I have had a few questions recently from people about muscle soreness the day after a workout and how to prevent it. This muscle soreness is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (or DOMS). I will do an article soon about what DOMS is and what causes it but for now here are 5 tips to help limit or prevent DOMS.
I have already spoken about how caffeine can improve your performance during exercise. There is also evidence that it may be able to reduce DOMS as well. It is not known exactly why this is, however two separate studies have been done that showed increased recovery and decreased DOMS when people took caffeine. A cup of coffee before about 1 hour or 30 minutes before a workout should be enough to get the benefits
The warm up and warm down are two parts of the workout that people neglect (I will do an article on how to warm up and warm down in the future). A proper warm up helps prevent injury and prepares your muscle for your workout. A good warm down helps to start to recovery process and improve flexibility. One way to warm down is active recovery (see point 4)
Active recovery is a great way to help to reduce DOMS. Try and do a low intensity cardio activity (cross trainer/walking/bike) for 10-15 minutes after a hard workout. This helps increase blood flow to your muscles which will help your recovery and reduce muscle soreness.
This isn’t going to be fun (if you haven't done it before foam rolling can be a bit unpleasant the first few times. If you have done it you know what I am talking about), but foam rolling can reduce DOMS by increasing blood flow to your muscles and improving your recovery and flexibility. Do foam rolling after your workout as part of your warm down while your muscles are still warm (I also plan to do some articles on foam rolling and how to do it properly in the future).
I hope these 5 tips will help. The main thing I would say is to be sensible, warm up and warm down properly and don't jump straight into a new exercise regime if you haven't done exercise for a while. Build up a base level of fitness and strength for a week or two first to help get your body ready.