How to Relieve Sore Muscles From Working Out

by Jennifer Byrne

About Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne is a freelance writer and editor specializing in topics related to health care, fitness, science and more. She attended Rutgers University. Her writing has been published by,, Primary Care Optometry News, and EyeWorld Magazine. She was awarded the Gold Award from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE), 2007, and the Apex Award for Publication Excellence.


Although to some people soreness after exercise is a badge of honor, to others it's enough reason to give up on their exercise program. According to the American Council on Exercise, there are two types of exercise-related muscle soreness: immediate muscle soreness, which occurs during and after exercise, and delayed muscle soreness, which occurs 24 to 48 hours afterward. The approaches to relieving each type of muscle soreness are specific to the type of soreness and the origin of the soreness.

Step 1

Continue with moderate exercise for delayed muscle soreness. The American Council on exercise notes that in cases of delayed muscle soreness, the soreness often occurs in response to increasing the intensity of your workout. Your muscles then adapt rapidly to the soreness, and you generally won't experience this until the next time you increase your intensity.

Step 2

Schedule a massage after your workout. According to a study published in the "Journal of Athletic Training," massage administered after workouts involving eccentric muscle contractions decreased delayed muscle soreness by 30 percent. Eccentric muscle contractions are those in which the muscle is strained as in lengthens. The study, authored by Zainal Zainuddin of Edith Cowan University in Australia, compared participants' arms, one of which received massage after exercise and one that didn't. Although the massage appeared to decrease delayed muscle soreness, it had no impact on muscle strength. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Step 3

Use the R.I.C.E. approach for immediate muscle soreness, because this often a result of an exercise-related injury, such as a pulled or strained muscle. For this reason, you should use the R.I.C.E method, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Ice should be applied to the injury for up to three days. You should use a compression bandage for the reduction of inflammation, and elevation for two to three hours a day can reduce bruising and keep swelling from worsening.

Items you will need

  • Ice Pack
  • Compression bandage


  • Call a doctor if soreness persists beyond a week, if you notice signs of infection, or if the soreness occurs after you've begun to take a statin drug for cholesterol. The Mayo Clinic says you should also call your doctor if the soreness occurs after increasing your dosage of a statin.

Photo Credits:

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or