- Jessica Biel says her go-to method for beating post-workout muscle soreness is exercising again.
- Personal trainers, however, aren’t convinced that this is the best technique.
- Rest and gentle movement are better approaches to take to allow your body to recover.
DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is simultaneously one of the best and worst things about working out.
One the one hand, you know you’ve actually had a good gym session and can physically feel yourself getting stronger and fitter.
But on the flipside, your body aches in places you didn’t even know possible and just sitting down can be incredibly painful.
“DOMS is caused by creating micro-tears in your muscles during exercise and typically occurs when you start a new exercise programme or increase the intensity of your workout above what you are used to,” Lee Matthews, Fitness & Member Experience Director at DW Fitness First, explains to INSIDER.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely prevent DOMS, so what can you do about it?
Jessica Biel recently revealed that her go-to method for fighting muscle soreness is to get moving and hit the gym again.
“Work out again. Get right back in it,” she told Well+Good. “If you’re sore, work out your hips or your butt or whatever it is.”
But is putting already sore muscles under strain again really the best approach to take?
Rich Tidmarsh, owner and lead trainer of Reach Fitness in London, isn’t convinced.
“If you want to get stronger, then exercising again on an area with DOMS is absolutely not the thing to do, even if a Hollywood actress swears by it,” Tidmarsh tells INSIDER.
“Yes, get moving, create blood flow but don’t attack that area again until your body has recovered.”
Rather than doing a hardcore workout when your muscles are sore, you should be aiming for active recovery.
“While it’s recommended to allow the affected muscles time to recover, inactivity isn’t necessarily the remedy,” Michael Ryan, the Tier X Manager at Equinox, concurs.
“Dynamic flexibility, body work, yoga, aqua therapy, and walking your dog are all movement-based recommendations to aid muscle soreness recovery.”
The right way to relieve muscle soreness
Tidmarsh believes that instead of working out, you should focus on the techniques to relieve and minimise DOMS.
Tips from him and Matthews include:
- Warming up correctly
- Wearing compression clothing during the workout
- Eating well
- Keeping hydrated
- Stretching at the end of workouts
- Having an ice bath
- Foam rolling
- Sleeping well
- Having a magnesium salt hot bath.
What’s more, Tidmarsh, who has trained everyone from the England Rugby team to Professor Green, says we shouldn’t actually be aiming for DOMS when working out.
“Yes, you want to work hard and create stimulus for change,” he explains. “But severe DOMS can actually hinder your workout plans for the following days and potentially shows your recovery protocol after training was poor.”