Leg day recovery

by Joe Lawrence | October 14th, 2013 | Lower Body, Strength Training

lungesEveryone who has ever lifted can share the exact same story after leg day: pain. I do legs today and am pain for the next three. I get sore after all the other workouts I do, but why are legs the worst? How can I do things better?

Legs are the most used muscles on a day-to-day basis. The motions we use to walk to the fridge, bend over, climb a flight of stairs are all the same as the ones we use to exercise these muscles. When we do chest, arms, or back , things are still sore and not fun; however, mimicking those motions is slightly different than with leg day. Not to mention, moving with our legs requires us to pre-load them with our body weight. Therefore, we are always working these muscles.

There are lots of supplements we can take to help, but I am personally timid when it comes to taking supplements and vitamins. I study each very closely and still usually only go with the purest and simplest ones. Too often we hear about something we once thought as safe rearing its ugly head years down the road. I do take some vitamin based recovery drinks and vitamins, but will not name them. Although, I will second the research and claims of drinking some chocolate milk right after the workout.

Hot baths and heat in general have proven to be successful in the battle against leg pain. Hitting the steam room, hot tub, or sauna following a workout has been effective in recovery too. If you do not have access, hop in a hot shower or bath at home.

Another very effective remedy is stretching. I recreate the motions I used to exercise as closely as I can without using weights. I push my muscles to the point of pain and try to take them further than I feel they should go. Using stretch bands and foam tubes really help accomplish the desired stretch. Even better, stretch in the steam room or sauna. However you do it, stretching helps to release the lactic acid built up in the muscles and the motion prevents them from tightening up right away.

The most important thing to do after a workout to help speed recovery is to drink more water than you feel you should (eight glasses a day is for a normal day, more needs to be consumed after workouts) and get plenty of rest.

Sadly, doing all of these things will not stop or prevent leg day pain. However, they will help to reduce the recovery time and severity of the pain.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.