If you’ve ever lifted weight before to the point of your muscles feeling like they are burning, you have experienced what is known as lactic acid build up. Once you stop, the pain goes away, and you think everything is hunky dory – until a day or two later and you can barely move your muscles. The problem is, you didn’t clear the lactic acid out of your muscles, so you’ve been left with it there long enough to create a very painful and sore muscle.
Whilst training until the burn of lactic acid is sometimes part and parcel of weight lifting, the pain afterwards can be avoided to a great extent simply by following a few pointers.
Massage your muscles between sets. Once you’ve put the weights down after feeling the burn, you should shake and rigorously rub and squeeze your muscles to help ease the pain.
Stretch between sets. Muscles have a tendency to feel cramped up and stiff following the burn, and one way to prevent this painful state is to stretch your muscles out in between sets. A stretched muscle is one which isn’t occluding blood and lactic acid, allowing for a much better release.
Warm down. After lifting, try lifting some more much lighter weights for more reps. Not until you fail or burn again, but just enough to keep the blood going, and help your body to remove some lactic acid before it has chance to cause you more pain days later.
Drink plenty of water. Water is essential in helping to replenish lost hydration, and you’ll need to be plenty hydrated to allow your body to break up and remove lactic acid.
They’re simple tips, but they really work. Try them next time you feel a lactic acid build up coming on.