How to Relieve Muscle Pain After Exercise

Muscle pain after exercise can be a problem for some and refrain them from giving 100% during workout, as they don't want to deal with pain.

I don't get it.

I love to feel my muscles sore after workout. You should be sore, actually.

Being sore means that you did a great workout. It means that you stressed muscle fibres and that those muscles are trying to recover. Trying to get bigger and stronger.

If you have been working on a workout routine and haven't been sore the day after for a while, then it's time to change something.

Either increase the weights or change routine.


For the principle of muscle confusion.

Our body doesn't take long to adapt to changes, it gets used very quickly to the exercises that you do.

Muscle Pain After Exercise

If you do the same exercises all the time it works great for the first weeks, but then your body stops responding the same way.

That's when you need to confuse your muscles by starting doing different exercises, different movements.

Have you noticed that when you start a new routine with different exercises, even if you work out the same muscle groups, you experience muscle pain after exercise again?

Muscle soreness after workout must become your goal if you want to build muscle.

If that doesn't happen anymore, what you're doing is basically ineffective.

Some Muscle Pain After Exercise Facts

I've always heard the "experts" say that muscle soreness after workout is caused by the presence of lactic acid in the muscles. Have you been taught the same?

Alright, here you'll learn that it's incorrect, now it's time to learn the real story.

It is not the lactic acid, as it is commonly believed, to cause those annoying aches in muscles that we feel after practicing sport following a period of inactivity or good workouts at the gym.

It is due to micro-cracks in the muscle fibres, which are absolutely not serious, that appear after 24 to 48 hours from sport activity.

The pain is just a normal reaction of the body that is trying to recover and to fortify the tissues. It is not caused by lactic acid.

In fact, lactic acid is a waste product that is eliminated almost immediately.

How to Relieve Muscle Soreness After Workout

I've learned to live with the "muscle pain of the day after", I don't really mind it. As I said, I am glad when I am sore because I feel that my workout was a good one.

I usually just rest for a couple of days and allow my body to fully recover, and try to drink plenty of water to get rid of the toxins and the lactic acid (yeah I said it's not what causes the pain, but you still need to get rid of it from your body).

Besides that, the pain can be treated and diminished with simple measures, such as:

  • Apply ice on the painful area, creating a local vasoconstriction and reducing capillary permeability (this works well, for example, with small injuries, bruises etc. but not with muscle pain post workout)
  • Stretch the muscles for a few minutes. You should do stretching before and after workout
  • Drink plenty of water a day helps to hydrate the body, reduce fatigue and reduce muscle pain. In fact, during workout, the cells release much water causing a principle of dehydration that will raise the body temperature and worsens inflammation
  • After workout, it is also recommended to have a good protein shake, ideally within one hour from your workout, to help your muscles recover and rebuild stronger. I also recommend to take amino acids supplements to provide your body with the primary building blocks for your muscles to recover faster
  • Warm up before workout or sport activity. Do one or two warm up sets using 50% of the weight that you will use for the real sets. Doing 12 to 15 reps with low weights will warm up the muscles and prepare you for the actual workout, preventing sprains (which can be very painful and keep you away from the gym for long)
  • Massage the sore muscles if you can, or have someone do it for you
  • Have a warm bath or apply icy hot patches to the achy muscles
Massage for muscle pain after exercise

I love massage therapy to relieve muscle pain after exercise. It works!

Click here to read about remedies for lower back muscle pain that can apply to muscle pain after exercise

If you go at the bottom of the page you can find a few products that work great to relieve muscle pain.


Since I am curious and I like to know your opinion to add more info for my readers, I'd like to ask you a couple of questions:

  • What do you do when you experience muscle pain after exercise?
  • Are you usually more sore the next day or the second day after workout? What's your age? In my experience, younger people are more sore in the next 24 hours while older people are more sore in the next 48 hours...


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2 Responses

  1. Reymond
    I was a gym virgin and had my session last Wednesday and my trainer told me to do all the sets instead of doing it by portion every other day. Since it was my first time hitting the gym I ended up having muscle pain around my arms and up until now it still hurts. But planning to go back again today since that my muscle was able to rest for a day yesterday. Should I go for light sets today or should I need to go through still the sets that my coach wanted me to do?
    • Cristian Cristian
      Do what your coach says. It is common to train all the muscles each session in the same week at the beginning, just to get the whole body up and running. After the first month you probably want to separate muscle groups each session.