How to Get Rid of Soreness Before a Game

Two people playing basket ball
Tailor the warm-up to your specific sport. (Image: XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images)

A common side effect of regularly training for a particular sport is muscle soreness due to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. The typical 48 to 72 hours of recovery time following a workout or practice may not fit into your game schedule, though. Mild soreness and stiffness can be somewhat alleviated by performing a dynamic -- or active -- warm-up. Performing movements that activate your muscles and get the blood flowing can help to reduce tightness and prepare your body for the physical demands of the game.

Step 1

Allow 30 minutes of warm-up time before the start of the game. Ease into the warm-up slowly, and gradually increase your pace as your body temperature rises and your muscle soreness begin to lessen. Avoid any intense movements or activities that may cause your body to fatigue.

Step 2

Match the exercises in the warm-up to the sport that you are playing. Mimicking the movements of your sport helps to activate the muscle memory and prepare you for competition. For example, soccer players would include running, kicking, passing and weaving. Warming up for a basketball game may include running forward and backward, lateral shuffles, dribbling and rebounding.

Step 3

Start the warm-up with 10 minutes of light cardio. Light jogging or cycling may be apropos for sports that rely primarily on the lower body. Your play in full-body sports, such as basketball or baseball, may benefit from using an elliptical trainer with moving arm handles. Shadow boxing can be a beneficial way to warm up, as it helps you practice hand-eye coordination.

Step 4

Perform five minutes of static stretches after the cardio session. Focus on any muscle group that is particularly tight. Stretch slowly and avoid forcing the muscle to any particular point. Breathe in and out of your nose while stretching; do this for a count of five in each direction.

Step 5

Spend five minutes going through the motions of your sport without using any equipment or balls. For example, baseball players may practice batting motions. Soccer players should mimic passing, kicking and heading.

Step 6

Bring in the equipment for the last 10 minutes of your warm-up and perform functional exercises. Work on passing drills with your soccer teammates. Shoot baskets for basketball. Practice throwing, catching and running bases for baseball.

Warning

Consult with your physician before participating in competition if your muscles are sore or tight. Retire from the game if you feel any extreme or unusual pain while playing and seek immediate medical attention.

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