Archive for the tag - muscle soreness

Sore Muscle Treatment: More Movement.

muscle-sorenessWhen I injured my hamstring a few years back, I was prescribed a common treatment called RICE - standing for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

However, new research by the same man who coined the term RICE shows that the treatment merely delays healing by reducing inflammation. In fact, the body’s inflammation response is important to the healing process. By icing an injury, an important hormone is blocked. You’ll still heal, but it’ll just take about a half day longer.

A half day can make a huge difference for competitive athletes who need to be ready for game day. For the rest of us, a half day won’t really matter much. And though icing can delay healing, it still helps reduce discomfort. For some people, that could be a worthwhile tradeoff.

But for faster healing results, the researchers recommend movement without pressure. If you injured your legs running, for example, taking a leisurely walk could actually help; it’ll keep blood flowing to your damaged muscles and boost recovery.

Moreover, the researchers found that anti-inflammatory or pain reliever drugs also delay healing.

As it turns out, our wise bodies are better suited for healing on their own.

P.S. Interested in getting a strong, lean and defined six pack? Download Davey Wavey’s Six Pack Program to get started with five 12-minute ab workouts!

Sore Muscles? Drink Watermelon Juice!

watermelonjuiceDelayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) occurs 12 - 48 hours after your workout. It’s often called the “good” kind of soreness (as opposed to the bad, injury-related soreness), and it’s generally associated with a change in your workout program, increased intensity, new exercises, etc. You won’t feel it immediately after your workout; but in the subsequent hours, it slowly sneaks up.

While gentle massaging can help relieve muscle soreness, the best prescription is time. Give your muscles time to repair and rebuild - and the muscle soreness will decrease over time. And don’t exercise a muscle that’s already sore.

However, a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found scientific evidence for a new treatment: Watermelon juice.

According to researchers:

l-Citrulline is an excellent candidate to reduce muscle soreness, and watermelon is a fruit rich in this amino acid.

So, researchers put watermelon juice to the test with a group of participants. After crunching the data, researchers found a positive relationship between muscle recovery and consumption of watermelon juice. In other words, watermelon juice helped!

If you’re struggling to recover from particularly severe or debilitating muscle soreness - or simply want to reduce your recovery time - try introducing watermelon juice into your diet. It will do the trick.

Is Soreness Required for Muscle Growth?

I'd let him make me sore.

As silly as it sounds, don’t you love being sore a day or two after a really intense workout?

In some twisted way, I think we all do. And it can be addictive; many people feel like they didn’t get a good workout unless they’re sore thereafter.

But it begs the question: Is soreness required for muscle growth?

No. Soreness is not required for muscle growth.

There is a lot that is still not understood about soreness, but it often arises after doing something new. New workouts or exercises are a shock to the body, and soreness may be part of the result. Since subsequent workouts are less of a shock, soreness tends to decrease over time.

If you’re just starting out with a new routine, you’ll probably feel it the next day. But if you’ve been training for years, you probably won’t feel the soreness. It doesn’t necessarily mean your muscles aren’t growing; it may simply mean that your body isn’t shocked in the same way.

And if you’re looking to build your muscles, sometimes no soreness is a good thing. Muscle soreness is often associated with endurance training (i.e., taking a spinning class, doing many reps of an exercise, etc.) and not the type of low-rep high-resistance strength training that stimulates muscle growth. In other words, if you do a few sets of heavy bicep curls in a low rep range (say 8 reps) until muscle failure, you probably won’t get sore. But there’s no doubt that it will grow your muscles.

Of course, if you try something different, work ignored muscles or push your body in a way in which it isn’t accustomed, then you’re likely to experience delayed onset muscle soreness. But it’s not required to gain muscle mass.

Myth: No Pain, No Gain.

"No pain, no gain" is a recipe for both injuries and unpleasant workouts.

Let’s change the way we look at exercise.

“No pain, no gain.” It’s probably the most quoted fitness proverb ever. It’s plastered on the wall of many gyms and instilled in the mindsets of most of us.

The quote has been credited to everyone from the poet Robbert Herrick to Ben Franklin, but it was brought into mainstream popularity by Jane Fonda during the early 1980s. In her workout videos, Fonda used the quote as catchphrase to encourage participants to work through the burn.

Today, “no pain, no gain” is a mantra for many gym enthusiasts. But here’s the thing: It’s not true - and it’s a dangerous mentality.

If you truly experience pain during exercise (and not the “burn” to which Jane Fonda was actually referring), then you should stop immediately.

There are two basic types of pain or soreness that exercisers experience. Injury-related soreness is what you’d feel during or immediately following an exercise. Obviously, this type of pain is something that will not result in any fitness gains - and could prove to be debilitating. If you work through the pain (as the adage might imply), you may exacerbate the scope of the injury. Delayed onset muscle soreness (called DOMS), on the other hand, is what you’d experience 12-48 hours after working out. It’s a good thing; it means your body is engaged in a process that will result in muscle gains or increased strength.

If you hold the idea that “pain” is a necessary ingredient in becoming physically fit, you’re selling yourself short; this notion paints exercise as an unpleasant experience. And if you are nodding your head in agreement, than you, too, have been fooled. There are a million creative ways to incorporate exercise into your life that are fun, enjoyable and yes, painless. Hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, kayaking, rock climbing, ice skating and trampolining immediately come to mind. In fact, I even enjoy going to the gym, running and lifting - the exercises have a meditative quality for me. I look forward to my workouts.

I think it’s time to retire this adage of “no pain, no gain” from the collective human physique. It’s a dangerous idea that sets us up for injury - and, indeed, you can achieve your fitness goals while enjoying yourself and your exercise routine.

Here’s to gains without pain.

6 Best Tips for Recovering Faster from Exercise.

Hey Davey,

I live in NYC and often go for 2-5 mile runs in Central Park. My only problem is that I’ll feel sore for at least 2 days. What is the best way to a quicker recovery?


Hey John,

First things first, a little soreness is a good (and generally unavoidable) thing. Delayed onset soreness, like what you’re experiencing, is perfectly fine, healthy and normal. If you are immediately sore, it means you have injured yourself - and that’s a whole different cup of tea.

New research shows that conditioned athletes recover faster, so one of the best things you can do is challenge yourself with a hard, heart-pumping workout. As your current fitness level increases, your recovery time tends to decrease. It’s a great long-term strategy.

Having said that, there are some things you can try that may help you recover a bit faster. They include:

  1. Warming-up. Our muscles need to be warmed up before they engage in exercise, otherwise the risk for strains, injuries and the like increases. Cold taffy breaks, but warm taffy stretches. Our muscles are the same way. A warm up need not be overly time consuming, but spend a few minutes getting your muscles ready for your workout. Before running in central park, for example, do a three minute jog.
  2. Cooling-down. Following your run in Central Park, dedicate 3 - 5 minutes to cooling down. Jogging at a gentle pace will remove some of the lactic acid from your system and help prevent stiffness.
  3. Drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated will help flush out toxins and aid in muscle recovery.
  4. Getting your post workout protein and carbs. We know that in addition to protein, it’s important to consume some post-workout carbohydrates. Doing so will help rebuild and repair you muscles, and studies have shown that it also reduces soreness.
  5. Resting! Your muscles rebuild and repair more during sleep than when you’re awake. Levels of HGH increase during sleep, so make sure you’re getting your full 6 - 8 hours.
  6. Try a cold/hot shower or massage. Some people report that a post-workout hot or cold shower can help reduce soreness and decrease recovery time. In addition, some people believe that a sports massage will help decrease recovery time, though more research is needed. It was speculated that a sports massage would help remove lactic acid, but this has been disproved by science.

You’ll notice that stretching is missing from the list. Though we’ve all been told (myself included!) that stretching helps prevent and reduce soreness, some very surprising research is proving otherwise. If stretching does have a preventative effect on soreness, it is very small. And while it may help temporarily relieve some post-workout soreness, the relief is short-lived. Stretching is great - and it may boost your performance - but its effects on recovery appear quite minimal.

In a nutshell, these six tips may help improve your recovery to some degree - but really, muscle soreness comes with the territory. On days when your legs are sore from running, do some strength training exercises involving other parts of your body - like your arms, back, shoulders, or core. Use those “sore” days as opportunities to train other muscles.

Moreover, switch up your runs. Instead of running for five miles at one pace, do 15 minutes of interval training where you jog for 90 seconds and then sprint for 60. Your body will react differently to the different workouts.

Hope that helps!