How to Relieve Volleyball Soreness

Recovery is your secret weapon to making consistent muscular gains…. Yes, you know that but nobody shows you specifically HOW to recover.

(In the above video, using a foam roller to improve muscle tissue quality)

How Volleyball Soreness Occurs

There are three main theories that result in muscle soreness.

Most volleyball soreness occurs immediately following an activity and then has a delayed onset effect. Immediate muscle soreness is due to a buildup of metabolic by-products such as lactic acid and a lack of sufficient oxygen.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (D.O.M.S.), which begins 24-72 hours after an activity, is not yet determined.

There are three theories which will have an impact on the degree of muscle soreness:

1. Muscle Damage.

As a result of repetitive contractions, microscopic tears occur within the muscle fibers themselves create pain and lead to inflammation, which creates more pain.

2. Damage To The Connective Tissue.

Microscopic tears occur in the connective tissue particularly as a result of eccentric contractions, which are contractions in which the muscle lengthens rather than shortens. Examples of eccentric contractions are the muscles working during a squatting movement (lowering the weight down) and the lowering movement of lunging. This portion of the exercise is also known as negative work or "eccentric" work.

3. Ischemia/Spasm Cycle.

The lack of oxygen and build-up of metabolic by-products causes pain which causes the muscle to spasm. This further reduces the amount of oxygen available, increases the metabolic by-products, and the viscous cycle continues.

Volleyball soreness will occur when you push your limits, 'out do' yourself and expose your body to unaccustomed stress.

Combine this with either repetitive movements for extended periods of time; using jerky or explosive movements; stretching beyond normal range of motion and/or repeated eccentric contractions and OF COURSE your muscles are going to be sore.

Muscle Soreness

Some tips to help relieve volleyball soreness...

1. Increase Blood Flow

Increase the blood flow and oxygen to the damaged area (to facilitate the breakdown of metabolic by-products, and the removal of debris, and to speed nutrients to the cells for healing).

2. Relax the muscles

Experiment with the following activities to determine which one helps reduce and relieve your volleyball soreness the quickest. Most likely you'll need a combination of these methods.

A. Static Stretching.

Focus on slow and gradual stretching.

Stretch each muscle just to where you begin to feel the stretch then hold that position until you feel the muscle let go.

Don't bounce or force the muscle unless you want to create more harm than good.

Flexibility training for volleyball should involve both dynamic and static stretching exercises. Static stretching can be good for increasing the resting lengthen of tight muscles.

Static stretching relaxes muscles turning off the nervous system.

B. Light Exercise.

Muscles that are not used will become stiff and take longer to become pain free. Gentle, non-stressful exercise will increase the circulation and relax your muscles.

It's important to spend time warming up before training sessions, volleyball practices, and tournaments. A proper warm up will help with preventing injuries and recovery from workouts.

Cooling down after your workouts will also improve your performance and accelerate the recovery process.

C. Pre-workout Nutrition

What you eat before you train depends on the individual athlete, current training level, and training goals.
Generally, 100 to 200 grams of complex carbohydrates 2 to 3 hours before the workout and another 50 grams 30 minutes to 1 hour before the training session.

It may help to consume simple carbohydrates before, during or after the workout.

D. Post-workout Nutrition

Consume a post-workout nutrition bar or drink after your workout.

Consume carbohydrates right after training while your body is still warm to better replenish muscle glycogen.

3. Massage

Good old fashioned massage acts much like light exercise or gentle stretching by increasing your circulation and coaxing the muscles to relax. The differences are that with massage you need do nothing other than simply enjoy, and the massage therapist can locate and work with those areas of your musculature most in need of attention.

4. Foam Rolling

When training speed and power, muscle regeneration is very important for those stressed areas.

The tissue that's been damaged needs to be treated. The tissue can be treated and opened back up by using a foam roller.

The purpose of foam rolling is to regenerate your muscle tissue and help create the highest quality tissue. Foam Rolling is like giving yourself a massage. The foam roll uses deep compression to help massage out muscle spasms that develop over time.

After awhile, the quality of tissue will improve. Harder rollers should then be used for muscle tissue that's harder to break up.

Foam Rolling for Volleyball

The self massage results in your nerves relaxing, your muscles loosening up helping blood flow and your body recover. The purpose of the self massage is to irritate the tissue to produce a chemical response. This is why soft tissue work can often be painful.

The chemicals produced are what begin the healing process. Soft tissue work is important because the massage changes the quality of the muscle fibers.

Athletes should do self massage using the foam roller because it's so easy to maintain the tissue on your own.

5. Cold

Cold water or ice breaks the pain/ischemia/spasm cycle by increasing the circulation and interfering with pain signals. Ice is also an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and will greatly speed healing. I run my muscles under cold water for 3-10 minutes after a workout.

6. Alternating Hot and Cold

Since the thought of hot often seems more soothing it is included here, but in combination with cold. Hot water will relax muscles and increase circulation but will also increase inflammation and swelling within muscle fibers.

Therefore it is important to alternate with cold and end with cold. This can take the form of a sauna and swim, a whirlpool and cold plunge, a hot and cold shower or a hot bath and ice.

After 3-10 minutes of cold, run the hot shower on your legs for 1 minute. And than repeat a few times.

7. Movement In The Pool

Water supports your muscles and makes them easier to use.

If you are extremely sore it will be easier for you to use your muscles in the pool either walking, stretching, or gently swimming.

I trust this is more than enough information to speed your recovery and return to volleyball training!

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Quick Recovery from Muscle Soreness

› Lesson 2: Volleyball Soreness