Friday, October 18, 2013

Fitness Friday: How to Remove Muscle Knots

How do I feel after running a half marathon completely unprepared and undertrained? Actually, not too bad. My angry hamstring seems to have gotten happy again, but the lack of prep miles took a toll on my quads. Besides the usual soreness, I have a good knot in one thigh.

I've spent the week giving my legs a lot of TLC and it has worked really well to keep the soreness at bay. It's worked so well, that I thought I would share my tips with you!

Walk - On the way home from the half marathon, we stopped at the grocery. This forced walk around the store picking up dinner items got us up and moving. Sitting allows the muscles to tighten up, making it painful to get moving again.

Foam Roll - I attacked the foam roller multiple times the day of the half marathon and every day since. It literally feels like I have been pushing all the soreness right out of my quads! It also helped me zero in on the knot in my quad. When I feel the pain of the foam roller on the muscle knot, I hold it for 30 seconds.

Epsom Salt Bath - I took a warm salt bath the morning after the race and again after my easy run yesterday. I add two cups of epsom salt to the bath water and soak for about 15-20 minutes. The warm water and magnesium sulfates help relax and loosen up the muscles.

Massage/Self Massage - If I had time (or an appointment) I would get a professional to work out my knots, in the mean time I have been lathering up the lotion and digging into my muscles myself. Using a tennis ball is another good way to focus on the knots.

Exercise - Although I didn't do more than walk and stretch the day of the half marathon, I did get right back to my regular strength workouts the next day. Yesterday I took an easy 3 mile shake-out run and felt really good.

What is your favorite way to relieve the pain/tightness of sore muscles?


  1. Great suggestions! I have never tried Epsom Salt. However, I am a huge fan of Tiger Balm!

  2. With all of my hamstring tightness/soreness, my foam roller has become my best friend! Love the other ideas you shared, too!


  4. Rest is probably the most important!!

  5. I need to get some Tiger Balm!

  6. I wish I could bring my roller to work with me ;)

  7. Ice Bath for whatever reason works for me.
    And I love the foam roller too.

  8. I use all of your tips regularly but lately I've had tightness and knots in my shoulders and nothing helps. Stress much? Time to schedule a massage. Even if it doesn't help it will feel so good :)

  9. I was recently told to use a foam roller. I also started eating more Pink Himalayan Sea Salt to help with muscle soreness and muscle cramps. I tend to get those a lot in my feet. Great suggestions.

  10. A lot of good advice Amy! I am a huge believer in
    the power of hot baths with Epsom Salts.. it is amazing what getting the
    magnesium into the muscle directly through the skin can do! It is so
    powerful at helping to rebuild the collagen in the affected tissue.
    The only thing I felt slightly surprising was using the foam roller the
    same day of the race. I don’t see anything inherently wrong with this
    but I have found that usually it is a bit safer to give the affected
    tissue a day or so of rest to settle down before hammering away at it
    with the roller but it sounds like it worked well for you and that is
    I have also found deep tissue massage to be very effective when done by the right therapist. It can actually really hurt but in so doing you are opening up that knot!
    Great Post.


  11. You're probably right about waiting to use the roller until the day after. I was a bit overzealous with my proactive approach, I think!

  12. I've never been brave enough to try an ice bath, but I hear great things about it!

  13. Or a very cold river or ocean does the trick too.

  14. I'm really good about walking, massaging, and exercising... that foam roller still sits by my closet door. I know it will help but I'm SO bad about it.

  15. ALL of the above and when I get a cramp I drink pickle juice... or eat a tsp of mustard. It works!

    I am also a big fan of magnesium citrate drinks before bed, and Tiger Balm and Ben Gay cold. Whatever it takes...

  16. I'm all about the foam roller! It's such a good hurt. I've never tried an epsom salt bath. I think I may still have some...will have to try that out.

  17. This is great! My coworkers make fun of me because I'm constantly massaging my leg (I'm currently injured) but I swear it helps! Then again I also foam roll at the office so I don't blame them for poking fun at me!

  18. I've heard that sitting in an ice bath after the race is a good way to reduce swelling, but I'm not sure I'm tough enough for that!!

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