Muscle Soreness in Athletes

Question:  Why am I so sore?

Sore muscles –  this is a painful thing at times for our clients, but a great sign for our trainers. 

In order to build and strengthen muscle, we must tear the muscle fiber.  Not a huge tear, such a muscle strain: (A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon in which the muscle fibers tear as a result of overstretching. Strains are also colloquially known as pulled muscles. The equivalent injury to a ligament is a sprain). But what we call a micro-tear. 

When muscles are asked to do more work than they are accustomed to, they suffer minor ruptures or micro-tears. You’ll feel these micro-tears as muscle soreness. 

So, if you are properly training, you should be sore.  It is this soreness that helps us to build the muscles and improve strength and power.

Why am I more sore the two days after my workout?

This is very common with most exercise programs and it relates to what we just discussed.  Those micro-tears do happen right after a workout, but you might not feel them repairing until up to 24 days after the workout. 

This is better known as D.O.M.S.  Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness was first described in 1902 by Theodore Hough, who concluded that this kind of soreness is “fundamentally the result of ruptures within the muscle.” (1) 

That tissue damage may relate most directly to soreness, as it may increase the sensitivity of the pain receptors, and cause pain with stretching, activity and touch.  The delayed onset of the soreness may also occur because the inflammatory response: (Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process.)(2)

Another common explanation is the presence of Lactic Acid built up in the muscle.  This is considered unlikely to be correct since lactic acid is removed from the muscle within an hour of intense exercise, and cannot therefore cause the soreness which normally begins about a day later. (1)

So, what do we do to help relieve this soreness?

  1. Cool down properly after exercise – Static stretch – hold for AT LEAST 30 seconds!!
  2. Ice down after an intense workout.
    1. When I was a Student Athletic Trainer at GMU, I recommended that athletes sit in an “Ice Bath” for about 10 minutes after a hard workout or practice. 
    2. Since most of us do not have access to an Ice Bath, just stick with ice packs.
  3. Drink a lot of water. 
    1. Muscle is comprised of mostly water (70%)
    2. It is recommended that you drink a min. of eight (8) – 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
  4. Sleep
  5. Exercise the next day
    1. Exercise alleviates the symptoms of soreness.
    2. Light warm-up or jog should suffice
    3. More intense workouts are beneficial too.

If you want some other ideas on how to alleviate soreness, email me at rrose@trueap.com.

Also, check out our NEW store!!  We have a few manuals covering the topic of proper warm-up and flexibility, which will help reduce soreness and improve performance.  Visit www.trueap.com/store – ALL products are 25% off for a limited time only!

HAVE A QUESTION FOR ROB ROSE, PRESIDENT OF TRUEAP?

  1. Write it down below this
  2. Email it to rrose@trueap.com.

Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.

Thanks,

Rob Rose