One of the worst things about exercising is that sore feeling you get days after a good workout. It’s normally referred to as DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) and though it can be a sign that you’ve really pushed yourself, it can get in the way of future gym sessions and activities. Nobody likes aching for days.
You don’t need to always take soreness as a bad sign. It’s just your body giving you a sign that it’s repairing, building and making you stronger. This is the period where your body adapts to the stimulus you’ve given it in the gym to make you fitter. Unfamiliar or particularly challenging exercises will do this simply because your body is not used to it and so if it doesn’t want to keep getting broken down it needs to build itself up. These sessions create small tears in the muscle fibers which are then fixed and improved upon in the recovery process.
This is one of the main reasons why a lot of people actually like DOMs because it lets them know they’re going to get stronger and closer to their goal. However, to improve this recovery process there are a few things you can do.
1.Use A Warm-Up
Before you jump into your heavy sets or vigorous routine you need to prepare your body for what’s to come. Your muscles need to loosen and warm up whilst your brain needs to be mentally prepared and focused. This is the time where you can start directing blood and oxygen to all the muscles that are going to be used.
A good way of going about this is with warm up sets. A lot of people rush through their warm up sets because they’re so eager to get to the heaviest weight possible. Yet, this is the time where you can prepare your mind and body for the lift ahead.
Try this on your next workout:
- 1 set at 50% of your working weight for the same amount of reps
- 1 set at 65% of your working weight with two fewer reps
- 1 set at 80% of your working weight with three fewer reps
Another great way of doing all of those things is with dynamic stretching. Opposed to the static form of stretching, dynamic stretching involves movement that aids in activating the muscles as well as improving your range of motion and coordination.
Try some of these before your next workout:
- Alternating glute pull-up lift
- Bodyweight reverse lunge
- Bodyweight single-leg deadlift
- Alternating Knee Pulls
This is also a great time to crack out the foam roller for getting out any remaining knots in the muscle, increasing the range of motion in your joints and reducing your chance of injury.
2. Ignore The Soreness & Jump In Any Way
Now, you may think that this sounds like the opposite of what you should be doing. In fact, training your muscles when they’re sore actually reduces the chances of soreness in the future and can help the body repair faster. This is all known as the ‘repeated-bout effect.’ All you’re doing is telling your body again that it needs to adapt and the more you tell it this then the faster it’s going to need to do it.
Yet, you should only train with light weights opposed to your normal. Save your heaviest weights for when you’re fully recovered.
For example, you may have done weight chin ups and found that you’re back is feeling fine but your biceps are taking a long time to stop aching. On your next workout, try including some light bicep curls just to create another stimulus and increase the rate of recovery.
3. Diet And Post Workout Supplements
Your diet will make all the difference when it comes to recovery. If you’re in a cut then you’ll be eating less and therefore, your body will take longer due to the lack of calories. Increasing your calories is a brilliant way of speeding up the recovery process which will happen when you enter into a bulking phase.
You also need to make sure that you’re getting enough protein. Protein is the macronutrient which really aids in muscle recovery. The protein kick starts the recovery process whilst the sugary carbs give your body the energy it needs for repair.
In terms of supplements, both whey and casein are good options if you’re tolerant of dairy. For those who aren’t, there are egg and beef proteins. For vegans, you will be able to find pea and soy, too. Also, we can’t forget about omega-3s as studies have shown that they provide great help in reducing both pain and swelling. Good post workout supplement with essential amino acids – BCAAs will be very beneficial and decrease the time it takes for your muscles to heal.
Of course, some DOMS is inventible but I encourage you to implement some suggestion I gave you in this article to recover faster.