How to Relax after an Intense Workout: 3 Proven Methods
For people who love the gym, there is no better feeling than coming home after a hard workout where you break through your plateaus and reach your goals. However, with those gains comes the dread known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which might completely disable you the following day.
In this article, we've outlined the top 3 best, proven way to reduce DOMS after an intense workout.
Jacuzzi or Hot Tub
After a grueling session in the gym, your muscles will be weaker from micro-tears happening deep within. To increase the rate of healing, it's important to get blood circulating again. Without exercising again, you can restore circulation with a jacuzzi or a hot tub. The hot water paired with the pressure jets will get your blood circulating without your heart doing all the work. If you don't have access to a Jacuzzi, you can always look at an inflatable hot tub online for much cheaper than you think.
If you live in an apartment and a jacuzzi or hot tub is completely out of the question, you can simply take a warm bath and you can gentle massage the muscles that you worked in the warm water. Be sure to constantly re-heat the water for maximum effect.
Studies show that restoring blood flow to sore muscles improves recovery time, which is why we recomend some light exercise 6-8 hours after your initial, intense workout session. If you did any lower body training, some light cardio on the treadmill or elliptical can do wonders. For the upper body, some kneeling pushups can get the blood flowing without too much intensity.
When doing your cardio, keep the resistance settings on your equipment to the absolute minimum. You don't want to jog or run, but you also don't want to walk at a snail's pace. Try to keep up a brisk pace, with a focus on keeping the heart rate elevated without breaking out a sweat.
On your push ups, be sure to do a type of pushup which you can perform easily 50 or more reps. Alternatively, if you are in the gym, you can use assisted pull ups, chin-ups or dips to achieve the same effect. The important part here is we want to lightly work the muscles, getting blood pumping to that area without getting heart working too hard and without making new tears in the muscle.
Protein Shakes and Glutamine
It is known in the body building community that consuming protein shakes with glutamine immediately following a workout will decrease doms and improve muscle gains. Studies back-up that claim, as found in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. For best results, bring your shaker with protein pre-scooped to the gym. Once you complete your workout, fill the shaker with water and consume the entire shake within 30 minutes.
There is no conclusive evidence on which protein power type is best for reducing DOMS, so feel free to use whey, casein or even a vegan protein powder and they should all work just fine.
And there you have it, 3 simple, affordable and science backed ways to reduce DOMS after a hard workout. We all know the best way to make gains in the gym is to lift heavy and push your body. If you are scared of DOMS returning the following day, it may prevent you from adding the extra weight or pushing that last pump. Hopefully, with this information on how to alleviate DOMS, you can go harder without any fear or regrets. The next time you don't think you can squeeze that last rep or set, fear not! See you at the gym!