How to Help Sore Stomach Muscles After a Workout

Doing sport in sunset
Woman performing stomach exercises outdoors (Image: Gelner Tivadar/iStock/Getty Images)

After you've done a strenuous abdominal workout, your stomach might feel sore, tight and irritated. When you overuse your muscles they swell and require a few days of rest to properly heal. Don't suffer while you wait -- instead, relieve your sore abdominal muscles with home remedies and over-the-counter care. Talk to your doctor before trying any home remedy to treat your sore muscles, especially if you have prior injuries or medical conditions.

Step 1

Rest and refrain from strenuous abdominal exercise until soreness stops. Your muscles do not get a chance to heal if you're back in the gym the next day, working on your abs again.

Step 2

Take a dose of over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce swelling and relieve sore muscles. Take two every 4 hours, or the dose recommended on the label's instructions.

Step 3

Take a cold bath to numb your throbbing muscles and reduce swelling, recommends "Fitness" in the article "Can Hot Baths Prevent Sore Muscles?" Fill the bathtub halfway up with cold water. Add a few handfuls of ice cubes, then sit in the water up to your belly button. Keep your chest and head out of the water -- the frigid water could cause complications. Soak your stomach as long as you can, working up to increments of 1 minute.

Step 4

Try a warm compress, like a hot water bottle, to reduce muscle cramping and spasms associated with sore abdominal muscles. When you overuse your muscles, they might spasm or involuntary contract while they're healing. Apply a warm compress for 15 minutes at a time to relax your abdominal muscles and reduce stiffness.

Step 5

Consult your doctor if muscle pain lasts longer than a week. In some cases, muscle pain could be the cause of a more serious injury, like a muscle strain or sprain. When muscle pain stays the same, or gets worse with time, see a doctor to rule out serious complications.

Things You'll Need

  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen

  • Ice cubes

  • Hot water bottle


Stretch your abdominal muscles by touching your toes and carefully twisting from side to side after you exercise to reduce muscle pain afterward.


Stop exercising immediately if you notice any pain while you are working out. If this pain continues, consult your doctor.

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