5/7/2017 - Feeling sore after a Karate Session?

Most adults that have trained with us will have, at some point, experienced muscle soreness after a training session. The soreness experienced is usually one of two things; delayed on-set muscle soreness (DOMS) or a muscle strain. Both can be extremely uncomfortable and can make simple tasks like walking seem like a real chore. So how do you differentiate between the two and is there anything that can be done to minimise the chances of this occurring?

DOMS occur after intense levels of training. They are a sign that you have been training hard and you have been pushing yourself in class. When we train we create microfiber tears in our muscles. The process of repairing these tears is what stimulates muscle growth. The harder we train the more tears we create and it is these tears that cause pain and stiffness. We can experience DOMS for as long as four days after training. The good news is that there are interventions we can make to minimise the levels of soreness experienced.

  1. Eat a protein rich meal after training. Our body breaks down protein into amino acids and it is these amino acids that are used to repair the microfiber muscle tears.
  2. Wear compression clothing after heavy training. Compression clothing will hold your muscles in place and prevent further soft tissue damage.
  3. Use a foam roller. Foam rolling will reduce the levels of knots in the muscles and promote blood flow to the muscles decreasing recover time.
  4. Hot and cold showers. The heat causes our veins and arteries to increase in size and allows for greater blood flow. The cold has the opposite effect and causes them to constrict and the body sends more blood to our organs. This process reduces the levels of lactate left in the muscle and reducing any inflammation.
  5. Stay active. The increased flow of blood around the body should help to diminish muscle soreness and help you to recover in time for your next session.

Muscle strains occur when we pull a muscle or experience a muscle tear (not to be confused with a microfiber tear). There are a variety of different ways a muscle can become strained, such as;  when a muscle has been overworked, when microfiber tears are not given enough time to repair, when a muscle has been overstretched or through improper use.

If a muscle become strained it can only be repaired through rest. Ibuprofen, elevation of the strained area or the application of ice will reduce any inflammation.

We can limit our risk of DOMS and muscle strains by ensuring we are properly warmed up before we begin a karate session and that time is taken to cool down at the end of the session. By warming up we are readying the body for the stress we are about to place on it by exercising. The increased blood flow ensures our muscles are getting the levels of oxygen they require to fuel strenuous exercise. Increasing the range of movement in our joints ensures they are fully prepared for the quick, and sometimes explosive movement, we make over the course of a session.

Cooling down can sometimes be overlooked but can make a big difference in the amount of after exercise soreness you may experience. When we stop exercising the body’s rate of blood flow instantly reduces. By cooling down we reduce the blood flow at a slower rate. This promotes the removal of lactate acid in the muscle and stops a process called blood pooling which can lead to varicose veins.

We want you to train hard when you are in class with the minimal risk of injury. If you have any further questions or if you would like any more information about cooling down and warming up please feel free to ask me in class or contact me by e-mail cristian.ingham@martialartsforlife.co.uk

Kong Su!