Should you exercise with sore muscles? Kayla Itsines reveals all

To train, or not to train?

We’ve all experienced the aching, can’t-sit-down soreness the day after a training session. This post-workout muscle soreness can occur when a muscle is stretched a little more than it is used to. The result? Small tears, called micro tears, which can cause pain. However, the real questions is; should you continue training? Here, Kayla Itsines reveals all.

Should I train with sore muscles?

Think about it this way: if you pull a muscle in your leg during your training, what do you do? You don’t just walk it off and start training for a marathon! You REST and you let it heal. The same thing applies with post-workout muscle soreness.
Micro tears might not be as large scale as a pulled muscle, but they are still tears and they need time to heal. Now, I’m not saying that you need to stop training for weeks on end like you would if you have an injury. You might just need to wait a day or two for this soreness to pass before you begin training again.


I’m sure you would have all experienced this at some point, but when you are injured, you are not always able to train at the same level as if you were injury free. You might be in pain, your muscles may not contract as efficiently and so on. If you continue to train over the top of this injury, then it may never fully heal. As we now know, post-workout muscle soreness is more or less a “mini injury”, which is why I don’t recommend training when you are feeling moderately sore (or can’t walk after leg day!).
Now before you start raising your hands in protest, hear me out! Just because you might not be able to go straight into another full-on resistance sesh (such as one of my BBG workouts), it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to stop training altogether.
In my opinion, a well-balanced training program should include a combination of resistance and cardio training, as well as some rehabilitation. So where possible, I tell my BBG girls to space out their resistance workouts and do them every second day (for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday). This means that on the days that you might be feeling a bit sore from training, you’re able to take it easy with a brisk walk. So long as you’re not hiking up mountains, this can really help get your blood flowing and reduce some of that post-workout stiffness!
Of course, some of us are mums, study, work full-time, or a combination of these things, which means that this isn’t always practical. If you’re someone who does your resistance sessions on back-to-back days and you’re feeling a bit sore for a previous workout, then I recommend that you train a different area of your body.
For example, if you are hobbling around from yesterday’s leg workout, then give your legs a rest and train arms or abs instead. This way, you’re still able to give your sore muscles a chance to recover without having to miss a workout. In saying that, there is nothing wrong with skipping a workout from time to time if you are simply too sore to function!
And now for the question that I’m sure that you’ve all been waiting for:

What you can I do to reduce post-workout muscle soreness?

There are a number of things that you can do to reduce the severity of this post-workout soreness.

Don’t go too hard, too fast

Kayla Itsines
When you do any training program, it’s important that you use a principle called progressive overload. In regards to resistance training, what this means is you gradually increase the amount of weight you lift or the number of reps that you do so that you are continually challenge your body. However, the key here is that you do this progressively. If you’re pushing your body too hard and too fast, then it’s likely that you’re going be pretty sore after each of your workouts! Remember that you are your only competition when you train, so it’s important that you do what is best for you and your body.

Foam Rolling

Kayla Itsines, muscle soreness, foam rolling, exercise
Another way to reduce post-workout muscle soreness is foam rolling, which is essentially a form of self-massage. Foam rolling can help to kickstart the healing process, and potentially reduce the soreness that you might otherwise feel the next day!

Take a bath with Epsom salts

Kayla Itsines, epsom salts, magnesium, muscle soreness, bath
Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is a mineral that helps your muscles to relax and recover. Adding 1 to 2 cups to your bath may also help your muscles to recover after a tough workout.
Being fit and healthy is a marathon, not a sprint. It is SO important to remember that missing out on a session every once in awhile because you are feeling sore is okay! This won’t stop you from achieving your goals – simply learn to use your rest days effectively! Hint hint foam rolling 😉
Love, Kayla xx

Please note: Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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