Ask Levi: How Do I Get Rid of Sore Muscles?
Today I’ll address sore muscles, a problem that every athlete will encounter on an ongoing basis…
My quads have been REALLY sore the last couple of days (skiing today didn’t help). What is the best way to get rid of sour muscles. I tried the hot bath. Coach said don’t ice them, but another person said use ice then heat. What is the best way in your opinion to get rid of sore muscles?
The best way to get rid of sore muscles is to rest. Complete rest (such as lying in bed with your legs comfortably elevated) is the only method guaranteed to work.
But you can try other things to help the process along…
When you’re dealing with sore muscles, there are two main things to consider (after rest, that is.)
First, you need to keep your blood flowing to deliver fresh oxygen and nutrients to your muscles as well as flush out any metabolic byproducts of exercise. Recovery rides are key for this.
Ice and heat, as well as massage, are just some more ways to stimulate circulation so that your blood keeps delivering fresh nutrients to your legs. Everyone will say something different about what they think is best. For what it’s worth, the alternating hot/cold method feels best to me.
My favorite way to apply the hot/cold method is with a shower that has a flexible hose on the nozzle. You can hit your legs with hot water for a while and then switch to cold. I don’t time it, but maybe a minute of each temperature for a total of 10 minutes.
Or, the more complicated way… pair a hot bath tub with ice packs, or an ice bath with a heating pad. In this case I’d do 5-10 minutes cold, then 5-10 minutes hot.
Another method that’s gaining in popularity is the use of compression stockings. These improve circulation in your legs, and the best part is, they require no effort on your part!
And, don’t forget my list of essentials for recovery.
Second, make sure you are taking in nutrients. Make sure you’re consuming protein (and all essential amino acids) that will help rebuild your muscles. Along with antioxidants via fruits and vegetables, of course.
You could try a good quality fish oil since it’s supposed to speed recovery and decrease muscle soreness. Fish oil is great, so you should be taking some anyway. Look for a quality fish oil; Barlean’s and Carlson’s are good options at a reasonable price.
Also, black cherry juice is a natural anti-inflammatory. A couple doses of that could help ease your sore muscles a little bit.
I’d choose those natural methods over drugs like Ibuprofen or Naproxen, but many people do choose Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) to alleviate muscle soreness.
To sum up, here are a variety of things to try:
- Recovery ride
- Alternating hot/cold shower
- Compression stockings
- Eat healthy food
- Take fish oil pills
- Take black cherry juice
In the end, it’s about balancing your training and rest periods. You need a training plan that has you working hard enough to improve, then resting long enough to recover for your next hard workout.