If you did one too many bench presses, you might be feeling it in your chest muscles the next day. That soreness is a result of your muscles reacting to the stress of the exercise, and there are multiple reasons it occurred. You might have worked a little too hard after taking a break from strength training or perhaps ramped up the amount of weight too much. The sore muscle, however, can be soothed — just take precautions next time you hoist the barbell.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
When you work a muscle too hard, you’ll feel a familiar soreness within a few hours that can last up to two days. Known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, this pain often represents the tearing down of muscle tissue. It will hurt to move, hurt to touch and may perhaps even swell a bit.
In some cases, it might not even be the actual muscle that’s hurting. If a tendon that connects the muscle to the bone gets overwork, it can become irritated and then inflamed. Again, this can cause pain and swelling.
Soothing a Sore Muscle
If your chest muscles are aching, the best remedy is to cut back on the weights. The length of time you should rest depends on how bad the pain is – avoid doing any exercise that hurts. You can, however, still do any exercise that doesn’t cause pain to the sore muscles. If possible, move the joint occasionally to avoid stiffness, which can affect the range of motion.
You can also ice the chest muscles that hurt, applying the ice for 20 minutes at a time. Additionally, take an over-the-counter pain reliever or anti-inflammatory to reduce the soreness.
When to See a Doctor
In rare cases, a sore muscle might need the healing touch of a medical professional. If your chest muscles continue to hurt for more than a couple days after exercise and continues to affect your athletic performance, make an appointment with your doctor. Additionally, if the sore muscles wakes you from your sleep, continues to increase or requires increasing amount of pain medication, those are indicators that you might have done damage to the muscle or tendons.
Preventing Sore Muscles
To stop this chest pain from occurring again, do a few things immediately after your workout:
- Stretch the muscles, which promotes mobility and
helps you recover faster.
- Consume protein after working out to help muscle
- Immediately ice the muscle, even if it’s not in
pain yet – it will stop inflammation from occurring.