How to Stretch to Relieve Sore Muscles

Four Parts:Stretching to Relieve Sore Arm and Leg MusclesStretching to Relieve Other Sore MusclesUsing Other Methods to Relieve Muscle SorenessPreventing Muscle Soreness

Sore muscles can be quite painful and hinder your daily life and activities. However, there are many things you can do to help your muscles feel better if they are sore. Stretching can be a great way to relieve your sore muscles. This is an easy, budget-conscious method to stay active and to relieve yourself of soreness in the muscles without having to resort to fancy massages or expensive drug remedies.

Part 1
Stretching to Relieve Sore Arm and Leg Muscles

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    Focus specifically on the sore muscles. When your muscles are sore, you need to work on stretching them out. Be careful not to overdo it, but make sure you pay special attention to the muscles that are giving you discomfort. It won’t be very helpful to stretch out your leg muscles if it’s your arm muscles that are sore.
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    Stretch your calf muscles. If your calves are sore, try some calf stretches. Sore calf muscles can be very uncomfortable. You have to use your calves a lot for walking, so it’s more difficult to give your calves the break they need when they are sore.
    • Sit up with your back straight and your legs out in front of you. Reach down and touch your toes.
    • Then, bend your left leg in and stretch your right leg out in front of you.
    • Lay your left leg flat on the ground and touch the inner side of your right knee. Your left leg should form a triangle with your toes touching your right knee and symmetrical to left knee.
    • Now stretch your right hand out and touch your right toes without bending your knee. Repeat this procedure with your left leg.
    • Hold each for 10-15 seconds.
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    Stretch your quads. Try doing quads to stretch your sore quad muscles. These muscles are very important ones that you use all the time in your everyday movement, so it is crucial that you take care of them by stretching when necessary.
    • Stand up straight. Take your right leg and use your hand to hold your foot at your butt.
    • Hold this for 10-15 seconds and repeat with your left leg.
    • Try some yoga moves. For sore leg muscles, the standing forward bend can be really helpful for stretching out sore leg muscles.[1]
    • Stand with your feet together and bend over at the waist. Focus on rolling your spine forward as you reach toward the floor.
    • Let your head and arms hang while your leg muscles stretch.
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    Stretch your sore shoulder muscles. Sore shoulder muscles need extra love and care to speed up the recovery process. Attempt to stretch out your shoulder muscles to help reduce the discomfort of soreness.[2]
    • Cup one elbow with the opposite hand.
    • Then lift your elbow and pull it across your chest, making sure to keep your body stationary.
    • Hold this pose for thirty seconds and then release. Repeat these steps on the other arm.
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    Try a standing side bend. This move can be really beneficial if your arms are sore. It will help alleviate some of the pain from your sore arm muscles.[3]
    • Stand with your feet together and hold your arms above your head with your palms together.
    • Keep your arms straight while you lean to the left and then to the right, taking your time to stretch out the muscles on each side.

Part 2
Stretching to Relieve Other Sore Muscles

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    Take it easy for a few days. When your muscles are sore, it means they are adapting to the new activity/movement and becoming stronger. However, for them to get stronger, you need to give them time to recover from the additional strain.[4]
    • Cut back on the exercise for a few days when your muscles are sore. Or try some lower impact exercise activities like walking or swimming while you recuperate.
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    Stretch to relieve sore ab muscles. Having strong core muscle strength is essential to overall health. It can also help you breathe better by stretching your diaphragm and intercostals.
    • Try the Boomerang Side Bend. Stand with the left side of your body toward the wall about a foot away from it. Place your left hand against the wall at about waist height with your fingers pointing up. Reach your right arm up alongside your right ear and arch your spine toward the wall until your right hand touches the wall. Next, internally rotate your right arm and bend your right elbow so that your right palm rests on the wall (fingers pointing down) about a foot above your left hand. Press both palms against the wall and let your body bow out away from the wall. Hold this pose for 30-90 seconds.[5]
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    Stretch to relieve your sore glutes. Sore glute muscles can be a pain since you use them so much in your everyday life. They are key to most of your motion, especially if you are an active person or a runner. Stretching sore glute muscles will help you stay in shape and relieve you of the pain from the soreness.
    • Try the pigeon pose. Sit down on a yoga mat on the ground. Bring one knee forward to the edge of the mat and stretch the other leg behind you. Align the foot of the bent leg with your knee so that they are perpendicular to the leg stretched behind you. Lean forward if you’re able to.[6]
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    Stretch to relieve general muscle soreness. There are other ways to relieve muscle soreness that involve objects or other people. Two of the most common stretches are foam rolling and assisted stretches.
    • Foam rolling – This process is sometimes called “self-myofascial release.” Basically it means that you use a foam roller or a lacrosse ball to apply pressure to specific points on your body to kind of massage out the muscle soreness.[7]
    • Assisted stretches – These stretches involve another person (hopefully a certified professional) who guides you through a stretching routine based on your specific flexibility needs. Sometimes they will use the pressure of their own body to help you safely achieve a deeper stretch.[8]

Part 3
Using Other Methods to Relieve Muscle Soreness

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    Drink more water. Muscles recover from soreness more quickly when you are properly hydrated. Drink plenty of water when you are feeling muscle soreness to help speed up your recovery time.[9]
    • An adult man should be drinking about 3 liters of water every day and an adult woman should be drinking about 2.2 liters of water every day.[10] So, you’ll need to drink more than that (at least one liter more per day) to help counteract the soreness in your muscles.
    • Avoid things like alcohol and soda that will work to dehydrate you even more.
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    Put an ice pack on your sore muscle. Put a few ice cubes in a ziplock bag or cloth and hold it against where you hurt. Do this for 10-15 minutes.[11]
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    Use heat on your sore muscles. After using the ice, (not immediately, wait about three hours) put boiling hot water in a hot water bottle and place it on your sore muscles. Leave it there for fifteen minutes.
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    Try legal non-prescription pain relievers. Use Advil, Ibuprofen, or Tylenol. Try to use these as a last resort, as they alter the way your body works and do not teach your muscles to learn to de-stress for themselves.[12]
    • Always be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle and do not abuse the drugs.

Part 4
Preventing Muscle Soreness

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    Do some warmup stretching before any major activity. Stretching can actually help prevent muscle soreness and stretching one area can result in benefits in another muscle area. [13]
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    Always have a cool down period after a workout. Cooling down stretches after a workout give your muscles a chance to relax into normal activity more slowly, thereby reducing the chance of injury or soreness. If you skip your cool down routine, it can negatively impact your muscles and your muscle development.[14]
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    Take it slow if you are a beginner. Muscle soreness initially develops from unfamiliarity with the movement or level of activity from your muscles. If you are just starting a workout regimen or a more active lifestyle, it is important to start out slowly and progress gradually. Doing too much too fast might do more damage than good.
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    Don’t increase the volume of your workout too quickly. Muscle soreness can develop from adding too much too fast to your workout regimen. A good rule of thumb is to not increase the volume of your workout by more than 10-20% from one workout to the next. This will help your muscles adjust slowly over time instead of being overwhelmed all at once.[15]


  • Always stretch after a workout; that way you won't be as sore afterwards.
  • When stretching out the sore muscle, after a period of time contract the muscle being stretched. What this does is pull on the other muscle fibers which compose that particular muscle, thereby giving you a better stretch.


  • Don't bounce or do any dynamic or ballistic motions while stretching sore muscles.
  • Make sure you don't get any boiling hot water on you. Always put it in a hot water bottle. There shouldn't be any direct skin contact.

Article Info

Categories: Warm Ups Stretching and Flexibility