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Why Muscle Will Sore After Workout and Top 5 Tips To Minimize Muscle Soreness

September 7th, 2013 · 2 Comments ·


You probably have feeling pain in your muscles after weight lifting at the gym. The soreness may take place right after your workout or several hours (12 to 48 hours) after your workout (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS). You could feel soreness, even when you are lying on the bed. If the pain is at your thighs, walking up the stair can be a challenging task too.

Why Muscle Will Sore?
Muscle soreness usually always happens to:

  • People who just begin an exercise program
  • Exercise enthusiasts who overload excessively
  • People who work the same set of muscles in a new and different way

At one time, lactic acid was believed to be involved in muscle soreness, but exercise physiologists do not believe so nowadays. Lactic acid is actually long gone from the muscles before soreness occurs.

Soreness may be caused by several factors, including small tears in the muscle fibers or connective tissue (the ligaments that connect bones to other bones, and the tendons that connect muscles to bones.), muscle spasms, and perhaps over stretching. High intensity exercise causes muscle soreness.


Not to worry. Muscle soreness may sound harmful but is the natural response of your muscles when they experience work. In fact, in addition to the soreness, you may feel you have lost your muscle strength too. Muscle strength is diminished for at least one to three days after the damage has occurred.

Muscle swelling occurs almost immediately after exercise. Depending how hard you have trained, this swelling typically lasts few days. It is generally joined by muscle stiffness and decreased range of motion. Normally, you need about 48 to 72 hours for our muscles to recover after you train the muscles.

However, based on my experience, you can reduce sore muscles by following these 5 tips:


Top 5 Tips To Reduce Muscle Soreness After Workout

  1. Exercise consistently
    • Adopt good training habits. Do not be a “weekend warrior”. A weekend warrior only does exercise on weekend. With a burst of enthusiasm, this person run, swim, cycle or dance. Too much for a typical body to sustain so many activities within a day. So, it is no surprise that muscle will sore after that. Instead of working out only 4 hours within a day, one should exercise at least 3 times a week and 1 hour each session will be sufficient.
  2. Warm Up
    • Without warming up, cold muscles suddenly put under stress are more likely to sore. Warm up is even more important for people who want to exercise in early morning after long hours of sleep. Warming up will increase your heart rates and the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles before you begin to work them hard.
    • Furthermore, your joints secrete more synovial fluid and become less stiff.
  3. Increase Intensity Slowly
    • If you are doing strength or endurance training, keep your intensity or duration increase to 10% or less each week. By doing so, you allow your body to recover properly and adapt slowly to improved performance levels.
  4. Split Workouts
    • As mentioned, muscle takes about 48 to 72 hours to recover. If you have to lift every day, do not work the same muscle groups. I have been doing split workout since 4 years ago under the advice of a seasoned gym goer. For example, I train my chest and biceps on day one and if I want to work out again the next day, I will train my legs instead of doing bench press and biceps curl again. By doing that, my chest and bicep muscle will have enough time to recover. Though you will need few days to work out all the muscle groups, you allow your sore muscle to recover.
    • In a worse situation when you do not rest enough, your muscle force will be lower with each subsequent workout. In other words, you will grow progressively weaker. Overtraining will simply be destroying the new muscle tissue being formed to replace the damaged tissue. This is no way for you to get bigger and stronger.
  5. Massage
    • Even though no research has given solid conclusion that massage will heal sore muscles, but I feel good after a massage, especially after training hard in the gym.


When To Train Again?
You will know you are ready to train again when:

  • Muscle soreness is completely gone.
  • Full range of motion has returned.
  • Muscle strength is better than it was during the previous workout.

You know your body better than me. But, you should not wait two weeks before training again. Therefore, a fine balance must be reached between waiting until the muscle has recovered and not waiting so long that you have become lazy. If your soreness does not go away after 1 week, you may want to consult a doctor. You may have get injured or something may have gone wrong.



Category: Weight Training

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2 responses so far ↓
  • Anon // Sep 7, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    You forgot to include nutrition to reduce muscle soreness.

  • Jason Waver // Sep 17, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Great post! I especially liked the part where you talked about when to train again, as that seems to be one of the most confusing parts for me. Definitely bookmarking to look at again later!

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