Today, we’re gonna talk about muscle soreness. And we’re gonna talk about some ways that help alleviate some of that muscle soreness. So, if you’re someone who gets sore week after week then keep reading.
A Proper Warm Up
Number one, is I find that when I warm up better I tend to have less muscle soreness the following days. This is not an absolute statement and I’m not saying its researched or well studied, but it’s something I have personally noticed.
Usually I’ll get the most sore on a squat or deadlift day. And so, what I found is the days where I got the most sore, were the days that I didn’t warm up my glutes, hamstrings, and low back very well.
For one, it’s important in general to properly warm up to increase performance and lift safer. Secondly, keeping the soreness down helps me push harder throughout the rest of the training week.
So if you plan on lifting heavy or you are about to go into a training session that you think will make you pretty sore, warm up well!
A good warm up will be very wholesome. Meaning you want to get the HR and body temperature elevated while also priming the muscles that are about to be used during the session.
So if you are going to be squatting, perform exercises that will get the ankles, knees and hips loose. Get your quads and hamstrings working and add in some core for stability.
Increased Intensities = Increased Muscle Soreness
Number two: if you have really intense soreness week after week, then you are more than likely going too heavy, or you’re doing too much work.
I know that may be a hard pill to swallow because you are probably thinking, how am I supposed to get better if I’m not doing more? The issue is that you are currently doing too much for what your body is ready to handle.
If you are just getting started, but you are training on a competitive or elite level athletes program, you’re going to get hurt. Those athletes have been training for years to be able to handle the amount of volume they are currently training at, you aren’t.
If you aren’t on a competitive program, then you me be adding volume to quickly from week to week. So for example, If you do five sets of five on a back squat at 100 pounds, thats 500lbs per set and 2,500lbs for all 5 sets. If next week you did a 5×5 with 200lbs on your squat, now you are going from 2,500lbs to 5,000lbs in just one week. Thats a pretty significant jump in total load on the body.
To see if this is the root cause of your soreness, you will want to cut things back. I’d start by cutting the volume in half and see how your body feels from there. Then you can slowly add volume or lifts back in as the weeks/months go on and continue to re-evaluate how you feel.
Generally, you are looking at like a 5-10% of an increase in volume per week on a building phase. This should be a plenty for adding strength and size while keeping you healthy.
Post Workout Cool-Down
Number three, and this one’s probably the most important of them all. This is what I found that really, really does it, is the times I would get the most sore, were when I weren’t doing a cool-down. I would just get done my workout and just walk out.
So, if it’s legs you’re doing, try doing some banded work. Banded distractions for mobility, as well as foam rolling. You can hop on a bike, or a treadmill and walk for five minutes at a slow pace allowing the heart rate to come down. Lastly, you can finish with some parasympathetic breathing. This helps slow down your sympathetic nervous system and allow your body to enter a state of rest.
This allows the body to not come from such a high state of working out and stay there. A cool-down allows you to gradually start to come down and get back to your resting state. And so by doing that, you’re actually gonna help with the soreness.
There are also some temporary measures you can take to help as well. Epsom salt baths and foam rolling are good choices, but should not necessarily be relied on.
The reason being that those don’t help the body as a whole. They act as a temporary pain relief or aid, while breathing and moving around do more. You can get your HR back to baseline, which also helps with hormone balance. You also get added cardiovascular and muscular benefits from moving around more and increased mobility.
Utilize Active Recovery Days To Reduce Muscle Soreness
Number four, you have to stay active. The people that tend to be the most sore after a few days are the ones that do not do anything the next day.
They have a desk job, and so they sit all day. Well, if your legs are sore, and you sit all day, your muscle is sitting there relaxed, and no blood flow is happening. And then you go to stand up, and it’s like smacking a sunburn. You’re like, holy crap, that hurts. And it’s doing that all day long. So the more you can stay active, the better it’s gonna be.
Even if you are not going to do a workout, you need to move. It can be as simple as taking a short walk. The point of it is not to get a workout, the point is to get blood flow to reduce muscle soreness. Active Recovery days are effective because it is only about movement quality and getting blood to the muscles.
There’s no weights involved with this at all, and by the time you get done, your joints are happy, your tendons are happy, and the soreness has gone down.
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