How to deal with sore muscles after an intense workout.

deal with sore muscles after an intense workout
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We have all had to experience sore muscles after an intense workout. The soreness seems to be amplified especially in the morning, leaving you either stuck in bed or disorganized throughout your daily routine.

What do you do in such a situation and why does it even happen? It is often assumed that continuing your intense workout routine despite the sore muscles is a better way to deal with it but how true is that?

In this post, we will explore Why we experience sore muscles after an intense workout, what implications it has on your body, and how to deal with it.


When you engage in strenuous physical activity, especially if it’s an exercise routine that your body isn’t accustomed to, you subject your muscles to stress and strain beyond their usual level of exertion. This leads to microscopic damage to the muscle fibers and connective tissues.

Dr. William O. Roberts, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, explains: “DOMS is thought to be a result of microscopic damage to muscle fibers, most likely due to eccentric exercise, which is when the muscle lengthens as it contracts. This type of loading is common in strength training but also occurs in endurance exercises like running downhill.”

During exercise, particularly during eccentric movements (lengthening of the muscle under tension), such as the lowering phase of a squat or the extension phase of a bicep curl, your muscle fibers develop small tears. This damage triggers an inflammatory response as your body works to repair and rebuild these fibers. This inflammation is a normal part of the muscle repair process.

What are the Implications of prolonged sore muscles after every intense Workout?

Experiencing prolonged sore muscles after an intense workout routine has a positive side and a negative side to it. the positive side to having sore muscles are as follows.

  • Increased Muscle Strength and Size: Intense workouts that lead to muscle soreness may stimulate muscle growth and strength gains over time as the muscles adapt to the stress.
  • Improved Endurance: Endurance athletes often experience soreness after intense training sessions, which can lead to adaptations that improve their ability to sustain prolonged activity.
  • Mental Toughness: Regularly pushing through discomfort and soreness can help build mental resilience and discipline, which are valuable attributes in achieving fitness goals.

READ ALSO: The major role sleep plays in weight loss.

The negative side to prolonged sore muscles are :

  • Risk of Overtraining: Prolonged soreness after every workout may indicate that the body isn’t fully recovering between sessions. Overtraining can lead to decreased performance, increased risk of injury, and other negative health outcomes.
  • Impaired Daily Functioning: Severe muscle soreness can interfere with daily activities, making it difficult to move comfortably, sit, stand, or perform tasks effectively.
  • Increased Risk of Injury: Sore muscles are more susceptible to injury, especially if proper recovery protocols are not followed. Continuing to train intensely without adequate rest can lead to overuse injuries.
  • Psychological Burnout: Constant soreness without adequate recovery may lead to mental fatigue, demotivation, and burnout, diminishing the enjoyment and sustainability of an exercise routine.

Persistent pain could also be a sign of an underlying health issue such as insufficient nutrition and hydration or a lack of sleep and rest.


To alleviate muscle soreness after an intense workout, there are several strategies you can implement to promote recovery and reduce discomfort. Here’s a detailed guide:

Rest and Recovery:

  • Allow your body sufficient time to rest and recover between intense workouts. Overtraining can exacerbate muscle soreness and increase the risk of injury.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support muscle repair and overall recovery.


  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to stay hydrated. Proper hydration supports optimal muscle function and aids in the removal of metabolic waste products from the muscles.
  • Consider electrolyte-replenishing drinks or coconut water to replace lost electrolytes during intense workouts.


  • Consume a balanced diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support muscle repair and recovery.
  • Include high-quality protein sources such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and plant-based protein sources to provide essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair.
  • Eat carbohydrate-rich foods to replenish glycogen stores and provide energy for muscle recovery and repair.
  • Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish to help reduce inflammation and promote recovery.

Active Recovery:

  • Engage in light, low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga to promote blood flow and aid in the removal of metabolic waste products from the muscles.
  • Active recovery can help alleviate muscle soreness by stimulating circulation and promoting muscle relaxation.

Stretching and Mobility Exercises:

  • Perform gentle stretching exercises targeting the muscles worked during your workout. Focus on static stretches held for 15-30 seconds to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension.
  • Incorporate dynamic mobility exercises such as arm circles, leg swings, and hip circles to increase blood flow and range of motion in the joints.

Foam Rolling and Self-Massage:

  • Use a foam roller or massage roller to perform self-myofascial release (SMR) on tight or sore muscles. Roll slowly and deliberately over tender areas, pausing for 20-30 seconds on trigger points.
  • Foam rolling helps break up adhesions in the muscle fascia, improves circulation, and reduces muscle stiffness and soreness.

Cold Therapy:

  • Apply cold packs or ice baths to sore muscles to reduce inflammation and numb pain. Cold therapy constricts blood vessels, which can help alleviate swelling and discomfort.
  • Limit cold therapy sessions to 10-20 minutes at a time to avoid tissue damage, and always use a barrier (such as a towel) between the ice pack and your skin to prevent frostbite.

Warm-Up and Cool-Down:

  • Prioritize a thorough warm-up before your workout to prepare your muscles for activity and reduce the risk of injury. Incorporate dynamic stretches and light aerobic exercises to increase blood flow and elevate muscle temperature.
  • After your workout, cool down with gentle cardiovascular exercise and static stretching to gradually lower your heart rate and promote muscle relaxation.


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Emmanuel Papa Brew

Emmanuel Brew

With three years of experience in lifestyle blogging, Emmanuel Brew is a seasoned writer known for his engaging content. An avid health and fitness enthusiast, Emmanuel shares valuable tips on social life, blending his passion for well-being with storytelling. Follow Kwame’s journey for a unique perspective on health tips and meaningful lifestyle.