Sore muscles after strength training? So you are not yet ready for the loads. Learn how to recover faster and progress as quickly as possible.

Whether you’re trying to gain muscle mass, increase strength, or lose weight, you need to take care of yourself 24 hours a day. This is not an exaggeration. Of course, an hour or two of training is serious, but they only set an incentive for growth. What you do the rest of the time will determine whether you can achieve your goals.

The recovery process that takes place outside the gym is primarily nutrition-related. It is probably nutrition that has the greatest effect on your form. But the recovery process does not end there. There are many subtleties and nuances.




During exercise, many biochemical processes take place. Muscle fibers are injured, and glycogen is consumed. The response to the load is most often manifested in pain after training. Of course, you can leave the gym and spend the rest of the day as if there was no training. But the essence of proper recovery is to squeeze the maximum benefit and reduce all the negative consequences of muscle microtrauma.

According to A. Barnett’s 2006 Inter-Workout Recovery Schedule for Advanced Athletes, neglecting recovery will leave you unable to train properly and produce the right amount of work the next time you hit the gym. Fatigue can lead to injury. Moreover, full recovery is essential for optimal athletic performance.

Unfortunately, recovery is a purely individual matter. Factors like age, genetics, training style, and experience are extremely important. A 25-year-old pro bodybuilder and a rookie woman in her 50s will recover differently. However, the following 6 tips will help almost everyone recover as efficiently as possible.


Drinking plain water between sets is essential for normal hydration and body temperature regulation. But by adding carbohydrates or amino acids to your water, you will also improve energy and well-being.

“Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your muscles, ” says nutritionist Paul Salter. – The harder and harder you train, the more fuel your body needs in the form of carbohydrates. This is especially true for sports like powerlifting and bodybuilding where there is little time under tension.”

But energizing during exercise is only the beginning. “Carbohydrates have an anti-catabolic function. They minimize muscle breakdown, ” Salter writes. – If consumed during training, they will reduce overall muscle damage from exertion. They have a positive effect on recovery time because fewer muscle cells get injured.”

To get the most benefit, consume the “right” carbs. Fast carbohydrates like glucose, dextrose or carbohydrate sports nutrition products are suitable for us. It is also important to consider the duration of the workout and the amount of carbohydrates consumed so as not to overload the gastrointestinal tract.

Carbohydrates are great on their own, and when combined with branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), they become even better. Carbohydrates and BCAAs are designed to reduce muscle breakdown and cortisol levels, which cannot be said about ordinary water. In addition, taking them before or during a workout will reduce post-workout pain.



Massage is wonderful. But often there is not enough money or time for it, and not many studies have confirmed its benefits for recovery. This does not mean that you should refuse a massage if you like it. For example, R. M. Tiidus in his work “Alternative treatment of muscle microtraumas” recommends massage after training. You can simply resort to a more affordable option, such as self-massage with a roller.

Over the past few years, research has been conducted on the benefits of myofascial release. A 2015 Canadian study (Massage Roller for Muscle Fatigue and Dynamic Recovery) found that the use of a massage roller reduced post-workout pain. The subjects performed self-massage on the roller immediately after training, 24 and 48 hours later.

Someone might think that a massage roller can be replaced with a regular stretch. But it is not. A 2011 study by R. D. Herbert and M. de Norona, Stretching as a Way to Prevent Muscle Soreness after Exercise, showed that stretching was ineffective in recovery.


Muscle recovery is faster in an infrared sauna.

Infrared saunas increase body temperature. In one study, subjects experienced reduced muscle soreness after exercising with regular sauna visits. Infrared sauna is a favorite way to de-stress American football players.

“Infrared saunas relax tired muscles and joints, which is necessary for people involved in power sports,” researchers F. Oosterveld and B. Westhuis state in the scientific article “Infrared Saunas and Health; physiological effects of hyperthermia. “Because infrared saunas increase body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and sweating, you need to be hydrated enough.”

Do not confuse infrared therapy with a regular sauna, bath or jacuzzi. After a good workout, the body temperature is already elevated. Sauna after exercise will lead to dehydration, cramps, and in some cases, hyperthermia. For this reason, infrared saunas are not recommended immediately after a workout.

Infrared saunas can be used in many spas. If you are actively training and preparing for competitions, an infrared sauna is a good way to reward yourself for your efforts in the gym.


Most add about 20 grams of protein powder to their carbs in their post-workout shake. But scientists advise doubling this amount for better protein synthesis and recovery (L. S. McNaughton, “Muscle Protein Synthesis Response After Exhausting All Muscle Groups on 40 and 20 Grams of Whey Protein”).

Studies have shown that protein synthesis increased by 20% in those who consumed 40 grams of protein. In addition, the improvement in protein synthesis did not even depend on the percentage of fat in the subject’s body.


Sleep deprivation is a nightmare for your form. Brazilian scientists M. Dattilo and J. Antunes proved that lack of sleep and its poor quality can increase weight (“Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new hypothesis”, 2011). This is mainly due to increased hunger and appetite. Poor sleep also impairs muscle recovery and protein synthesis due to an increase in catabolic hormones and a decrease in anabolic hormones such as testosterone and insulin-like growth factor.

It is important not only the amount of night sleep (7-9 hours), but also its quality. To get the most out of your sleep, follow our recommendations:

  • Keep the room at a cool temperature. Rooms without air conditioning, located on the sunny side, will heat up more in summer and cool longer. Use fans and cover windows.
  • Use blackout curtains, especially in summer when the sun rises early in the morning.
  • If noise outside the window or from neighbors prevents you from falling asleep, turn on the recording of nature sounds – they will help you relax.
  • Do not forget about such a phenomenon as sleep apnea syndrome (sudden cessation of breathing during sleep). This is a common occurrence among bodybuilders in athletes involved in power sports.


This is great advice that many people neglect. After the main workout, you should do calm cardio. Its length may vary. At the end of the workout, the heart rate (hereinafter – heart rate) should not exceed the norm by more than 10-20 beats. In the framework of the study, it was proved that such an aerobic exercise will help to remove the metabolic breakdown products (lactate, ammonium, and hydrogen ions) that have arisen after anaerobic exercise. As a result, you will recover much faster for the next workout, according to T. Bompa and S. Bucicelli in their work “Periodization of the training process in sports.”

When you have finished your workout, measure your blood pressure and heart rate. Do 2 minutes of low-intensity cardio for every 10 beats above your normal heart rate. It is recommended to use an ellipse if there was a top workout before, and an exercise bike if there was a leg workout before. If before that there was cardio – use any simulator you like.


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