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How to prevent muscle soreness in Parkour

I finally decided to write a piece on how to prevent muscle soreness for Parkour. Muscle pain is an integral part of Parkour training, whether you want it or not. If you do not suffer from it at least once a week, it means you might no be pushing hard enough. Although you cannot stop it completely, here are a few tips to keep it under control so you can train another day.

How to prevent muscle soreness. Photo by {a href=http://instagram.com/photohumourist}Paul Treacy{/img}

How to prevent muscle soreness. Photo by Paul Treacy

Before starting your training

1) Hydrate yourself – This should go without saying, but it needs repeating. Drink plenty of water. It is one of your best defenses against muscle soreness. A good rule of thumb is to drink half an ounce of water per pound of body-weight. So, if you’re 200 lbs, drink 100 oz of water daily.

2) Eat healthy foods – The food you eat before you workout is the fuel your body will use to repair your muscles. Make sure to get plenty of protein and complex carbs the day before a heavy training session. The day of your training session should have a easy to digest diet, high in protein, carbs and “good, healthy” fats.

3) Get plenty of sleep – Again, this is common sense, but if you’re not getting enough quality sleep, it means you’re putting your body at a recovery disadvantage from the beginning. 8+ hours sleep should be the minimum before a heavy training day.

During your training session

4) Warm-up properly – Perform a joint mobility warm-up and then do activity-specific exercises that will focus on the sections of your body that you’ll be training during that session. So, if you’re going to be working on squats, for instance, it’s best to include some body-weight squats and gradually build up to your desired working intensity level. Check out the article on how to warm-up for some good examples.

5) Control the intensity – This is another super-important factor in preventing muscle soreness. Put simply, don’t work harder than your body is prepared for. Stimulate your muscles, don’t annihilate them — is a good advice from former Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney. The more gradually you can increase your performance, the better.

6) Shake off the tension – This is a little known secret weapon against muscle soreness: vibration training. You don’t need to stand on a high-tech vibrating platform that they have at high class health clubs. You CAN shake off the tension though, in between sets. Shake your arms and legs out, even your whole body. This simple technique works very well in diminishing muscle tension and you don’t need anything to start applying it today.

7) Don’t forget to warm-down – In my experience, those who perform a warm-down are less likely to suffer from DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness). Apart from preventing muscle soreness, it’s a good idea anyways. Joint mobility exercises are ideal, but what’s most important is that you unload the functional opposite movements that you were training during your session. For instance, if you were doing a lot of squatting movements, you’d want to release tension in your hip flexors. You can find some good exercises in the article on how to warm-down.

After your training session

8) Eat healthy right after training – A protein shake or a snack immediately after your training session is excellent, but an even better strategy is to eat a full meal within an hour or two of your training session. Complex carbs and protein should be abundant in this meal, from foods such as meats, poultry, fish, leafy greens, potatoes, yams, brown rice, couscous, and rolled oats.

9) Take a salt bath or soak in a hot tub – Sometimes all we need to prevent muscle soreness is a little relaxation. Spending 30 minutes in a hot tub or salt bath will decrease muscle inflammation, flush toxins out of your muscles, improve nerve function, and will otherwise relieve stress.

10) Perform active recovery – We think of recovery as being a completely restful activity, when the best thing we can often do to recover is get moving. Active recovery can be any form of light activity such as walking, joint mobility exercise, stretching or very light strength training such as body-weight exercise or swinging light kettle bells.

Conclusion on how to prevent muscle soreness

There are a lot of thing you can do to limit the effects of DOMS. If you follow these rules you should be able to surpass any problems and give you the possibility to train and live a little bit more healthy.

Train smart!

  1. Micaiah

    June 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    This is some great advice, but I am a little confused about the hot tub after a work out. I thought the general trainer consensus was that ice works better to decrease inflammation but you say a hot tub does?
    I thought heat should be applied to injuries a few days after swelling goes down?

    • Dan Dinu

      June 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Micaiah,

      Great question. I think the general best practice is to apply cold showers within minutes after your workout and cooldown. Several hours later, you can have a hot relaxing shower. This is because cold showers are vasoconstrictors reducing inflammation, while hot showers are vasodilators that relax the blood vessels allowing more blood flow. Jumping in a hot tub straight after a workout isn’t an option.

  2. Cameron Groep

    March 26, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks alot for the article, it really helped

    • Dan Dinu

      May 8, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Hi Cameron,

      I’m glad you found it helpful. Hope you’re training safe!


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