These Simple Recovery Tips Are Helping Me Conquer Leg-Day Soreness

Victoria Moorhouse

I was only 30 seconds into my lower body workout, but I already knew my legs would feel like jello the next day - my virtual instructor had just announced that every single circuit featured a squat variation.

Standard squats, air squats, goblet squats, squat thrusts - they all made the list!

As I got out of bed the next morning, I realized my prediction had proved correct - the intense soreness had settled into my quads. My legs were so sore that I struggled to keep up with my 10-pound dog on her walk, let alone walk up the apartment stairs without screaming "ouch!"

I'm all for a challenging workout, but the extreme muscle fatigue held up my workout plans for the rest of the week.

Overall pretty annoyed, I started to wonder if I could have prevented at least some of this soreness. So, I reached out to Olivia Amato, Peloton Bike/Tread Instructor and NASM-certified trainer, for her recovery tips.

My biggest mistake? Rushing through the post-workout stretch - my hot cup of coffee could have and should have waited!

"It is so important to stretch right after working out - because the moment you work out muscles, the body produces lactic acid," Amato says.

This is what causes your muscles to feel so sore and tired, she says. Stretching, however, helps to get rid of that lactic acid and also helps relax the muscles.

"Stretching right after also increases circulation of the blood to various parts of the body, which, in turn, increases energy levels."

So, set aside at least 5-10 minutes post-workout to get in a solid stretch - this roundup of stretches will help you curate a session.

"To reduce leg soreness, I would recommend stretches such as a quad stretch - standing, kneeling, or on your side," Amato says. Feel free to perform this stretch while lying on your stomach - using a towel to gently pull.

Dynamically stretching for that recommended 5-10 minutes before your workout could help you feel less sore later, too, Amato adds.

Related: 3 Moves to Do Before You Lunge, Squat, or Jump

If you've been ignoring that foam roller in the corner (guilty), now's the time to break it out and dust it off.

"Foam rolling is super helpful when wanting to reduce muscle soreness - one of my go-tos when I'm feeling sore is a vibrating foam roller. I use the one by Hyperice, and it's an absolute game-changer! It helps me to recover (and also warm up) super quickly and efficiently," Amato says.

While I have a tendency to only hydrate after a workout, Amato says it's very important to hydrate before your workout as well to reduce soreness.

A stretching timer and a water bottle are now two of my must-have accessories for leg day.

Click here for more health and wellness stories, tips, and news.

More From

  • Conflicted About Jason Momoa Being Cast as Frosty the Snowman? Yeah, Same Here

    Welp, today in news I never could've possibly predicted, even with help from the most powerful crystal ball on Earth: Jason Momoa is set to voice Frosty the Snowman in a live-action remake of the classic holiday film. Yes, you read that correctly.

  • This Alpyn Beauty Eye Balm Is the Only Eye Cream I’m Wearing Under Makeup From Now On

    For as long as I can remember, I've had circles under my eyes. (Seriously, I remember fixating on them in my high-school graduation pics.) I know I'm not alone in this, and I've tried so many products over the years to try to make this dark situation a bit brighter. While there are some that have reduced puffiness and filled in lines, I had not found a single one where I could also wear makeup at the same time. Whether these other eye treatments made my skin too oily (so the makeup slid right off), or caused concealer to settle into the lines even more dramatically, I had pretty much given up on a daytime eye cream. However, I recently got into Alpyn Beauty products, and this brand's balm not only didn't make my concealer pill or run, it left my undereye area even smoother, like a primer would. Learn how I applied the Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Line-Filling Eye Balm With Bakuchiol ($62), and why it's now a permanent step in my mornings and evenings, ahead. Related: Shop Your Favorite Sephora Brands Straight From Your Instagram Feed

  • This Is How You Should Be Cooling Down After Every Run to Prevent Illness and Injuries

    For some reason, warming up and cooling down before and after a workout seems to be dreaded by the masses. We know you're excited to jump right in to the workout, but to prevent getting injured and to ensure that you're training at an optimal level, a proper warmup and cooldown is essential.

  • If You Need Us, We'll Be Relaxing in Our New Hammocks

    We can think of nothing more relaxing than sitting in a hammock and reading a good book. Though we may not be on a beach or in some faraway tropical location, we're making our own fun at home this summer, and that starts with a hammock. Yes, they might feel a little extra, but at the moment, we'll take all the self-care we can get, and hanging out in a hammock sounds dreamy. These 10 options range from luxe to affordable, but they're all great picks to hang in your yard this summer. Whether you want a hammock that stands up on its own or one that you can hang from a tree or post, these 10 options will make your summer that much more enjoyable. Plus, there is a hammock/swing hybrid that looks like exactly where we want to spend our afternoon. Just keep reading to shop. Related: It's Time to Treat Yourself to Some Grown-Up Luxury Sheets