Combine these 8 tips into your weekly routine to relieve muscle soreness after workouts, experience less pain, and gain more muscle mass.
It’s been 24 hours since you squatted in the gym. You get out of bed feeling tired, beaten up, and you can barely walk…
Introducing DOMS, aka Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
DOMS is the sore feeling you get after blasting your muscles at the gym. Now DOMS isn’t a bad thing, and any serious athlete or bodybuilder knows it’s part of the training process.
That said, the sooner you can recover, the quicker you can train again. This means you’ll speed up your results and improve performance at a much quicker rate.
So the key is recovering in between sessions and reducing muscle soreness as much as possible.
How Do You Relieve Muscle Soreness?
Well, here are 8 guaranteed ways to quickly relieve muscle soreness after your weight training session:
1. Foam Rolling
According to Sally Screeton, a sports massage therapist at LEP Fitness, “foam rolling after a weight training session is a great way to loosen off tight muscle groups and remove lactic which is built up from high volume weight training.”
After you’ve finished your weights session, make sure to spend 5-10 minutes rolling out the muscles you’ve just worked.
For example, after an intense leg workout, spend 5 minutes rolling out your thighs, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
Weight training causes muscles to become tight. For example, after doing a bench press, the pecs, front shoulders, and triceps become shortened and tight.
This can lead to poor posture and delay recovery between workouts.
One way to help your muscles return to their normal length is to stretch after you work out.
Hold each stretch for 45-60 seconds and spend 5-10 minutes lengthening out tight muscles.
3. Sports Massage
I appreciate that sports massages can be expensive, but they are worth it, as long as you go with an experienced practitioner.
A massage every one to four weeks will help you keep in alignment and is an effective way to recover in-between intensive workouts.
Look at any top athlete, and more often than not, they will have regular sports massages to keep them performing at their best.
It’s an investment that’s worth making, and your body will thank you for it.
4. Take A Bath
After a challenging workout or late in the evening, one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce DOMS is to take a warm and relaxing bath.
If you can let your muscles soak for 10-30 minutes, this will do wonders for relaxation and improving circulation.
It will also improve sleep, which leads me to my next point.
Sleep is arguably the most crucial recovery tool of all. You should be aiming for 8 hours of sleep per night.
Good quality sleep ensures that your muscles repair and nutrients are digested/delivered. Good sleep is also essential for cognitive and physical performance.
To improve sleep, I recommend taking ZMA before bed and creating a sleep routine that you stick to seven days per day.
Your body repairs when you are relaxed, not when you are stressed.
Weight training places considerable stress on the body, and so do many other things in life: work, emotional anxiety, physical stress, poor food, lack of sleep, digestion, etc.
It’s imperative to spend time relaxing and getting your body into a state of calm. One of the best ways to do this is to meditate each day.
Even just 5 minutes of breathing work can help your muscles heal in between workouts. An excellent exercise to do goes like this:
- Start in a seated position, sitting up tall with your back straight.
- Breathe in through your nose taking a 4-second inhale.
- Hold the breath for 4 seconds.
- Exhale through the mouth taking 4 seconds.
- Then repeat for 5-10 minutes.
The above exercise is a great way to switch for your sympathetic nervous system (i.e., a high arousal state) and instead go into your parasympathetic system (a relaxed state).
You can also download free meditation apps to help you do a guided meditation.
Supplements can help speed up your muscle recovery. The ones I recommend are:
- Vitamin C;
For example, taking 5-10g of creatine per day can help increase strength in the gym.
Taking zinc and magnesium in the evening can help your body relax, and it promotes good sleep. I would recommend taking magnesium glycinate and zinc picolinate. You could also take a high-quality ZMA supplement.
Vitamin C is good for immune health.
Glutamine is essential for gut health and improving digestion.
8. Increase Your Protein
Protein is vital when it comes to muscle recovery. And ideally, you want to be aiming for 1.5-2g of protein per kg of body weight.
Food rich in protein include:
You could also take protein shakes and consume protein bars for snacks.
If you combine the above tips into your weekly routine, you can expect to train harder, recover quicker, experience less pain, and more gains!