Whether you’ve put in a shift for leg day or attempted to recreate the world champs in your living room (better to be out of the rain) you’re more than likely to have come across the dreaded DOMs - delayed onset muscle soreness - the following day. You know the ones. The unbearable aching in your legs as you haul yourself out of bed and attempt to make your way down the stairs, cursing at your indoor trainer as you make your way to the kitchen for your coffee. It’s an unmistakable sensation of regret and satisfaction all rolled in to one.
These can often last a day or so, but when we’re training, we want to avoid as many potential setbacks as possible. Luckily there are a few things you can do to help minimise the muscular pain. Read on for our top tips for relieving DOMs related discomfort and find your form for your next ride.
It may be too late right now, but try to make sure you down a recovery shake after a big workout. A protein shake with carbohydrates after your ride will help to increase muscle synthesis, repairing any fibres that may have been broken down after putting stress on your body during your workout. Try combining flavoured or unflavoured protein powder with milk, peanut butter and a banana for a great tasting, all-round recovery drink.
Supplement your training with other activities in the meantime to help relieve stress on certain parts of the body by varying your muscle utilisation. Commit a day or two to weights or activities that may help stabilise the muscles and decrease stress on cycling-specific elements.
Eating antioxidant-rich foods helps to prevent cell damage in the body by strengthening the immune system and interrupting contributors to soreness. Foods rich in antioxidants include blueberries, beans and spinach. Secondly, don’t be afraid of fat, at least not the healthy kind. Healthy fats help cells to stay intact as omega 3’s incorporate themselves into the cell membrane. Leaky cells spill enzymes that are thought to contribute to muscle soreness. Finally, try grazing on protein throughout the day. Aim for 20-30 grams every three hours to provide your muscles with a steady stream of amino acids.
Consider how hard you’re pushing yourself during your bike sessions. Being realistic about your training expectations can be hard but will help to prevent silly injuries in the long run. If necessary, put a steady and progressive loading strategy in place to avoid trying to do too much too soon. Finish sessions with a go on the foam roller to increase blood flow to injured muscles.
Want to know more about reducing your recovery time? See our cyclist’s guide to recovery. Or, find out more about how the right nutrition can help you get the most out of your training.
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