Q: I had an amazing leg workout 3 days ago but now it is hard to sit! Today I am supposed to workout legs again, but not sure if that is a good idea given how sore I feel. What is the right thing do to?
A: What you are feeling is most commonly referred to as DOMS. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) describes a phenomenon of muscle pain, soreness or stiffness that occurs in the day or two after exercise. This muscle soreness is most frequently felt when you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or dramatically increase the duration or intensity of your exercise routine. Although it can be alarming and uncomfortable, delayed onset muscle soreness is a normal response to unusual exertion and is part of an adaptation process that leads to greater stamina and strength as the muscles recover and builds.
That said, you should NOT train a muscle that’s still sore. The reason for this is that your body interprets exercise as stress; it’s during the recovery time when the real work is being done. Think of exercise as the architect and recovery as the builder. If you work a muscle too soon after a training session, therefore, you will just break it down. It is best to work a different part of your body while that muscle group recovers. This may mean that you need to switch around the days of your training for a bit.
Now, there are things you can do to lessen the soreness. The first is to be sure that you are stretching. You want to stretch the muscle groups that you work before AND after your training. It does not have to take long, 5 mins of stretching can make a big difference. Second, you want to be sure you are drinking Glutamine Select if muscle soreness is a problem for you. I never workout without tossing a scoop or 2 of Glutamine Select in my blender bottle and mixing it with 16 oz of water. Then I sip it throughout my workout. Finally, consider self-myofascial release using a foam rollers. There is a reason that these are a staple at every gym and cross fit studio around the country.
Once you are feeling better, you can get back to training that muscle group again. That said, if your soreness was off the charts, consider starting back up with lower weights.
All my best!