You can’t get stronger without lifting heavy weights. Chronic muscle soreness and fatigue caused by regular weight lifting can unfortunately leave you feeling sluggish and weak. This may slow down or even put a temporary halt to your progress. Lucky for you, there is fast and effective relief in sight. In this article, I am going to discuss 3 proven methods to help reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery from a scientific perspective.
Method 1: Cold Bath
Exposing your muscles to cold water post-workout will decrease muscle swelling and temperature, which in turn creates an altered perception of pain and discomfort. Although soreness signals are still being sent to your brain, they are masked by the cold water. A 2014 study published in the UK discovered that spending 10 minutes in water that was 6 degrees Celsius resulted in the least amount of soreness compared to placebo & other cold water temperatures and time duration .
Now if you’re not a big fan of cold water, there is still hope for you, at least according to a systematic review published in the journal of athletic training . They found that alternating between warm and cold water might be just as effective at reducing soreness and promoting recovery as cold water alone. Sadly not many of us have the luxury of a hot tub and ice bath side by side. In any case, a cool bath post workout is a simple, effective and proven way to soothe muscle ache.
Method 2: Foam Rolling
This awkward and sometimes uncomfortable technique increases blood flow to the affected muscles via the loosening of fascia and connective tissue. More blood flow means more cell growth and tissue repair to the sore muscles. Two major Canadian studies showed that as little as 10 minutes of foam rolling post workout can cause a significant reduction in soreness when it was applied to the quadriceps, calves, glutes, and hamstrings in comparison to people who did nothing [3,4].
Foam rolling can be performed on areas like the lats and lower back if you’re feeling restricted there as well. This simple and low cost method may take some getting used to, but in the end the results certainly speak for themselves.
Method 3: More Exercise:
Now you’re probably thinking I am a little bonkers for telling you to move even though it hurts so much! But believe it or not this is the best way to speed up muscle recovery. A study published in the early 90s looked at high speed muscle contractions and their role in reducing soreness and enhancing recovery post workout.
Not only did they find that these contractions were effective, but they were more effective at lowering soreness and improving athletic performance than icing the area . They suggest that the muscle contractions help to increase blood flow and flush out some of the left over lactic acid and metabolic waste from the day before. So if you are still a little stiff from your previous workout, a short cardio stint may be just what you need to get you feeling back to normal.
What’s your secret to dealing with muscle soreness? Feel free to let me know on YouTube!
 Glasgow, P. D., Ferris, R., & Bleakley, C. M. (2014). Cold water immersion in the management of delayed-onset muscle soreness: Is dose important? A randomised controlled trial. Physical Therapy in Sport, 15(4), 228-233.
 Pearcey, G. E., Bradbury-Squires, D. J., Kawamoto, J. E., Drinkwater, E. J., Behm, D. G., & Button, D. C. (2015). Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. Journal of athletic training, 50(1), 5-13.
 Bieuzen, F., Bleakley, C. M., & Costello, J. T. (2013). Contrast water therapy and exercise induced muscle damage: a systematic review and meta-analysis.PloS one, 8(4), e62356.
 Hasson, S., Barnes, W., Hunter, M., & Williams, J. (1990). Therapeutic effect of high speed voluntary muscle contractions on muscle soreness and muscle performance. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 10(12), 499-507.
 Isabell, W. K., Durrant, E., Myrer, W., & Anderson, S. (1992). The effects of ice massage, ice massage with exercise, and exercise on the prevention and treatment of delayed onset muscle soreness. Journal of Athletic Training,27(3), 208.