7 Underrated Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness

Tired, sore? Do this…

Check out 7 simple ways to relieve muscle soreness in the paragraphs to come.

Feeling sore after a workout is a common phenomenon often associated with muscle growth. However, the relationship between delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and building muscle is more complex than many believe. Research indicates that muscle damage, the culprit behind soreness, is not a prerequisite for muscle growth.

In fact, excessive muscle damage may hinder new muscle development, delaying your return to the gym and impeding overall progress. This article explores the intricacies of muscle soreness, dispels myths, and provides practical tips to enhance recovery, allowing you to train hard without compromising your gains.

The ideas and information you will see below was first shared by Max Posternak. Max Posternak, the visionary behind Gravity Transformation, is dedicated to providing advice and training tips for those seeking fitness improvement and weight loss. With over 5.5 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, Max has become a go-to source for fitness enthusiasts.

Check out what are these 7 simple ways to relieve muscle soreness.

7 Underrated Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness

The Role of Exercise Variety: Contrary to the belief that changing exercises frequently leads to more significant gains, the repeated bout effect suggests that consistent exercise selection reduces muscle soreness over time.

While variety is essential, chasing soreness by constantly switching exercises may prioritise neurological adaptations over muscular ones. A balanced approach involves changing workouts every six to eight weeks to stimulate muscle growth while allowing for adaptation.

Optimizing Diet for Recovery: Nutrition plays a crucial role in recovery, and incorporating sufficient omega-3 fatty acids can alleviate muscle and joint soreness. A study testing omega-3 supplements’ impact on inflammation and soreness revealed promising results.

Consuming fatty fish, such as salmon, twice a week can contribute to a balanced omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, promoting recovery.

salmon magnesium deficiencySource: tycoon

Contrast Therapy: Contrast therapy, alternating between hot and cold treatments, emerges as a powerful recovery tool. This method, backed by research, surpasses other recovery modalities in reducing muscle soreness, improving strength levels, and enhancing overall recovery. While a cold and hot shower serves as a practical approach, combining a sauna with an ice plunge offers a more intense yet effective experience.

Caffeine’s Surprising Role: Caffeine consumption before a workout has been linked to reduced muscle soreness and fatigue. Studies show that caffeine’s antioxidant properties aid recovery and diminish pain perception, making it a valuable pre-workout addition. However, maintaining a balance and limiting caffeine intake to pre-workout sessions ensures optimal effectiveness.

Foam Rolling Benefits: Though ongoing research explores the efficacy of foam rolling, evidence suggests its potential to reduce muscle soreness. Studies indicate that post-workout foam rolling leads to decreased soreness, improved athletic performance, muscle activation, vertical jump height, and flexibility. While individual responses may vary, incorporating foam rolling into your routine could enhance recovery.

Active Recovery’s Counterintuitive Impact: Staying active after intense workouts may seem counterintuitive, but studies support its effectiveness in reducing muscle soreness. Engaging in low to moderate-intensity cycling immediately after strength training has shown to decrease muscle pain and enhance strength levels. This counters the misconception that complete rest is the best recovery strategy.

The Power of Quality Sleep: Quality sleep emerges as a cornerstone of effective recovery. Inadequate sleep not only intensifies muscle soreness but also prolongs its duration. Research on sleep-deprived athletes highlights compromised physical and cognitive function, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing sleep for optimal recovery. Consistent sleep schedules, a dark sleep environment, and supplements like magnesium and melatonin can contribute to better sleep quality.

Sleep qualitySource: Александар Цветановић / Pexels

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In the end, understanding the nuances of muscle soreness is crucial for maximizing gains and preventing setbacks in your fitness journey.

While soreness may not directly correlate with muscle growth, adopting evidence-backed recovery strategies enhances overall performance and well-being. Incorporating a balanced exercise routine, optimizing nutrition, embracing contrast therapy, harnessing caffeine strategically, integrating foam rolling, staying active, and prioritizing quality sleep collectively form a comprehensive approach to accelerated recovery and sustained progress.

You can watch Posternak’s explanation in video format. Simply click on the button below to see him explaining 7 simple ways to relieve muscle soreness.

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Massages prompt self-myofascial release. A popular method to achieve this is through foam rolling, which might seem to help from empirical evidence but research on the actual benefits of foam rolling is still lacking.

That being said, there are three studies that have shown positive effects of foam rolling on reducing muscle soreness.

Read more: Why Massage Guns Should be in Every Athlete’s Recovery Toolkit

Active recovery

Active recovery can be a good method to reduce muscle soreness. This includes cooldowns and low-intensity exercise.

This is also an under-researched area but there are a handful of studies that have found that active recovery, whether performed directly after exercise or in the days following a workout, can reduce muscle soreness compared to not performing it.

Importantly, use a low-intensity exercise that involves the muscles you’ve worked.


Research is relatively inconclusive when it comes to supplements to recover from a workout and reduce muscle soreness. However, he mentions that the research behind Omega 3 is promising. The supplement seems to improve anabolic signalling which likely increases muscle repair and muscle growth.

Caffeine before a workout seems to also reduce muscle soreness.

Slow increases in training intensity

Slowly increasing the intensity of your workouts is the easiest way to avoid muscle soreness and give you the best chances to properly recover from a workout.

If you’re a beginner, de-trained, or starting a new exercise routine make sure you take a few weeks to ease into your program. Work at volumes and intensities that are lower than you normally would to prevent excessive soreness.

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