One question I get asked a lot is “How To Improve Muscle Recovery”.
Numerous things take place when you use a muscle, that is a whole other blog post in itself, for now I am going to just go over some of the things that I do to improve muscle recovery and reduce DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
Before we get into that though I want to go over the whole soreness thing. Soreness is not the only indicator of a good workout or getting gains. I hate it when people want to be sore for 3-4 days, this is not a good sign. If anything it’s a very bad one. You should feel like you have been worked, but you shouldn’t feel like you got hit by a truck.
For example, here is an easy way to get REALLY SORE. Hit yourself in the legs with a baseball bat. That will make you sore but it does not mean you are building muscle.
Another example go do 10 sets of 10 squats and then don’t eat anything for about 6 hours. Your recovery will be utter sh*t. That does not mean being sore is good.
So lets not focus on HOW SORE we are, and rather lets look at how to Improve Muscle Recovery so we can train harder and heavier the days following a hard workout.
It is VERY important to improve muscle recovery, if you have a hard leg workout on Monday and you have to bench on Tuesday you want to improve muscle recovery so that you can attack that tuesday workout, and not just get through it. The faster you can recover, the better you can train.
#1 Use BCAA’s
The best way to improve muscle recovery is to use BCAA’s.
I can’t stress enough how much I love BCAA’s. I have been using them for years now, even going way back before you could order them online or in supplement stores. I used to order compressed tabs that were like horse tablets and I used to eat about 20 during my workout. Needless to say it sucked and didn’t have the best impact on my stomach while doing squats!
Thankfully now with the amazing variety of BCAA’s on the market you can get them in powder form that tastes amazing and won’t leave you in a bind (get it….ok bad joke lol). I really recommend Xtend, Optimum Amino Recovery & Modern BCAA’s. This just a few, there are tons of great BCAA’s on the market.
#2 Get Carbohydrates Post Workout
I know that when building muscle we always get obsessed with protein. Protein, Protein, Protein. I get it. However for years I made the mistake of only focusing on Protein post workout. IE 2-3 scoops of whey protein with a glass of milk, I thought this would do the job.
You really need to focus on a COMBINATION of Carbohydrates & Protein, but the Carbohydrates got to be there. I usually try to get my carbs post workout from Waxy Maize Starch, mixed frozen berries, banana’s and spinach. Yes it sounds nasty but it actually tastes awesome.
I vary my carb intake depending on my goals (IE Fat Loss, Muscle Building etc.)
#3 Cardio Post Weights
Look plain and simple, stop being so damn lazy when lifting weights and take 8-10 minutes and go hop on a bike before you leave the gym (Especially after a hard leg workout). You want to do this for numerous reasons, but the big ones are flushing out lactic acid and getting fresh blood flow to the muscles to clear out a lot of the “junk” caused by hard workouts.
This will help you a ton, and make you feel fantastic.
#4 Get A Massage
The benefits for this are so many it is another blog post in itself.
Bottom line, get a massage. If possible I recommend getting a good massage once a week. It is one of the best ways to reduce soreness, improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and damn it just feels amazing!
#5 Foam Roll & Stretch
Yes I know, rolling sucks, as does stretching, but you have two options. You can do 8-10 minutes of it now and PREVENT injuries OR you can do none now, and get hurt, then end up doing 20 minutes a day AFTER YOUR INJURED.
The choice is yours, and trust me I am trying to help you here.
#6 Contrast Showers Or Ice Bath
Cold is your friend, but cold SUCKS! So the best way to do it is a contrast shower. So you start off warm, switch to cold for 10 seconds or so, then go back to warm. Repeat. I don’t suggest you go to extreme cold starting off as it can be quite the shock to the body.
Contrast showers work awesome, but they totally suck!
#7 Epson Salts
When I was doing a lot of martial arts and MMA training I was always achy and sore. It’s not the same muscle soreness from lifting, essentially having someone hit you, repeatably, causes pain and stiffness, who knew!
Epson salts can be a great way to reduce DOMS in a relaxing way. Some people swear by them. I haven’t used it much recently but I did a lot a few years ago.
So there you have it, Six simple and easy ways to Improve Muscle Recovery.
If you have any other good tips to add on improving muscle recovery please add them below, I look forward to hearing from you and I hope this helps you.