Why Are My Arms Shaking Post Workout?

There's no doubting the numerous health benefits of exercise or how great it feels to get blood pumping and endorphins flowing from a challenging workout. Sometimes, however, an increase in physical activity can also create arm tremors after exercise or a strenuous session at the gym may leave hands shaking after working out.

Different factors can cause your arms to shake after working out. (Image: SrdjanPav/E+/GettyImages)

Tip

Different factors, including an increase in physical exertion, can contribute to arm tremors after exercise or arms shaking after carrying something heavy.


Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or treat shaking muscles to stop them from derailing a healthy lifestyle and workout routine.

Be Mindful of Muscle Fatigue

For those experiencing the post-workout shakes, the most probable cause is muscular fatigue as the body learns and adapts to an activity. Muscles, and more specifically the neurology activating those muscles, may shake as they adapt to and learn a new, unfamiliar pattern.

This movement is an essential tremor, which causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking, often occurring in the hands, according to Mayo Clinic. Essential tremor can affect any part of the body, creating shaking muscles that may increase after physical exertion or intense exercise, due to the increase in adrenaline in the body. This type of muscle shaking is typically temporary and not a sign of a more serious condition.

Conditioning is Key to Healthy Muscles

Intense or long periods of exercise deplete glycogen in the muscles, breaking down muscle tissue, according to the American Council on Exercise. This makes it all the more important to refuel after exercising to prevent further damage to the muscles. Consuming an adequate combination of carbohydrates and protein will help start the repairing process within muscle tissue by restoring glycogen levels.

It may help improve or reduce exercise-related muscle essential tremors as the body becomes more physically fit and better conditioned, as then the body stores less glycogen in muscle tissue and typically more as fat. This change in glycogen storage should help reduce the shaking in muscles.

Fuel up and Hydrate Properly

The importance of proper hydration for athletes or any exerciser is emphasized by the American Academy of Family Physicians which explains dehydration can cause painful muscle spasms or cramps. Proper nutrition and hydration both before and after a workout is also essential. A plummet in blood sugar can cause shaking muscles, as can dehydration or any imbalance in nutritional intake. A good idea to prevent arm or hands from shaking after a workout is to have a snack or a small meal a few hours beforehand.

It's also important to replenish electrolytes after a workout or any physical exertion. Electrolytes help maintain healthy hydration levels and may prevent or ease shaking muscles, as non-smooth muscle contractions can occur when electrolyte levels are depleted. According to MedlinePlus, electrolytes are needed to balance the amount of water in the body and regulate the heart, brain and muscles to ensure they work the right way. Drink plenty of water before, during and after a workout to maintain and regulate the level of electrolytes in the body to reduce the chance of shaking arms or hands.

Stop shaking muscles in the arms and hands before they start. Treat the body with TLC before, during and after any strenuous activity or intense exercise.

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