I love working out with weights, it always makes me feel great; whilst I’m training, and afterwards. But, there are times afterwards when I’m in a great deal of pain – pain which can sometimes be agony.
No, I’m not injured. What I’m experiencing is a lactic acid build up, which is a common ailment in many athletes – particularly ones who train in an anaerobic way.
During training, the muscles are burning the oxygen and energy stores, leaving behind a waste product known as lactic acid, and unless enough oxygen can get into the muscle to remove lactic acid, the result is muscular pain and discomfort which can last several days. Sometimes, the pain can be extremely severe and can cause cramping and muscle stiffness that can render the muscle almost unusable. It’s therefore very important to help your body remove as much lactic acid as possible.
Now you know why you get muscular soreness, let’s see what we can do about alleviating it.
I believe the most effective way of countering lactic acid is taking the preventative measures of stopping it occurring in the first place.
When you feel the pump, take the time to stretch in between sets, shake and rub the muscles. This helps to de-restrict the blood flow and gets the blood moving in and out of the muscle again, clearing the lactic acid from it. You should also stretch after exercising.
Performing a few warm down sets of very light weight is a fantastic way to encourage better blood flow and a cleanup of lactic acid.
Dehydration is also a prime cause of lactic acid pain, so make sure you are hydrated thoroughly before, during and after training – including the days afterwards.
Taking these measures ought to ensure any lactic acid pain you receive is likely to be minimal, and, quickly dissipates.