Muscle soreness is one of the most frustrating side effects of new or intense exercise. While many people embrace sore muscles as a sign of hard graft in the gym, it’s vital that you listen to your body and give it plenty of time to recover after heavy workouts.
Fortunately, there are ways in which you can reduce the worst effects of muscle soreness in order to speed up the recovery process.
In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at six of the most effective methods of getting rid of sore legs after a heavy squatting workout. What’s more, we’ll also look to answer a couple of the frequently asked questions.
Fuel Your Body
The first way to get rid of sore legs from squats is to fuel your body correctly. This is because by feeding your body correctly with the nutrients it needs to repair and grow stronger, the quicker the recovery process will be.
A good amount of protein is essential as this provides the amino acids the body needs to rebuild the muscle tissue, while carbohydrates are equally important in replenishing the fuel stores that have been used up during your squatting workout.
In addition to eating the right kind of food, it’s also incredibly important to keep yourself hydrated both during and after your workout.
This is a vital part of muscle recovery due to the fact that water keeps the fluids moving through your system. Not only does this help to deliver nutrients to your muscles, it also eases inflammation and helps to flush out any waste products.
Use A Foam Roller
The next method we’ll take a closer look at is the use of a foam roller. This technique is incredibly effective for releasing tension in both the muscles and connective tissues of the legs after a squatting session.
As found by the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, foam rolling helps to increase circulation to the affected area, delivering a greater amount of oxygen and nutrients.
As a result, legs are less likely to suffer from swelling, tenderness, and delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS).
If you’re thinking of investing in a foam roller, it’s a good idea to look for a softer version to start with.
This is because, while firmer foam rollers allow you to apply considerably more pressure, they can be a little too intense and painful if you’re unaccustomed to them.
Do Some Light Exercise
Putting your workout gear back on may be the last thing you want to do after leg day but getting your body moving again through gentle movement like restorative yoga or an easy walk is far more beneficial than sitting on your couch all day with your feet up.
Just make sure you avoid anything too intense that targets the same muscle groups. Yoga has been proven by many studies to be very effective when treating sore muscles. However, it depends on the type or position you're doing. Check out this article on yoga for sore muscles to guide you!
Ultimately, you want to get your blood moving to the sore muscles in order to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients required for repair - without causing any further damage to the muscle tissue.
Try Having A Massage
Having a massage is one of the best ways to get rid of sore legs after a heavy weights session. A number of studies have shown that a post-exercise massage can significantly reduce muscle pain as it limits the release of cytokines - a compound which causes inflammation in the body.
What’s more, a good sports massage can also help the body by stimulating mitochondria in cells. This promotes cell function and repair which is vital for recovery after an intense workout.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Needless to say, getting plenty of sleep is essential if you want your body to recover as quickly as possible after a heavy workout.
While it may not have a direct scientific link to reduced muscle soreness, it can seriously help in terms of providing the body with adequate rest and recovery time.
This is supported by the National Sleep Foundation who recommend at least seven hours of sleep per night.
Use Ice Packs And Heating Pads
Heating pads can increase blood flow and are thought to flush out some of the inflammation or byproducts related to muscle soreness.
Moreover, adding ice to the affected area can limit tissue breakdown and swelling after a workout by constricting the body’s blood vessels. This is why ice baths are so popular among top-level athletes.
Using a combination of heat and ice to get rid of sore legs is a highly effective method of removing exercise-induced muscle soreness. The best way to do this is to alternate between the two every 15 to 20 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Bad If I’m Still Sore After Three Days?
Most muscle soreness lasts for around 24 to 48 hours and is commonly known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This is completely normal and nothing to worry about over the first couple of days after a workout.
However, if you experience any kind of significant muscle soreness that lasts longer than five days, this is likely more serious than DOMS.
There’s every chance that it could be a sign of significant muscle damage - far beyond what’s considered beneficial.
Does Soreness Mean Growth?
Yes, if your muscle soreness only lasts for a couple of days this is absolutely fine as it’s just your muscles repairing and growing. This happens to all athletes after a particularly tough workout, even some of the most conditioned and experienced athletes that have been exercising for years.
Doing too few squats may keep you from reaching your goals effectively. However, doing too many can lead to unwanted strain or injury to your muscles. Make sure to know how many squats you should do a day so you can see growth and results.