stairs after leg day will tell you all about how muscle soreness can impact your life.
If you want to get ahead of the muscle soreness and take steps to avoid or alleviate it, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll share some tried and tested methods to keep your muscles free from pain.
Warm up and cool down
You can’t just launch into a weight lifting session without getting the blood flowing first. Take the time to warm up with some light cardio to get your heart pumping and dilate those blood vessels. When you’re done with your workout, you should do the reverse and stretch it out. Learning a few simple yoga stretches can go a long way to helping you feel a lot better the next day.
Work on your form
Sometimes, muscle pain is a sign that you’re doing something wrong. You could try working with a personal trainer to ensure that your form is correct. Lifting weights in the incorrect way can put undue stress on parts of your body and this can lead to additional pain and even injury. Even people who have been lifting weights for a while can benefit from a professional’s opinion and advice.
The food, supplements and pills you put in your body after a workout matter. Focus on protein-rich foods which will help you to build new muscles. You should also eat foods rich in taurine, which can include meat, fish and dairy. If you want a health supplement which contributes to your overall feeling of wellbeing, CBD oil and other CBD supplements are well worth considering. To reduce inflammation, many people reach for NSAIDS such as ibuprofen but these have been proven to have a negative impact on muscle regeneration. Instead, look for foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as chia seeds, walnuts and fatty fish.
Get a massage
A deep tissue massage will help to work out any muscle tightness and release tension from your muscles. If you feel very stiff the day after you’ve been lifting weights, it could be a sign that you are holding on to tension. By getting a massage, you can work out these knots and recover much faster. If you can’t afford a massage, a foam roller allows you to recreate the effects of a deep tissue massage at home – it just isn’t anywhere near as relaxing!
Ice and heat therapy
Immediately after working out, jumping in a cold bath will help to reduce swelling and inflammation. If you have delayed onset muscle soreness, you might not notice this until a few days after your workout. To ease this discomfort, you can jump in a warm bath to help ease your sore muscles and increase blood flow. You can also use hot and cold compresses applied to specific areas if the problem area is quite small.
Every weightlifting expert will tell you that you need to take rest days between workouts in order to allow your muscles to recover. While this is true, a rest day doesn’t have to mean you stay glued to the sofa. Getting out and doing some light exercise can be a great way to ease muscle soreness and even facilitate faster muscle repair. Go for a swim – which is light on your joints – or even try a yoga class to keep moving.
Listen to your body
There is a line between pushing yourself to achieve more and pushing yourself too far. Learn to listen to your body and know the difference between good pain and bad pain. You might have a weight loss goal or a fitness goal in mind, but you’ll find this will be harder to achieve if you push yourself to the point of injury. Working with a personal trainer is a great way to ensure you are always pushing yourself, without pushing yourself too far.