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March 21, 2016 by
Jay Medley
If you’ve just completed your first climb, you know that rock climbing is a great workout. You’re feeling accomplished, proud, and – let’s face it – sore. Rock climbing uses many muscles, making it a full body workout.

Same with TRX suspension training, intense circuit training, and all kinds of other activities that make exercise more fun and interesting, but make it easy for a first-timer to go overboard. But I don’t have to tell you that these activities are full-body workouts, your body is telling you that.

In fact, your muscles are screaming it at you right now. So how can you make your body recover more quickly and relieve some of that muscle pain? Here are some ways to relieve the pain of a tough workout.

If it’s not too late, stretch! Make sure that you stretch after your climb; this could save you some muscle pain and may help to prevent future injuries. A good cool-down and stretch can save you a lot of trouble.

Heat can help your muscles to recover.

Consider soaking in a hot bath, using a heating pad, or applying a heat wrap to the sore area. When heat is applied to a sore muscle, it raises the muscle’s temperature and increases blood flow, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the muscle, which are used to heal the muscle. As an added bonus, it feels soothing.

Aye, there’s the rub! A massage can help your aches and pains, reduce stiffness, increase circulation, and relax the muscles. If you’re not lucky enough to have a standing appointment with a masseuse or massage therapist, you can massage yourself. Using a foam massage roller or even a baseball will work: you can roll the baseball over sore spots, focusing on the sorest spots, until the pain decreases.

Though it may hurt to even raise a glass to your mouth, you need to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to replenish all of the fluids you sweat out while climbing and to keep your body hydrated. The last thing you need is a cramp from dehydration!

If you’re still in pain, anti-inflammatory medication can help. Ibuprofen can help to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain, so take as directed to help recover.

Your muscles need protein to heal, so up your intake a bit in the next few days. Women usually require about 46 grams of protein while men use 56 grams. Athletes need more (that means you, you rock climber!) so aim for more while your body recovers.

This may seem obvious, but now you need to rest.

It’s great to be eager, but soreness is your body’s way of saying “take it easy.” Follow your muscles’ lead and let them rest until they feel better, then get back to climbing. Don’t let your current muscle pain prevent you from trying rock climbing again; it will get easier and less painful as you build muscles and skill.

You may have overdone it a bit on this first attempt, but things will improve with each workout. Don’t give up because you’re sore – you won’t be so sore the next time!

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