Top 5 Ways to Sooth Sore Muscles after a Workout

Top 5 Ways to Sooth Sore Muscles after a Workout

Last Updated: 15/11/16

Any fitness enthusiast can tell you that if there’s one major thing that will slow you down during an intense workout, it’s muscle soreness. When you feel sore after a previous workout, what you are experiencing is the aftermath of your muscles being broken down. Soreness is the middle man that will eventually lead to your muscles being built up stronger the next time around. Muscle soreness is a good thing; however, you don’t want to let it ruin your next training session.

Lucky for you, there are several key ways to rid the body of training-induced muscle soreness. All of these methods are simple, convenient, and effective. Let’s take a look at the top 5 ways to soothe those sore muscles after a workout.

5: Ice It Up

Many athletes have found relief in creating a routine of icing after workouts. While it may sound refreshing to jump in a hot shower or bath after a hard training day, high-temperature showers may prolong the healing process of the muscles, leaving you sore for more time than you’d like. Take a warm shower and once you’re finished, opt for the cold. Apply an ice pack directly to the group of muscles that is giving you the most trouble. Apply ice continuously for approximately fifteen minutes at a time. Consider doing so up to three times per day to alleviate the most intense soreness.

Do not confuse directly applying ice with an ice bath. While some say getting into an ice bath is the best way to recuperate tired muscles, studies are inconclusive as to just how beneficial an ice bath really is. While the intention is to relieve sore muscles, submersion in ice-cold water may end up showing the opposite of the desired effect as some studies have shown.

4: Dynamic Stretching

An active stretching routine, also known as dynamic stretching, is a series of light movements that mimic the exercises within the workout to come. Although the term “stretching” is used, you will not be holding any type of pose or stretch for an extended period of time. In fact, you won’t stop moving. By mimicking the type of movements mentioned above, you will properly engage and warm up the needed muscles in preparation for the training. This helps to prevent muscle strain.

An example of a dynamic warm-up is performing push-ups before the chest press exercise. To apply this rule to MMA training, before you begin a training session, the perfect dynamic stretching routine would be shadow boxing. Do this before getting into full contact sparring and you’ll save yourself the risk of injury while safely boosting your performance. It’s a good habit to avoid starting any workout with cold muscles, whether your training grounds are a boxing ring, gym, or a cage. When proper time is not devoted to a warm-up routine, the chances of muscle injury increase and performance can be negatively impacted.

3: Static Stretching

Unlike dynamic stretching, when performing a static stretching routine, positions are held for an extended period of time. The average length of time is thirty seconds or more. The goal with static stretching is to lengthen and stretch the muscle. Before jumping into the benefits of static stretching, it’s important to note that this kind of stretching is to be done after your workout when the muscles have been thoroughly worked.

Why? If you perform such a stretch before your training, you may risk muscle injury. What’s more, you may also experience a decrease in strength, power, performance, and stability. When performed after a workout, static stretching supports muscle recovery and helps the body maintain and increase flexibility. It also helps muscles avoid adhesions, or knots, which are a natural consequence of training.

2: Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

It may sound cliché, and I’m sure you’ve heard it plenty of times; but that doesn’t make it any less true: Your body is built in the kitchen. Nutrition is responsible for 70% of the results that we can observe. From six-pack abdominals to a boost in punching power, nutrition is the foundation. Nutrition is also the key to dramatically shortening your post-workout soreness. Here is a list of the most muscle friendly foods that should be a part of any serious fighter’s diet. This gives an overview of an athlete’s diet.

Muscle building food:

  • Beans, Soy, Peas and Hemp Proteins are great muscle building food that are high in protein, easy to digest and cholesterol-free
  • Plant-powered shake
  • Eggs
  • They all have high level of bioavailability (easily digested and assimilated)

Proteins:

  • Tofu, Legumes mixed with vegetables or sprouts and seeds such as chia seeds give complete protein
  • Lean animal proteins (chicken and seafood)
  • Antioxidant-loaded foods (vegetables and fruits)
  • Antioxidants combat free radicals, which are molecules that have been shown to cause oxidative damage in the body when allowed to run wild. Free radicals can impact recovery and muscle gains. Eat a colorful plate of different vegetables and fruits each day.

Dark grapes and red wine:

  • Both contain Resveratrol
  • It has one of the highest levels of antioxidants

Blueberries:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Support muscle recovery
  • Eliminate soreness (14)

Broccoli (and other dark leafy greens):

  • High in vitamin C and other anti-inflammatory nutrients
  • Shown to reduce soreness
  • Combats catabolic hormone, Cortisol (15)

Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc):

  • Healthy fats found in nuts and seeds promote recovery
  • Reduce muscle soreness (16)

Combination of different plant proteins such as beans with legumes, sprouts, or vegetables and mix of different boosters such as brown rice, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cranberry etc. are important to provide the full spectrum of protein needs.

ZMA:

  • Cost-effective
  • Heavily researched and proven
  • Boosts your immune system (ideal for recovery)
  • Promotes production of recovery growth hormones (10)

Whey protein:

  • Boosts your immune system
  • Enhances recovery
  • Promotes muscle growth (11)
  • Vitamins (Full Spectrum)
  • B-12 boosts the immune system
  • Supports the post-workout recovery process (12)

1: Deep Tissue Massage / Sports Massage / Foam Rolling

All athletes should be receiving a deep tissue massage as studies have shown the benefits of massage for years. Adhesions, or knots, form from repetitive stresses such as throwing punches or any form of MMA-based training. These adhesions can impact performance and put you at a higher risk for pulled muscles. Deep tissue massage or a sports massage can eliminate these adhesions, speeding up recovery and boosting performance.

If you cannot afford a deep tissue massage, try self-myofascial release, which is also called foam rolling. To purchase a foam roller is very inexpensive and due to it being almost as effective as a deep tissue massage, it will pay for itself quickly. Most importantly, don’t forget to drink a lot of water afterwards!

Recover faster and stay in tip-top shape

Those looking to achieve their fitness goals need all the power, strength, and stability their bodies can muster in order to be on-point for workouts. Therefore, it’s important that they stay on top of what’s best for their strength building and their recovery. By icing in intervals between workouts, performing active stretching before workouts, and performing static stretching after workouts, you can ensure that you’re prepared to train hard day after day. Using these remedies for muscle soreness, you’ll recover faster and stay in tip-top shape.

If you know of any interesting ways to relieve muscle soreness that were not mentioned here, please comment below!

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Nutrition Disclaimer: This recipe information is for the general population. It does not cater for any allergies, medical conditions or any specific food intolerance.