If you get really stiff after working out, what are the best moves to loosen up?
Try these three tips:
1. Use the right moves at the right time
Firstly, don’t go straight into a workout without doing a warm-up. Not only will you hurt yourself, but you’re also asking for more stiffness. And secondly, remember this rule of thumb: use dynamic and active stretching in your warm-up and static moves for your cool down.
So, for example, in your warm-up, use at least 60 seconds of jogging and running on the spot, high knees, star jumps or a few air squats. For the cool-down, use static moves like a deep lunge with an overhead reach, the Cobra, downward dog, child’s pose, or a seated quad stretch. In the cool-down, you need to focus on using deep breathing for recovery. Don’t wait too long after your session to use these cool-down moves.
"You should stretch directly after the session, but not too intensely – they should be guided stretches which flush the lactic acid and tension from your muscles," says The Movement Empire (TME) Head Coach Ryan Botha.
2. Use cold therapy
Famous athletes, sports teams, and even soldiers use it, and that’s because it works. "When it comes to feeling stiff after a workout session, I’d recommend cold therapy as an option," says Ryan. "Jump into a cold pool, the ocean, or a cold shower to get the body to force new blood to the extremities; it definitely helps alleviate stiffness.”
3. Recruit some extra help
If the stiffness is becoming a regular thing, you can do some extra things to help, and which are scientifically proven to work. The most important is making sure you get enough sleep, but beyond that, you should drink more coffee. Yup, research shows that caffeine reduces muscle soreness and fatigue. In one of the trials, it showed a 48% reduction in pain! Tart cherry juice has also been proven to reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and a few sports massages can also help. Lastly, foam rolling is another scientifically-verified way of getting rid of stiffness.