Everyone wants to work hard and push themselves to new limits; sometimes this comes at a cost. Many feel that if they are not sore, they didn't have a good workout or didn't work hard enough.
In reality, who wants to be sore all the time? Why do we gauge our workout based on our DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)?
As a trainer, I do NOT want my athletes being sore all of the time. If I have a soccer player that is so sore from her workout that she cannot perform at her best on the field the next day, I am doing more harm than good. Soreness can be a byproduct of a strenuous workout but it shouldn't be the goal of each workout.
What is muscle soreness and why do I get so sore?
Muscle soreness is a reaction to very small tears to your muscle fibers. These tears happen through resistance training and strenuous activities. A new workout routine can elicit this soreness due to the fact that you're introducing a new program to your body. Through a strenuous workout (sprinting, jumping, lifting) your body releases lactic acid that builds up in your muscles. In turn, this ensures that energy production is maintained and exercise can continue successfully.
TIPS TO PREVENT AND IMPROVE MUSCLE SORENESS
1. Foam Roll Before and after workouts, practice, and games. Foam rolling increases tissue quality by increasing blood flow to major muscle groups. Foam rolling before warm-ups allows the tissue to be prepped properly for activity.
2. Proper warm-up and cool down
-A proper dynamic warm-up of multi-joint movements will increase tissue temperature by increasing blood flow to the body. This will prep the body for the current workout and push some of the lactic acid out of the muscle if you were experiences soreness/tightness from the previous workout.
-The post workout cool down is equally important to do. You can follow a similar format as the warm up by foam rolling and then performing static stretches. This will help to remove lactic acid built up from the workout out of your muscles by increasing blood flow to those areas. After the foam rolling, performing stretches of holds from 20-45 seconds will help lengthen your muscle tissue, increase flexibility and to eliminate any DOMS that might occur.
3. Hydration Staying hydrated before, during, and after workouts is key to maintaining tissue quality especially while under pressure. Your muscles are over 70% water, and if we are not hydrated our muscle tissue will be compromised; which will lead to an increased risk of tissue tears, cramps, and DOMS.
4. Don't skip workouts Missing scheduled workouts will increase time between workouts and will not let your body get accustom to the stress of a workout. Our bodies are great at adapting, so give your body a chance to adapt to the new routine before taking long rest periods.
We often think the only thing we have to do is train hard but we forget about the other side of things. Just like we need to change the oil in our cars we need to perform proper maintenance to our bodies.