When you do some serious exercise like this boot camp CrossFit workout, you’ll likely have some very sore muscles. This is especially true if you haven’t exercised in a while. Of course, you should start slow and work up to hard-core workouts, but even light weightlifting, sprinting, or jumping can result in soreness if you’re been inactive for a while.
If you’re a beginner, check out our section: CrossFit for Beginners with workouts, advice, reviews of gear, and more. Remember to start slow and work up to the serious stuff okay? This is key to avoiding injury and burnout.
There are a few things you can do to combat muscle pain after a workout including stretching, using a foam roller, heat, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and caffeine. Some people also swear by a cold shower, or hot followed by cold, and so on.
Tip #1 to Combat Sore Muscles: Stretching
Stretching is a great way to combat muscle pain but only do stretching when your muscles are warm. To do so when your muscles are cold such as before your workout can be inviting injury.
The best time to stretch is after a workout when you’re still warm. A few minutes post-workout can really go a long way to reducing pain over the next few days.
Just be sure to give them a good stretch, but not too much. Going beyond your limits can lead to injury. So, start small and then gradually increase your ability until you become more flexible.
See: How to Stretch from WebMD for more information.
Tip #2 to Combat Sore Muscles: Use a Foam Roller
Foam rollers are a little bit of a fitness fad, but they are way more than just a gimmick. Many people who use a foam roller swear by them and for good reason. They really do reduce muscle soreness, relieve stress and just plain make you feel good.
The way foam rollers work is that they help release trigger points, which is known as myofascial release. Try them out and you’ll likely be using them for life. They really do feel that good!
You can use them at just about any time, including after a workout, when you wake up in the morning, or before you go to bed. Many people use it for just a few minutes a day when they’re watching TV at night and claim that it’s changed their life in terms of chronic pain. It really can make a huge difference.
Tip #3 to Combat Muscle Pain: Try Heat
Heat therapy can help to combat muscle pain because it increases blood flow to the tissues. You can soak in a bath or hot tub, use a heating pad, or those peel-and-stick heat pads. Any method will work and you’ll also get the added relaxation benefits!
Most people find that heat works better than cold for tired or sore muscles from a workout. Think about it this way. You want your muscles to relax and repair. Often the best way to do this is with heat, instead of ice which actually does the opposite.
However, many people have success with treating injuries by alternating hot and cold. This can increase blood flow to the area which increases healing in a big way. Check with your physiotherapist for the best recommendation for your specific situation.
See: Treating Pain with Heat for more information.
Tip #4 to Fight Sore Muscles: Omega 3s
Omega 3 fatty acids are something that every serious athlete should consider taking. Studies have shown that taking them once a way reduces muscle pain and inflammation 48 hours after a strength training workout.
You can also get Omega 3s naturally in foods like salmon, spinach and nuts. These foods will help your circulation which is key to moving the toxins away from muscles to reduce inflammation.
See: The Facts on Omega 3 Fatty Acids on WebMD
Tip #5 to Reduce Muscle Pain: Drink that Coffee!
Good news for the coffee lovers out there! Getting in some caffeine before a workout can help reduce muscle pain post-workout. Studies have shown that those who took in caffeine were much less sore after a heavy strength workout on day two and three as compared to those who took a placebo. The theory is that caffeine blocks central nervous receptors related to pain.
See: Caffeine Decreases Muscle Soreness for more details.
Tip #6: Take a Day Off to Rest
One last tip if you have sore muscles: take a day or two off. Our bodies are not designed to go hard every single day without rest. It’s just not feasible and will result in overtraining and injuries. This is not to mention the mental burnout that can result.
So, if you’ve had a particularly tough workout, do a very light training day the next day, or even just do nothing. Or, consider some cross-training like going for a short hike or walk.
There are a number of common questions that people have about this topic. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What causes sore muscles?
Sore muscles are typically caused by microscopic damage to muscle fibers during intense exercise or physical activity.
How long does muscle soreness usually last?
Muscle soreness, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), typically lasts for 24 to 72 hours but can persist for up to a week in some cases.
What are some ways to alleviate muscle soreness?
Some ways to alleviate muscle soreness include rest, gentle stretching, applying ice or heat, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and engaging in light aerobic activity.
Is it better to rest or continue exercising with sore muscles?
It’s generally recommended to allow your muscles to rest and recover if they are sore. However, light aerobic activity or low-impact exercises can help increase blood flow and promote healing.
Can I continue working out if my muscles are sore?
While it’s generally safe to continue working out with mild muscle soreness, it’s important to listen to your body. If the soreness is severe or accompanied by other symptoms, it’s best to take a break and allow your muscles to recover.
Should I stretch when my muscles are sore?
Gentle stretching can help relieve muscle soreness and improve flexibility. However, avoid intense stretching or bouncing movements, as they may worsen the soreness or cause additional injury.
Is it helpful to apply heat or cold to sore muscles?
Both heat and cold therapy can be beneficial for sore muscles, depending on the individual and the specific situation. Applying ice or a cold pack can help reduce inflammation, while heat therapy can promote blood flow and relaxation.
Are there any dietary or nutritional strategies to help with muscle soreness?
Consuming an adequate amount of protein, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients can support muscle recovery and reduce soreness. Some people find supplements like branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or tart cherry juice helpful for muscle recovery.
When should I seek medical attention for muscle soreness?
In most cases, muscle soreness is a normal part of exercise and will resolve on its own. However, if the soreness is severe, persistent, accompanied by severe swelling or weakness, or if you suspect an injury, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.
Have your Say about Dealing with Sore Muscles!
We hope you enjoyed our tips for reducing sore muscles, including using a foam roller and taking Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Please leave a comment below and tell us your favorite method!
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Oh, want to level up? Consider a vibrating fitness roller.
Last update on 2023-08-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API