Ha! Caught your attention, didn’t I?
My butt hurts today. Like achy muscle I don’t want to move kind of butt hurting. Here’s the culprit:
Yeah. It’s a kettlebell. I am extremely fortunate to have a gym at my office, and trainers who come in and work with me and my office mates. It’s the most fabulous perk of all. For the past three months, Bryan has been coming to the office twice a week to teach a self-defense class. (FUN!!) It’s a great workout, and I love love love the physics of dropping a guy twice as big as me to the floor, but really? It’s not as strenuous of a workout as I’d like. I still have 10 pounds to my goal weight.
So, I had a little conversation with Bryan last week that went something like this.
“I seriously adore these self-defense workouts, but you know what?”
“If I were stronger, like buff stronger, I’d be better able to take care of myself, right? And oh, by the way, I want a harder workout.”
Bryan showed up yesterday for our workout session with kettlebells. Turns out he’s not only a master in combative warrior arts, he’s also a legit Russian kettlebell trainer. (Check out Bryan here!)
Squeeee!!!! I get to work out like Anne with her CrossFit!! (Hi, Anne!) My office pal Jackie and I had our first kettlebell workout. It was baby beginner stuff, but lordy my butt hurts today from the presses and lunges we were doing!
So then, what’s the deal?. You all know that I work out regularly, so why the heck am I sore today?
Muscle soreness like this is often felt when you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or dramatically increase the duration or intensity of your exercise routine. It’s called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Kettlebells? Totally new for me. Not the same muscles used for mountain biking for sure!
DOMS is thought to be a result of microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers, caused by movement that your body isn’t used to, This is especially true of eccentric muscle contractions, or movements that cause muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens. Examples of eccentric muscle contraction type exercise include going up and down stairs, running downhill, lowering weights and the downward motion of squats, lunges and push-ups.
So what’s a girl with a sore butt to do? There just isn’t any single, simple way to treat DOMS. Here are a few things to try.
Active Recovery: This strategy does have some research to back it up. Performing easy low-impact aerobic exercise will increase blood flow to the sore spots and will help make them less tender. That’s what I did today. Walked a few miles at a nice easy pace. I did feel better afterwards.
Rest and Recover: If you simply wait it out, soreness will go away in 3 to 7 days with no special treatment. Humph. Not very useful if you, oh, plan to go dancing or skiing.
Ice Bath: Many pro athletes use them and claim they work to reduce soreness. Me? Not so thrilled about plunging my rear into a bathtub full of ice cubes.
RICE: the standard method of treating acute injuries. Use it if your soreness is particularly painful. Rest, ice, compression, elevation. Yeah, Like I’m going to pack ice on my butt and elevate it above my head. Not a good choice for the office.
Gentle Stretching: Although there’s no research to prove that stretching alone reduces muscle pain and soreness, many people find it simply feels good. I’m one of them.
Advil: Aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may help to temporarily reduce the muscle soreness, although they won’t actually speed healing. Advil is my friend. My very good friend.
Warm Up Completely before your next exercise session. There is some research that confirms that a thorough warm-up performed immediately prior to new and eccentric exercise produces small reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness. I will certainly warm up tomorrow before my next kettlebell workout.
Next workout? Darn Right. Me and that kettlebell = love at first sight. It was FABulous, and I’m going to be the buffest middle-aged mother of college students that ever swung a bell. Or fought off a bad guy. Besides, Bryan is cute. What other excuse do I need to pick up a 26 pound chunk of metal and swing it?
Get Strong. Keep the Faith.