When it comes to maximizing your results, proper rest and recovery are just as important as your workout. If you have overworked your muscles and are now paying the price, you need to give your body time to recover.
Remember the following tips to help prevent soreness in the future, and help alleviate soreness now:
- Always warm-up and cool-down for at least 5 minutes.
- Stretch after your warm-up, during your workout, and after you are done. Only stretch when your muscles are warm from some kind of light activity.
- Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of “actively recovering” with light exercise, you’ll be sore longer.
When you have overdone it and are feeling too sore to perform your usual workout, try this gentle circuit that will help your muscles recover by gently stretching and exercising sore muscles.
Do 1 to 3 sets of this light workout to help your muscles recover.
For this workout you’ll need: a foam roller
Stand with feet wider than hip width, knees slightly bent, arms extended overhead, and palms facing in. Keeping your pelvis still, slowly start to reach your upper body and arms to the left, then overhead, and then to the right, tracing a full circle. Repeat left five times, then right five times.
Back Extension Chest Opener
Stand with feet wider than hip width, knees slightly bent, hands clasped behind your lower back. Extend spine and arms back, bending backwards as far as you feel comfortable going, pressing your pelvis forward. Slowly return to start. Repeat five times.
Extended Triangle Twist
Take a wide step forward with your left foot, keeping both feet flat on the floor. Hinge forward from your hips, and bring your chest parallel to the floor, extending arms out overhead, palms pressed on top of the upright roller. Slowly rotate your torso to the left, reaching left arm overhead to the ceiling. Try to look up at your hand. Hold for five deep breaths and then reverse, repeating three times on each side.
Foam Roller Marches
Lie face up on the roller (it should line up with your spine) with knees bent, feet hip-width apart and flat on the ground. Extend arms out to the sides, elbows bent and resting on the floor, palms facing up. Brace your abs in tight and slowly begin to march your legs one at a time off the floor. Your knee stays bent at 90 degrees while you raise it above your hip, keeping your body as still as possible. March, alternating legs, 20 times total.
Bridge and Release
Turn the roller so that it is perpendicular to your spine, and place it under your lower back (your upper body should be resting on the floor, knees bent, feet hip width and flat on the ground). Cross your arms over your chest and lift your hips into bridge pose, squeezing your glutes and lifting your hips with your lower back, for five counts. Slowly lower your hips and press your lower back into the roller, relaxing your glutes and legs and allowing your back to sink into the roller. Hold for five deep breaths. Repeat up to three more times.
Kneeling Hip and Quad Stretch
Begin kneeling, with the roller perpendicular to you on the floor. Step your right foot forward and over the roller, lunging into your leg, shifting your weight off of your back knee. Position the roller under your left thigh in front of your knee, tucking your toes under to lift up into a low lunge. Switch sides and repeat.
Rolling Cobra Contraction
Lie face down with your shins resting on top of the roller, hip-width apart. Bend your arms and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Extend your spine and press down with your arms, lifting your hips off the floor as you extend back. Take a deep breath in, open your chest, press your shoulders down, and look up.
As you exhale, brace your abs in tight, lift your hips up in line with your shoulders, and bend your knees in under your hips (in a sort of elevated all-fours position with back naturally straight). Allow your legs to slide along the roller from your shins to the tops of your feet. Hold, and then slowly roll legs back out and return to extended position. That’s one rep. Repeat five times.
Supine Stretch and Crunch
Lie face up with legs extended out straight, the roller placed under your calves. Cross your right leg on top of your left, feet flexed. Reach your arms overhead until they touch the floor, right hand stacked on top of your left palm. Brace your abs in tight, and slowly lean to the left, pressing your right hip to the side as you pull your left shoulder towards your left hip. Hold and then slowly return to starting position. Repeat five times on each side.