Yep we said it.
Don’t stretch…if you are trying to relieve sore muscles because it WON’T WORK! (I’m not saying cut out stretching all together, I’m just saying stretching will not alleviate your sore muscles.)
Sore muscles are a function of training, exercising, squatting, lifting, sprinting, the list goes on. To train your muscles means to actually tear them down and injure them so they grow, recruit new fibers, and get stronger and faster. Your body’s natural process during training is to create inflammation and adhesions (little pockets of swelling and inflammation) that help heal the muscles. It is these adhesions that are often times the source of the pain.
Excessive exercise and training can also cause lactic acid build up which can lead to cramping, fatigue, exhaustion and pain.
Stretching WILL NOT alleviate either of these training induced pains, but what it WILL DO is help relax and lengthen the muscle, fascia, ligaments and tendons and reduce the pull on the affected joint (knee, hip, ankle, shoulder, etc) ultimately reducing the risk of injury. (Quick tip, if you ARE stretching (and you SHOULD!) post work out or game, MAKE SURE you stretch a muscle group a minimum of 30-90 seconds holding the stretch not bouncing.) So YES….we do need to stretch after training, BUT not in hopes of minimizing muscular pain.
If you want to relieve sore muscles, then do these things instead:
- Get ROLLING!!! Get a foam roller, a GRID, a stick roller, a PVC pipe, whatever, and roll those adhesions out. Flush that inflammation back into the lymph system and get it moving out of your body. We aren’t going to lie, rolling hurts! For many of our injured athletes we recommend rolling before and after workouts. You can’t roll too much and our favorite roller is the GRID with its unique design and travel sizes.
- Get a massage. It is basically the same concept as rolling (trigger point therapy). A trained massage therapist can find those spots and help work out those pains. The more uncomfortable the better!
- Carry a portable percussion massager to games and tournaments. Sometimes our kids shudder at the thought of rolling and can take it better when we use this tool.
- Take ice bath and use ice packs. We know this habit is uncomfortable but it is incredibly effective for reducing inflammation
- Espom salt baths. There is nothing better to soothe sore muscles than an Epsom salt bath. While you are at it add some essential oils!
- Use essential oils like lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, and more. Rub them directly on the sore areas or add it to your Epsom salt bath. There are many premixed blends on the market as well. Quite frankly any of these blends need to STAY in your gym bag or mom’s purse. We never go to a practice or game without them!!! Blends we love include:
- Doterra’s Deep Blue oil and rub on gel – it also comes in sample size which is so easy to carry on the go!
- Young Living’s Cool Azul oil and gel, Relieve It, and PanAway
- Drink MORE WATER! You might feel like we’re a broken record when we say this, and we do too! There is never enough water in the world to flush out all of the inflammation and lactic acid. If you want to give your water more absorbability and staying power then add something like Kyani Nitro drops or powder and a splash of grapefruit juice pre and post workout. If your diet is very high in protein, then double to triple your water intake as well as Kyani Nitro or Nitro Extreme
- Avoid SUGAR and sugar sweetened beverages like the plague! Every time you eat or drink sweets (coffee, tea, soda, fruit juice, etc) and your blood sugar goes over 120 you activate every inflammation system in your body, thereby causing more inflammation and pain and LONGER recovery. Stop it!
If you want more information on the essential oils, Kyani products, or nutritional advice mentioned in this blog, contact us! We have a highly qualified nutritional expert on staff who can work with you to create a special plan for you or your athlete’s unique needs.