Muscle soreness is a thing we all go through whether it’s good or bad muscle soreness. Is there good and bad muscle soreness? When I think of this I think good muscle soreness would be linked more with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and when I think bad I think due to an Injury.
Muscle soreness is due to the presence of inflammation. This can be due to an injury such as a muscle strain or due to DOMS.
Muscle soreness causes…
- Local tissue swelling
- Decreased blood supply
- A tight compartment in the muscle due to inflammation
(Brukner and Khan, Clinical Sports Medicine)
Muscle soreness is a side effect of the repair process that develops in response to microscopic muscle damage (ACSM and Crossfit Journal). To repair this microdamage from all your hard work in training the body initiates an inflammatory response to initiate the healing response. With DOMS you will feel soreness, aching, tightness and muscle tenderness upon palpation (Petrofsky et al., 2013). This pain won’t last forever it’s just a natural response to training, but there are ways we can reduce the intensity of this muscle soreness.
DOMS can be felt as a dull ache. So imagine you’ve been taking a little break over Christmas, eating many slices of turkey. Then you come back after Christmas and you’ve done no exercise and you do a horrific workout. You then wake up the next day and BAM your legs feel like they are going to fall off. Yes, this is DOMS. DOMS usually occurs after certain types of exercises, such as… you haven’t trained for a while; you have never done the exercise, a lot of eccentric exercises (muscle contraction when the muscle is lengthening) or maybe a new exercise programme? DOMS affects all of us!
This dull ache will start to develop after around 12 hours and you will feel the real muscle soreness kicking in around 24-48 hours post-exercise, peaking at 48 hours (Brukner and Khan, Petrofsky et al., 2013). Unfortunately, this type of muscle soreness occurs to enable us to develop and progress in our training. This pain won’t last forever and normally after 72 hours this muscle soreness will begin to decrease. The good thing is a study by Petrofsky and colleagues show that DOMS dramatically decreases when our body is exposed to a similar stimulus which previously caused our DOMs recently.
In this blog, we are going to target our Glutes. There are plenty of ways to help target muscle soreness and below are some ideas:
- Knee to chest with rotation
- Pidgeon stretch
Hold these stretches for at least 30-60 seconds to allow muscle relaxation to occur. Make sure you do not stretch into pain, as this will increase your chances of injury.
Benefits of stretching
- Decreases stiffness and possible tension in the muscle
- Promotes muscle relaxation
- Increase circulation
(Gremion et al., 2005; Petrofsky et al., 2013)
Lacrosse ball work
Lacrosse ball work into the glutes is perfect and will act as a self-myofascial release. Follow the video below and release those glutes! Remember if this is too uncomfortable for you there are other ways to release your glutes such as the use of a foam roller which will yes still be painful but will be a bit softer. Personally, I find the lacrosse ball more effective!
Benefits of Lacrosse Ball massage
- Increase muscle relaxation
- Increase circulation
- Increase recovery
How to manage muscle soreness of the Glutes
This is important to enable you to carry on training and prevent injury decreasing lactate levels in muscles compared to the couch potato kind of recovery on the sofa (Micklewright et al., 2017).
With gentle movement pain usually decreases. Sitting about doing nothing is when you are going to really feel that muscle soreness. Non-weight bearing exercises such as cycling, airdyne bike work will help with DOMS. Keep this nice and light and keep the body moving.
Keep the glutes moving so perform some glut targeting exercises such as lunging but keep this light with low repetition. We are thinking more about keeping movement in the glutes than loading the muscle itself. This will help blood flow to the area which will promote healing and therefore reduce muscular soreness.
Post-exercise apply compression garments to decrease/prevent muscle soreness. For example, apply compression leggings to target the glutes.
Benefits of Active Recovery and Compression
- Increase removal of blood lactate level (Chatard et al., 1996)
- Aid venous return
- Promoting stable alignment of muscle fibres and decreasing the inflammatory response
- Decrease swelling (Petrofsky et al., 2013)
Benefits of Sports Massage
- Increase rate of recovery
- Increase circulation
- Increase nutrients to muscle
Give some of these a go as learning to manage muscle soreness will make your training a lot more enjoyable, and comfortable and will also prevent injuries from occurring. So, let’s kick that muscle soreness in the butt!
If you need help with muscle soreness, book a Sports Massage appointment with us.
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST