The phenomenon of muscle soreness is something that has had an effect on all of us at some stage or another. Waking up the morning after starting a new weights routine or after a gruelling game of squash can be a rather unpleasant experience. The soreness is generally a result of either lactic acid accumulation or muscle fibre breakdown. Unless you’ve be doing exercise which involved your heart rate being above 160 beats per minute for prolonged periods i.e. repeated sprints or interval training then the most likely explanation for the muscle soreness is muscle fibre breakdown. The main thing that contributes to this breakdown is eccentric contractions, these are the lowering movements of exercises like bench press and squats, and these same contractions are performed when you lunge out for a shot during a squash game.
However knowing what causes the muscle soreness isn’t a great lot of use so I thought I’d also introduce you to a few things that will either ease or alleviate the pain. From a sports’ perspective the most important thing is a thorough warm up, this should include dynamic stretching (sport specific movement patterns), a gradual progression from jogging to actual game intensity and some relevant static stretches a gradual cool-down is equally important. From a weight training perspective it is also important to perform a warm-up, this should include 5-10 minutes of cardio and some warm up sets with lighter weights. Your overall routine is also important, you should gradually build up intensity (weight lifted) and volume (number of reps times number of sets) your should also ensure that you have adequate recovery.
A quick fix to counter muscle soreness, but one that should be used in moderation is to take a panadol or rub anti-inflammatory cream into muscles and tendons immediately after exercise. Hot and cold showers or baths are also an option to give a try if your heart can handle that.