As I sit here contemplating whether I should chop my left leg off at the knee, I thought what a great blog post this would make.
Guys, I got back into an exercise program at the gym that I took a few weeks off from. And the machine I used, I hadn’t used in roughly 10 weeks.
I hate training calves. Mine are already quite bulky, not necessarily muscly, but that’s the way they are. Anyway, I did calves on the seated calf raise machine and I did push them a bit, because I knew I hadn’t in a long time.
Anyway, not the next morning but the next night… I could barely walk, both calves were pretty wrecked. The technical term for this is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. I have been through this probably hundreds of times by now and with my experience, here’s what I recommend.
Keeping in mind I am not a doctor or specialist, so if your health care professional has prescribed otherwise, do that instead.
Here’s my steps to move this soreness along:
If you know right after the workout that you’ve overdone it. You might want to take BCAA’s or glutamine, which helps with muscle recovery.
Tip: Always get some protein post-workout. And drink your water, cool down and stretch it out gently.
Once you’re feeling tightness or pain of DOMS, a bath with Epsom salts feels really nice. Your body will respond well to the warmth and absorb the magnesium, which helps with muscle recovery.
Move lightly, a gentle walk might help. Stretch, foam roll, massage will also get the blood flowing. If you have one of those spiky mats, an Acupressure mat, that will help draw blood to the area too.
You could use products like Arnica, magnesium spray/creams, warming massage oils, deep heat. If you like, you could use an “ice cold” type product. It’s whatever floats your boat really.
You can take supplements as well such as Magnesium and Arnica. If you’re really feeling it, a muscle relaxing pain killer might help. If you sweat a lot, replenishing your salt stores may not be a bad idea to prevent cramping.
Depending on where it is, compression would help bring blood to the area, helping it to heal. In my case, I did put on a pair of compression socks.
Resting is important too. Make sure you get enough sleep.
Disclaimer: you know your body best. If it’s a “bad pain”, as in you think you’ve actually injured yourself. Ice it and then seek medical attention. Please, please, please do not be a hero. If you’re worried, get it checked out.
Hot or Cold?
My rule of thumb for using hot or cold to treat yourself is this:
New, acute or inflamed injury = cold.
Re-occuring or “unworrying” pain = warm.
For example, Heat works wonderfully on tight shoulders; Cold works great on a freshly sprained ankle.
A physio once told me that Cold reduces swelling/inflammation but slows healing, and Heat promotes healing by drawing blood to the area, therefore increasing swelling. That’s why professionals say 20 minutes heat, then 20 minutes cold, because in many cases, you need both.
In any case, don’t “train” or lift weights using those muscles until they’ve had at least 2 days rest.
Hope this helps! I’ve had over five years’ experience with this and have tried MANY different remedies. Share using the share buttons below, if you think this will help anyone you know.
Comment below what the worst case of DOMS that you’ve ever experienced is.
I'll tell you mine really quick. I did my first Step Class on a Saturday morning and couldn't walk for 4.5 days. Mainly because we drove 8 hours to visit my sister-in-law and her family at their house with many, many stairs and children who wanted to play games up and down the bloody stairs the whole time. So I also had no access to my bath, creams, etc.
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