Muscle Soreness: Can You Prevent Muscle Soreness From Exercise

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, M.Sc.

Creator, Turbulence Training Transformation Contest

Q: My trainer told me that the uncomfortable feeling I get in my muscles after strength training is caused by lactic acid. What is this? Does this cause the muscle soreness I get the next day?

muscles 2

The uncomfortable sensation in your muscles during a workout is caused by metabolic waste products that build up during exercise. Lactic acid is one waste product that has long been labeled the culprit of this burning sensation.

Lactic acid is also given a bad rap when trainers state that lactic acid causes the next-day soreness that sometimes occurs in the days after strength training. This is untrue. Lactic acid does not cause soreness. The soreness is likely caused by muscle damage and inflammation.

In fact, lactic acid is cleared from your muscles in minutes after exercise (and it is almost completely cleared within an hour at the most). After all, we know through experience that the burning sensation does not last beyond the post-workout shower. And if you spend a little extra time in your cool-down, you can even help remove the lactic acid faster.

Unfortunately there really is no way around the muscle soreness that will show up tomorrow or two days later (as is often the case for lower-body muscle soreness). If your training caused muscle damage (as strength workouts tend to do - but in a safe, strategic and effective manner), then you will probably have a little bit of muscle soreness tomorrow.

You just have to cut down the volume to avoid getting so sore. So don't jump back into the weight room by doing 3 sets per exercise. Do 1 easy set, and you won't be too sore.

Sort by
  • matt lark says
    Or you can just avoid excercise thereby avoiding muscle soreness.........
  • Cindy says
    My 13 year old son starting lifting weights with his mates! he was ultra sore the next day...I've been told that they shouldn't lift weights at this age as they should wait until their body is better developed! I always found when I used to do weights that it happened in the beginning but once I was fit and stronger it no longer hurt...and always drink alot of water!
  • Shaun says
    I remember my PE teacher telling us about the buildup of lactic acid etc when we were trying to get out of PE by complaining out sore muscles haha (didn't work - she was tough!). A good sports massage does wonders, and also stretching it out before and after excercising helps.
  • Claire says
    Drinking plenty of water after exercise is ideal as it help your lymphatic system flush the toxins out including lactic acid. this is also true after a massage, as the toxins get stired up in the process.
  • water is one of the best things to help while and after exercising
  • Michael says
    soreness is better than pain! it means your muscle is growing...
  • dory says
    A good massage is perfect for sore muscles! It gets rid of those nasty knots that can be quite painful and make you feel stiff and gross. If you are getting lots of tired and painful muscles perhaps its time to lay off the exercise for a bit? Or not go as hard out?! I recommend Tiger Balm..It well. WORKS FOR EVERYTHING!

  • Oliver says
    I've been weight training for fitness for about 4 years and while massages are great they are often expensive. To alleviate next-day soreness start by helping your muscles to heal faster. Water has been mentioned and is extremely important, but whey protein after workout is the best way to help your muscles recover quickly and positively. If you care enough to read these posts you probably have some sort of fitness regime in place, and given the benefits you should definitely be taking post-workout protein supplements. I hope I'm preaching to the converted here..
  • flowery3 says
    thats a useful tip about the whey protein thanks - about to start with concept 1010, where they aim to build muscle by lifting weights to the point of exhaustion, then give the muscle a week between workouts to recover. The delayed onset muscle soreness is to be expected, they say - but I would sure like to minimise it! Id like to see if a hot tub helps too - just got to win one!

Post your comment

Want to have your say?

It's quick, easy and 100% free.



Endorsed Events

  • SpringBreak FIJI SpringBreak FIJI

    Surrounded by nothing but tranquil water, SpringBreak Fiji brings together the best of everything

  • The Fijian Cup The Fijian Cup

    The Pacific Touch Rugby festival (Fijian Cup and Kava Cup) is underway on November 2, 2017 and with support from Touch Fiji and...

  • Rock Island VANUATU Rock Island VANUATU

    Rock Island is an all inclusive fully immersive travel experience which was brought into the music festival scene by The Rock and...

  • TourismHQ TourismHQ

    With seven years and growing under their belt; TourismHQ has established and continues to deliver on their extensive wealth of...