If you’re new to Pilates, you may have noticed some muscle soreness after your first few pilates classes. This is very common when beginning any new workout program that challenges muscles in new ways, such as with Pilates core exercises. Even Pilates practitioners with experience can feel soreness as they advance to more difficult levels.
Soreness is a natural response that shows you’re working hard, but it can still be uncomfortable initally. You can continue improving your Pilates practice with these effective tips to relieve post-workout muscle soreness.
Why Soreness Happens After Pilates
When you first start attending Pilates classes, you are engaging muscle groups that you’re not used to utilizing. Pilates predominantly strengthens the core torso muscles, concentrating on the abdomen, back, pelvis, and spine.
The core is worked isometrically, contracting muscles without much joint movement. This can come as a shock for muscles not accustomed to this type of conditioning. Additionally, the arms and legs are integrated for full-body contouring moves that further fatigue muscles in new ways.
It is not uncommon then, to feel muscle soreness during the initial phase of Pilates classes, especially in the core muscles. This signifies that the muscles worked are undergoing adaptation to become stronger. As an added benefit, Pilates improves flexibility, which can also make your body feel uncomfortable as it becomes more pliable.
Another phenomenon you may experience is delayed onset muscle soreness. This is when the achy or tender sensation doesn’t set in until 12 to 24 hours after your Pilates session. This might catch you off guard, particularly as you may have started to think you have avoided the soreness!
Managing Uncomfortable Soreness From Pilates
Now that you understand why you are sore after Pilates classes, let’s go over some practical soothing techniques:
Drinking plenty of water when you exercise, as well as before and after, ensures your muscles remain supple and recover well as dehydration makes tissues tighter and delays healing. Staying hydrated with water is beneficial, particularly during class, but coconut water contains helpful electrolytes, and can be a great recovery drink.
Get Enough Quality Sleep
Your body repairs itself most efficiently during deep REM sleep cycles. Most adults require 7 to 9 hours nightly. Maintain consistent a bedtime and wake-up time for optimal sleep regulation. Also, avoid digital screens at least two hours pre-bed for better melatonin release.
Gently Stretch and Warm-Up
Easy, flowing movements raise tissue temperature and lubricate joints prior to working out. After Pilates, gently stretching and rolling out fatigued muscles for 5 to 10 minutes removes accumulated lactic acid, promoting circulation. This helps deliver nutrients while clearing inflammatory metabolites.
Alternate Heat and Ice
Rotating heat and cold therapy alleviates soreness substantially. Soak in a warm bath with Epsom salt or try a heating pad for relief. Follow this by icing sore areas for 10 to 15 minutes to constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation. Repeat for a few cycles.
Anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric, ginger, proteolytic enzymes, and magnesium can calm muscle aches. Consult your physician before adding new supplements.
When to Seek Medical Care
There is a difference between manageable muscle soreness and more serious pain from injury. Always consult with your healthcare provider if you experience any sudden sharp joint pains or inability to move normally.
Lingering chronic muscle soreness for more than a few days ay indicate the need for a medical assessment. A skilled Pilates instructor can also help modify your future workouts to avoid the problem. If you are recovering from injury/chronic pain always consult a doctor before taking Pilates.
Continuing With Sore Muscles
It’s discouraging to be left with uncomfortable soreness after fitness efforts. Yet reducing activity in response tends to weaken muscles further over time.
Maintaining Pilates participation while implementing soreness relief methods lets the body positively adapt. Working with the instructor can ensure you are employing accurate form. After a period of adjustment, the post-workout muscle fatigue fades.
You can support proper recovery without losing ground by:
Scheduling Workouts Strategically
Allow roughly 48 hours between Pilates sessions that focus on the same body parts. This gives time for tissues to regenerate before repeating demanding exertions.
Adjusting Workout Intensity
Reduce the level, reps, or duration if soreness is significantly slowing you down during Pilates classes. Focus on gentle flowing movements until the soreness subsides.
Informing Your Instructor
Every body responds uniquely to new physical challenges. An experienced Pilates teacher can tailor your future workouts for the best and most sustainable progress.
Maximize the Benefits of Your Pilates Classes with RTR Pilates
Muscle soreness after Pilates sessions is very common, especially when you are just starting out with the practice. Be patient as your body adjusts to the movements.
Focus on gentle stretches, hydration, nutrition, and rest days to speed up recovery between classes. If you ever feel pain rather than soreness or are worried about an injury, consult a physical therapist.
While pPilates makes you stronger over time, strength training of any kind initially requires small muscle tears that lead to temporary soreness. This is all part of the journey. Over time, you will be impressed at what your body can do.
The RTR Pilates team is always happy to answer your questions about managing discomfort or maximizing the benefits of Pilates classes. Contact us today for personalized guidance.