4 Methods to Reduce Soreness
Before we get too much into this, Coach K also wrote, much more indepth about this topic! If you’d like to learn more ways to reduce soreness, with more science and citations, click here!
Step 1 Aerobic Exercise: Move around
Our goal here is to increase blood flow to the muscle tissues. Think about it this way – You’ve just mopped the dirty floor and the water in the bucket is black. You worked hard to scrub that floor, now all the efforts of your hard work are right there next to you. You can just lay there and deal with the dirty bucket later, or you can take the time and energy to empty it now. (clearly, I just mopped).
Your muscles are a lot like this dirty bucket of mop water. If you move around, it’s like putting a hose into that bucket and slowly the dirt drains out. If you just quit after the mopping, you’ll have to deal with the dirty water the next day, which is a huge pain in the @ss (pun intended).
Step 2 Self Massage: Get on a foam roller for SMR (self-myofascial release)
Sticking with the mopping analogy, this would be like wringing out the mop head. (there’s science here.) You have to use force against the muscle to break up knots and adhesions which cause excessive soreness and tight muscles. The mop won’t wring out itself! And you don’t want to put a soaking wet, dirty mop in with tomorrow’s clean water do you?
Step 3: Stretch
Stretching is like adding soap to the mop water. Now, it’s not clinically proven to reduce soreness by an impressive or noteworthy amount, but it’s good for you and it’s good for the muscles. You’ll be in better positions to move more efficiently and reduce the risk of injury. You wouldn’t mop without soap so don’t workout without stretching.
Ok, that one was a stretch…
see what I did there ^
Step 4 Ice and Heat: Contrast baths or showers work wonders for recovery!
I might be out of mopping analogies, but let’s give it a shot anyway. Ice baths after working out is like roping off the recently mopped area. Stay with me. Icing effectively reduces inflammation and soreness from doing as much damage is it typically would after hard training. That’s all I got.
Heat helps, just like aerobic training, to promote blood flow to the muscles. This will flush the oxidation from micro-tears in your muscle fibers. This can be used in a bathtub setting after a heavy squat session or a hot shower on the back, traps and shoulders.