Best Recovery Tips for Muscle Soreness

As a new member or when returning to training after some time off it is somewhat inevitable that we will experience the dreaded DOMS- Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

This is quite common and is to be expected as we adapt to the new training routine. Regular members may also experience some soreness after a high intensity or harder workout or a new type of training. We know that this soreness can be ‘a good thing’ as once our body adapts we become stronger and fitter.


It is not always possible to eliminate this soreness entirely but here are a few tips to help you recover best and keep your training rolling along:

Sleep– quality and consistent sleep is the best thing we can do for our recovery. This is where the gains are made as our body repairs and recovers. We all know 7-9 hours is optimal and should be based on a regular bedtime and wake time in an environment that is free of distractions including screens and devices.

Nutrition– prioritising your nutrition gives your body the nutrients it needs to recover from exercise. Plan your nutrition around your training especially include protein post workout to ensure you can back up day after day and get the most out of every session. 

Active recovery– promotes mobility, circulation and gets the muscles warmed up. If you do feel a bit sore the best thing you can do is some gentle movement that is low intensity and easy on the body. This can include going for a walk, swimming, cycling, jumping in a pool or the ocean, yoga, hydrotherapy or recovery baths.  

Foam rolling– is something that everyone can do either in the gym or at home. Most people may have a roller at home but it never gets used! Foam rolling can help relieve some soreness or tension within the muscles. It is best to practice a few minutes on a regular basis targeting the major muscles groups or those areas that can often feel sore after a workout. This may include back, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves.


Here are some basic foam roller drills you can go through to help with muscle soreness and recovery:

Upper back and thoracic extension: Start with the roller across just under the tips of your shoulder blades. Support your head with your hands and relax and let your spine extend over the roller. Hold this position where it is comfortable for you and take some deep breaths to try to relax and open up your back, shoulders and chest. From here you can roll up and down slowly targeting the muscles of your shoulders and upper back.



Glutes: Cross one foot over your knee and sit on the roller to target the glutes of the bent leg. Hold yourself up on your hands and roll up and down adjusting the pressure as you go. Spend some time on both sides and if you do find any sore spots you can focus on those areas but without over doing it too much.




Hamstrings: Sit with one leg on the roller high up on your leg just under the glutes. Roll the full length of the hamstring all the way down to behind your knee. Change the position a bit as you go to target the different muscles of the hamstring, both lateral and medial sides.





Quads: This can often be an uncomfortable one but give it a try as you will get a lot of benefit. Prop yourself up on your elbows like a plank and roll the full length of the quads from hip flexors to above your kneecaps. Take it easy to start and adjust the pressure as you need to. Again, you can move slightly to target both lateral and medial aspect of your quads and if you are up for it do one leg at a time to isolate one leg and the other.


Want to learn how to do each Foam Roller exercises properly?

Aaron will run you through the steps here:


Will you be sore after your first few sessions?
Yes most likely… But it’s okay to be sore and it will ease after the first week or two.
Go for a walk or swim to get the blood flowing and jump on a roller before your next class.
You’ll notice a huge difference.

As always, if you need some help or your soreness isn’t going away. Reach out to one of the MI coaches, we’d be happy to give you some advice.

Written by Aaron Ashdown, Exercise Physiologist & Coach at Movement Innovation.