Isometric contractions and hot baths for reducing muscle soreness and speeding recovery

Muscle soreness and recovery are an obstacle that slows down even the best athlete. But there is new research coming to light all the time on how to best deal with these issues. Here are two studies that caught my eye.

Isometrics holds, pushes and flexion might also aid recovery

In a study by Chen et al (2012) investigated whether maximal voluntary isometric contractions would attenuate the magnitude of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. The execution of only no more than 2 isometric maximal contractions (duration 3s, 45s rest between contractions) can have statistically significant effects your curl performance and muscle damage during an eccentric biceps workout 48h later. Admittedly they used only arm exercises, but they found that decreased creatine kinase, muscle soreness, and plasma myoglobin concentration in the subjects which undertook isometrics and those that did’nt.

Another study by Touchberry et al (2012) looked at the effect of bathing in 41C heat and its effect on exercise induced muscle damage. They found that 20 min of heat exposure in warm water lead to statistically highly significant decreases in exercise induced muscle damage, improved and accelerated the recovery process. This contrary to the concept of cold bathing which is used regularly to treat muscle soreness.The key difference here being they bathed 48 hours BEFORE exercise, not after!

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