Sore abs after workout: 7 Muscle recovery tips

Heather Campbell
 min read

Sore abs after workout are such a common complaint!

Sore abs after workout: 7 Muscle recovery tipsTraining for beautiful abs requires a lot of work. Those who are unwilling to spend hours working out should give up the dream of defined abs right away.

However, you can also take this too far. Asking a lot of your body is good, but when you ask too much, your abdominal muscles get overloaded. And this can be particularly annoying. The result: sore abs after workouts!

As a whole, abs are a pretty strong bunch of muscles but they need rest too. Try to exercise gently to encourage blood circulation, increase antioxidants to fight inflammation and fight pain, increase intake of vitamin B12, have a sauna session and a cold shower too to get that blood pumping.

Are you suffering from overworked abdominal muscles, and would you like to know what you should do in that case?

Then you’ve landed on the right page! In fact, below, we’ll give you some recovery tips to make sure your abs get better soon, and you can get back to working out.

7 Recovery tips for sore abs after workout

Give your abdominal muscles the rest they need

You might think that this tip might be a bit redundant, but believe us when we say that it really does turn out to be necessary to emphasize this in many cases.

That you should rest your abdominal muscles when they are overloaded goes without saying. Sore abs after a workout aren’t a badge of honor.

Those who start exercising again too soon will find that their abdominal muscles are immediately more overloaded again. Thus, you are only delaying your recovery further.

This is because it causes further acidification of your muscles, which is very bad in itself and increases the risk of injury.

You may think it takes a long time for your abs to recover from their overuse, but that’s nothing compared to the time it takes to recover from a serious injury.

So starting too soon with abdominal exercises can lead to taking it easy for a very long time.

Most people underestimate how long it takes for their abdominal muscles to recover. Only when your abdominal muscles feel entirely normal again can you start training again.

If you notice that you have misjudged, stop immediately and do not take any risks. Prevention is better than cure!

By the way, even under normal circumstances, you should give your muscles enough rest between training sessions. Otherwise, you can assume that you will be dealing with an overloaded muscle group again in no time.

After a training session of a muscle group, you should give it at least 24 hours to recover. And when it comes to weight training, a 48-hour recovery period is even the guideline.

Related post: Read our other post to get a better idea of how often to train your abs: How often should you train your abs for the best results?

Tip: For a flat and tight belly, you will (possibly) need to lower your fat percentage as well (but avoid a body fat percentage which is too low)! Here, nutrition also plays a vital role.

Keep training and moving

Of course, just because you need to rest your abs doesn’t mean you have to lie on the sofa or in bed all day.

If your primary concern is your abs, you may be inclined to do so because you can’t work on those abs anyway if you suffer from overexertion.

However, it is a terrible idea to stop exercising altogether. Continuing to train and exercise is essential during a period when your abdominal muscles are overworked (consider air cycling exercise as a less intense type of abdominal training).

First of all, because you want to maintain your fitness level. If you are used to working out at the gym every day, a week of inactivity can significantly affect your fitness.

It then becomes harder to train as soon as you can again, causing you to put more work and energy into your abs for fewer results.

In addition, exercise is beneficial to your recovery. For a muscle to recover properly, proper blood circulation is critical.

By continuing to move slowly during your recovery, you ensure the stimulation of this circulation.

This can lead to you recovering a lot faster than if you had been passively napping at home all day.

Needless to say, it is important to spare your abdominal muscles in the process. Attention: With various compound exercises, you train your abs without even realizing it…

So really think carefully if you are doing exercises that are taxing on your abdominal muscles.

Make sure you’re getting antioxidants

An overtrained muscle, in all likelihood, has become fatigued from the lactic acid due to the overload. This can then lead to inflammation in that muscle.

To recover properly, you naturally need to avoid or stop those inflammations because an inflamed muscle is far from functioning optimally. Your body does this on its own, but you can help it do this by eating the right foods.

As part of fighting inflammation preventively, it’s best to consume plenty of antioxidants.

These are substances in certain foods that are anti-inflammatory. So these substances help fight inflammation in your muscles, allowing them to recover faster.

For overworked muscles, this is a helping hand that you can certainly use in the context of injury prevention and sustainable training of your abdominal muscles.

In addition, antioxidants make for a faster and more comfortable recovery.

Inflammation is harmful to your muscles and a major cause of muscle pain.

Antioxidants can, therefore, ensure that you have less muscle soreness during your recovery, which is always welcome.

There are a lot of different foods that contain antioxidants, so you’re sure to find something you like.

Below we have already listed several foods that are high in antioxidants. The food items in question are the following:

  • Pecans (sweeter than walnuts)
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Raspberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Artichokes
  • Red cabbage
  • Dark chocolate
  • Goji Berries
  • Beets (performance-enhancing natural remedy)
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries

Quiet the pain with the right nutrition

Antioxidants may help reduce muscle pain. However, antioxidants are not the only means by which you can reduce your muscle pain.

Reducing pain is essential because it makes your recovery more enjoyable and simply allows you to recover better. In fact, it is vital to stay active during your recovery.

This promotes good blood circulation and proper body functioning, so your muscles are fully healed faster.

Those with less pain will find it easier to keep moving every day. So this will benefit your recovery. Sports and exercise don’t go so well when you’re wracked with pain.

What exactly are the resources involved? The proper diet can make a big difference for those who prefer not to use painkillers.

For example, scientific research has shown that ginger can reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

The following foods can also provide less muscle pain during your recovery:

  • Salmon
  • Soy
  • Yogurt
  • (Fresh) mint
  • Turmeric
  • Vitamin B12 (found in bananas, nuts, eggs, poultry, etc.)

Take cold showers for better circulation

A cold shower is something few people really enjoy.

However, if you are suffering from overworked (abdominal) muscles, it is something that can help tremendously in your recovery.

In fact, cold water can improve blood flow, which helps tremendously in the recovery of your abdominal muscles.

And when you think about it, that’s actually not surprising at all. When you get cold, your body wants to correct it. It does this by increasing the blood flow in your body.

It makes your blood flow through your body faster because blood has a high temperature and is very suitable for warming you up again.

This has the side effect of also giving your muscles much more blood and oxygen than usual.

As a result, your damaged muscles are much better able to repair themselves. So by taking a cold shower regularly, you can ensure that you recover a lot faster.

However, one cold shower will not be enough, so you will have to keep this up for a while.

A cold bath can also be beneficial because it will probably make you feel even colder. But for most people, a cold bath is a little too much of a good thing because it’s hardly comfortable…

Another option is to put an ice pack on your abdominal muscles (wrapped in a wet washcloth or a damp, thin towel to avoid damaging your skin from the cold).

The effect is a bit more localized by using localized ice treatment, and you don’t have to go cold with your whole body.

Provide the right building blocks for your muscles

Letting your abs recover, as mentioned, means not exercising for a while. This is, of course, annoying because not training means loss of muscle mass.

To some extent, this is the inevitable result of overload. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to reduce muscle loss.

You can do this, for example, by ensuring that the right building blocks are present in your body.

You will probably train a little less intensively now, and you will have to adjust your nutrition for that as well.

So there’s a good chance you’ll be taking in less protein and eating fewer calories than usual for fear that you will gain weight. But in reality, you need to keep the building blocks right…

This is because a shortage of building materials, and we are talking mainly about proteins, leads to a faster breakdown of muscle mass.

If you think about this for a moment, you will realize that this is actually not so strange. If your body does not have the proper substances to maintain your muscles, they will break down faster.

So make sure you keep eating enough and get plenty of protein in particular, even during your recovery.

Of course, eating a little less than during heavy training days is allowed, but don’t overdo it.

You’re probably fine if you eat the amounts you eat on a typical rest day. Although a little more calories and protein probably wouldn’t hurt then either.

Go into the sauna

As cited in another tip, the cold can cause your circulation to improve.

So it may seem a little odd that we recommend going to the sauna if you suffer from overworked abdominal muscles.

Did you know that very high temperatures also improve blood flow, leading to faster recovery of your abdominal muscles?

People who sit in the sauna sweating for a long time naturally turn red at some point. That red color is caused by the blood spreading faster through your body (in part to cool the heated skin).

In addition, your muscles will also relax in the sauna, so you will experience less muscle pain during and after the sauna session.

Sore abs after workout: Conclusion

Although the abs are a strong muscle group, it is important not to go overboard.

Stop if you feel any pain, and make sure to eat the right food to encourage healing and fight inflammation, particularly after a tough workout.

Keep that circulation going with a sauna and a couple of hot showers to help the healing process. Sore abs after workout don’t affect everyone, but at least now you’ll know what to do if it happens to you!

Related postVisceral fat: Dangers and tips to lose and burn it

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More