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I'm sore after weight-training. How can I recover?

The question

I am an avid cyclist but I don't usually lift weights. Yesterday I did a weight-training class and now I am really sore. What should I do to recover?

The answer

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It's normal that your first weight-training workout in a while will cause some pain. Luckily, your next workout should be less painful.

Try this recovery strategy.

First, take an Epsom salt bath. Second, "roll out" your sore spots using a foam roller, a dense foam cylinder that can be used to massage muscles. (Most gyms have a foam roller. If yours does not, do 10 minutes of dynamic flexibility exercises. Sample exercises can be found here.) Third, do an "active recovery" workout the day after the weight workout. An "active recovery workout" is a workout comprising light cardiovascular movement that helps promote blood circulation, but does not further stress the body – for example, a gentle 30-minute walk.

Use the foam roller to massage out your calves: Sit with your bum on the floor and your calves on the roller. The roller should be placed horizontally. Use your arms to lift your bum off the ground and then roll forward and backward on the roller. To make the exercise more intense, place one leg on top of the other. Massage for 10 to 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Then use the foam roller to massage out your quads: Lie face down with your forearms on a mat and the front of your thighs on the roller. Your legs and stomach should be off the floor. Use your upper-body strength to propel you so that your legs roll up and down on the roller. To make the exercise more intense, place one leg on top of the other. Massage for 10 to 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Trainer's Tip: To ensure that your body gets enough recovery, try following this monthly training cycle. Do three weeks of intense, structured workouts followed by one week of more relaxed, unstructured activity. Take one day a week completely off.



Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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