Having had an injury myself recently, which stuck around for way too long, when I was asked about stretching, how to prevent injury and also, what to do when you get DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) – I thought I’d write this quick blog piece.
Question 1: When should I stretch – before or after exercise?
The answer is both. Do dynamic stretching before you work out and static stretching afterwards.
Question 2: What’s the difference between dynamic stretching and static stretching?
Dynamic stretching warms up the body for movement. So do this prior to exercise. It activates the muscles, ligaments and joints. These movements are not held like a static stretch. They are ‘in motion’ stretches – mirroring the movements we might do during exercise and used to prevent injury.
Static stretching is used after working out, when the muscles are warm. They are deep stretches that can be held between 10-30 seconds to elongate the muscles and increase flexibility. Sometimes when you do a lot of plyometric movements and lift weights the muscles shorten. Static stretching afterwards lengthens the muscle and will prevent soreness later down the line.
Question 3: What are your tips to reduce muscle soreness after working out?
- If you’re not used to plyometric movements that are normally involved in HIIT workouts, try bringing the exercise down a notch. Go for a low intensity version. A good trainer should always give that option.
- Use a foam roller after training – they are an amazing way to loosen the muscles.
- Build resistance training into your routine. The stronger the muscles are and the more they get activated, the greater chance you’ll lessen soreness. It’s like anything – the less you use something, the rustier it gets! Your muscles are the same.
- Take magnesium. This is the go to supplement for trainers and athletes. I use magnesium oil and take a powdered supplement and it works wonders.
- Take an Epsom Salt bath – it’ll sooth those aches and pains and chill you out to boot!
- Eat protein rich food. This wonder macro helps repair muscle (and and it keeps you feeling fuller for longer!)
- Drink your H2O – dehydrated muscles are sore muscles. So drink plenty of water. At least 2l a day – more if you’re doing cardio. It’ll also rid your body of toxins.
- Have your BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) – these increase the absorption of amino acids and will help prevent muscle soreness.
I hope this helps! And as always – share with someone who might be a little sore today and need some help!