Learning how to get rid of lactic acid build up is one of the key skills necessary in order to keep building muscle. Lactic acid build up is that feeling in your body and muscles in the following days after an intense workout.
You feel like you cannot move, and you wonder if you are ever going to be able to workout again. Although this feeling is temporary, it is a standard part of the fitness improvement process.
Lactic acid is a result of the lack of oxygen in your muscles. When you workout, your body cannot provide enough oxygen to repair all of the muscles you just put through the paces.
Your body prioritizes other, more important functions of your body, which means muscle repair takes a back seat. This is why the lactic acid pain usually lasts a few days.
I took a long vacation once, and I thought I could come back to my regular workouts. I went right into leg day with heavy weights. This was the longest lactic acid pain I have had in my life. I think it lasted over a week.
Don’t let lactic acid pain hold you back though. There are plenty of things to do when we learn how to get rid of lactic acid build up.
Roll out the lactic acid
I will warn you up front that this can be very painful. Have you ever seen somebody using a foam roller? Normally, a foam roller is a great way to help achy muscles, but we take a bigger step when we use a foam roller to get rid of lactic acid build up.
I recommend using a trigger point foam roller like this one from Amazon.
Foam rolling is as simple as using your body weight and gravity to roll on the foam roller, and put pressure on your sore muscles. This increases blood flow to the area, which means that more oxygen gets to your muscles.
Another good option if you can afford it is to get a massage gun. I personally have one, and it is a very good way to get rid of sore muscles. Massage guns are better for specific areas, while a foam roller will cover a larger area.
Drink a lot of water
We have all seen those jacked bodybuilder dudes walking around the gym with gallon jugs of water. There is a reason for that. They know that if you are hydrated, oxygen travels freely throughout the bloodstream.
Think about this. If you are not hydrated enough, your body will obviously prioritize vital organs first BEFORE even thinking about your muscles. If you are hydrated, your body won’t have to think about prioritizing anything because oxygen will flow freely.
I am not the type of person that wants to be seen carrying around a plastic gallon jug around the gym. I don’t have anything against those guys, but I prefer to use an RTIC Gallon Jug. This way I don’t have to worry about plastic in the environment and it’s a bit classier than a plastic gallon jug.
Make sure you space out your workouts and rest
If you are looking to build muscle, it’s not going to benefit you to workout every single day. In fact, studies have shown that weight training 3-4 days per week is ideal for muscle gain.
I used to be the type of person that would workout 6 days per week and was wondering why the results hadn’t come. Well, there was more to it than that. I wasn’t eating enough calories either.
Anyways, I didn’t start seeing massive results until I combined a strong 3 day workout plan with eating enough calories. That exact 3 day workout plan that I personally used to build over 20+ lbs of muscle in my first year is called 3 DAY OVERLOAD. It is available exclusively in our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play).
The moral of the story here is that you should not be sucked in by the idea that you need to workout a ton to build the perfect body. One of the most important things to do is rest. This also means getting plenty of sleep.
Stretching helps with lactic acid build up
We touched on the benefits of using a foam roller to roll out sore muscles. Similarly, we can spend some time stretching to speed up the healing process.
When you are stretching, I recommend taking your time to ease into the stretches. This way you can go deeper, meaning your muscles will get more out of it.
One thing I like to do is put on a mindless TV show or movie, and do some stretching while the show is on. This will ensure that you do not rush the stretches, and you can also ignore the pain that you might be in.
Supplementing with magnesium
A study performed in 2006 on 30 male athletes found that consistently higher magnesium intake led to quicker muscle recovery. Magnesium supplementation also was responsible for better performance and less exhaustion.
The best part about magnesium supplements is that 500mg tablets can be purchased affordably.
Obviously taking magnesium right now as you have lactic acid build up isn’t going to help you. But, it can be a great preventative measure for future lactic acid build up situations.
Main Point: How to get rid of lactic acid build up
By now, you have learned some of the best tips on how to get rid of lactic acid build up. We covered everything from immediate relief to future prevention.
Rolling out your muscles, stretching, and drinking lots of water will be your quickest ways to get relief. Next, learn to space out your workouts, get plenty of sleep, and supplement with magnesium.
If you are able to bring all of these techniques together, you might not have another day in pain due to lactic acid build up.