Ever felt really stiff and sore after especially tough training sessions? Have you ever wondered if this was a natural feeling, or if there was something wrong? Well it might be true that post-workout muscle soreness is natural, but if you aren’t careful you can cause yourself some serious injuries. There are some ways though to help your muscles recover.
Firstly though what is, and what causes post-workout muscle soreness? It’s a process you body does goes into called delayed onset muscle soreness, DOMS for short, and it happens after particularly hard training sessions where your muscles sustain a lot of damage. The soreness you feel in your muscles is the result of a build up of toxins that slow blood flow and tighten your muscles.
Although this is a natural process you shouldn’t be feeling the effect of DOMS after every training session. If you are it’s usually a clear sign that you are overworking yourself, and that you need to slow down a bit.
You need to be really careful if you are consistently getting DOMS after all of your training sessions because it means you are over-using your muscles too much and you can end up causing yourself some serious harm. There are a number of things you can work into your training programs though that will help your body deal with the stress, and speed up your recovery.
One of the most important parts of any high intensity program is a restorative workout. Restorative or recovery workouts are short low-intensity workouts you incorporate into you regular training to help work out any imbalances, tightness, or stress that you might be feeling. These recovery sessions can be at the end of hard strength sessions or you perform them in your off days as a light workout.
Restorative workouts can be any exercise you want as long as it helps stretch out tired muscles, and doesn’t put too much stress on them. How regularly and how long these short programs are, are determined by your lifestyle. The more active you are the less you will have to perform them but if you have a sedentary office job these kinds of programs are vital.
Swimming, Pilates, stretching, and Yoga are some of the more popular recovery exercises people do but it doesn’t matter so much.
A recovery program that I regularly use involves a simple, light 10-20 jog followed by 20 minutes of flexibility and strength training exercises. The key to a good recovery program is to target all of your muscle groups. I usually do this about twice a week in my rest days.
Tip: Pilates foam roller exercises are another great way to relieve any back tension and stretch out your muscles.
It’s natural to feel stiff and sore after hard training sessions but if you’re regularly performing high intensity training it’s vital that you start adding in some sort of recovery program, so that you reduce the risk of injuring yourself. All of this may seem very simple and straight forward, but it’s still one of the most overlooked parts of any training program, and is one of the major causes of injuries.
Cody has 12 years experience as a personal trainer. He started his career at the University of Washington as an instructor. He was in charge of running a beginning weightlifting class and was the creator of many new classes because of the demand for his knowledge and leadership skills. From there he trained at a corporate gym while gaining knowledge in the studies of human movement. He now has his own business with numerous pleased and fulfilled clients.