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You Asked: Why So Much Pain Days After Lunges?

You're asking and I'm answering . . .

Hi Fit,
I was so proud of myself doing lunges on my Wii Fit the other day — the trainer even said I did a GREAT JOB. Such a great job that I have been in pain for the last three days and I fee like an old lady! I know muscles ache sometimes after working them, but this has been 3 days. Did I do something wrong? Did I need to stretch afterwards? Is there anything I can do now to help the ache? It's become difficult to sit down in a chair and also even walk down the stairs. Help!
— Lunging Lucy

While many of us might enjoy a little post workout pain as a pleasant reminder of how hard we worked, too much of this pain can feel downright debilitating. To see how you can deal with this pain


What you are experiencing is known as Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness (DOMS). The pain is usually felt 12 to 48 hours after exercising, but can last as long as a week. Although it is annoying and painful, it is the normal muscular response to new challenges, which in your case were lunges. The cause of the pain is thought to come from microscopic tears in the muscles and the swelling associated with those tears. On the bright side, once the pain subsides the sore muscles will be stronger and have more stamina.

In 2007, an Australian study found the stretching did not relieve the pain associated with DOMS. I feel though that stretching the muscles when sore helps to build more elasticity in the new muscle fibers. The soreness should go away by itself, but do avoid any vigorous activity that makes the pain worse. Light aerobic exercise can help the healing process by bringing fresh blood to the sore muscles. Some people find pain relief in massage, although this doesn't necessarily improve muscular function. Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) like ibuprofen can help relieve the pain, but like massage this will not speed your recovery time.

People often quit exercising because they hate dealing with DOMS, but I am here to encourage you to keep going. Don't forget to warm up before exercising and try slowly building up the number of reps you do.

Lunge on!


Quanda2600162 Quanda2600162 5 years
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
It's the calf exercises that cause me the worst soreness. If I don't do them regularly (3-4 times a week), then the next time I do them I can barely walk for a few days. And they cramp so easily if i don't do daily stretching. My calves have always been so sensitive!
itsme3683 itsme3683 9 years
yeah dude! lunges! my trainer had me lunge around the track like a jillion times (ok, twice) on friday and my legs are DEAD. and i totally know what y'all mean about post-lunge bathroom breaks!!
pixelhaze pixelhaze 9 years
yeah you have to work out again. seems counter-intuitive but its the only thing that will make the pain go away. when i did swim team ages ago one time we did lunges all around the pool and I seriously couldn't walk the next day!! my muscles were so tight I couldn't bend my knees and had to kind of drag my feet to be able to move. I skipped practice but by the third day I couldn't do that anymore so I had to go in the pool and was surprised to find that by the time practice was over I felt better.
dh123 dh123 9 years
I have no idea how to ask a question, can someone please help me? I've looked everywhere and can't find how to
mem952 mem952 9 years
i get this with hard lunges and also on my chest if i'm ever doing weights there. i think it's just that they aren't movements that you would normally do in an average day so the muscles are quite happy relaxing until you wake them up with the lunges! i've found that keeping well hydrated and some light massage helps with the muscle soreness.
Bisque Bisque 9 years
I'm trying to do lunges regularly now, the one thing I'm concerned about is while I do feel that pain (and I feel great since I know I'm working hard at trying to get fit when I do) one leg gets more pain than the other. Is it normal or should I consult someone? I never really invested much time in exercising until recently, so I'm mostly going by internet tutorials on what to do.
jlynn818 jlynn818 9 years
Lol! Yep, I just got the Wii Fit and I did the lunge sequence twice because I really liked it, but I did feel sore the next day and even a little bit the day after. I just did a lot more yoga the next day and plan on doing yoga after strength all the time.
Red-Sharpie Red-Sharpie 9 years
The more you do the same exercise, the less it will hurt. I always get sore after starting a new routine at the gym, but only after the first time doing that routine. Keep challenging yourself and your body will adjust to it =)
ehadams ehadams 9 years
Lunges do this to me too. :(
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 9 years
I have a love/hate relationship with lunges and squats. I used to really, really hate them but now I have grown to love them... because they WORK!! No doubt there is pain in my legs from doing them, especially if I have taken a break. However, after awhile of doing them your body gets used to it just like it does with any exercise and it gets easier.
tsp tsp 9 years
tlsgirl, you are spot on-- the bathroom breaks post lunge are killer. ;-) i actually love lunges. i incorporated them into my workout about 2 months ago. the first time the doms were the worst (i overdid things a bit). but i do them once or twice a week, and i love that they actually work--which is always my motivation to keep doing them. plus, the continual use of those muscles helps ease the doms.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 9 years
I just did a ton of lunges yesterday. Lunges are strange b/c they don't hurt too bad when I'm actually doing them, but then this morning i went to get out of bed and my legs were on fire! I find that a nice jog helps the pain.
sydneyalias sydneyalias 9 years
This always happens to me with lunges and squats. The best thing for me seems to be working out again. It makes the pain go away more quickly. But it sucks!
Berlin Berlin 9 years
I know it hurts...but it's really neat...if you bascially talk yourself to going back into the gym and doing another leg workout, not as hard and not lunges, maybe squats, extensions, and lying actually helps out the pain! Its the lactic acid that's causing a lot of the pain, and for some reason when you get that blood pumping through the area and bring heat back to it and start working the muscle again, it actually WON'T hurt while you're dong the exercise! The only hard part is getting yourself back in there while you're still sore:) Make sure to drink water a lot and take some ibuprofen, it will help with the cramping and you can even start to take creatine (do your research!) which will also help in muscle recovery and workout performance. It's great for wanting to build muscle.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
The *exact* same thing happened to me when I did the Wii Fit lunges (which are a bit different in execution from those I've done in the past). Come to think of it, I haven't done them since!
pugglelover pugglelover 9 years
i used to get really sore like that after lunges but I now do them @ least once a week and I hardly get sore like that anymore. Sometimes the next day they are a little sore but not like when I first started doing them.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I'm the same way! Lunges KILL ME! I'm big into stretching and always stretch really well after but nothing helps, I guess those muscles just aren't used like the rest! oh lunges, how I hate you!
ash6635 ash6635 9 years
this is just what happened to me the past few days. lunges get me every time so i always try to avoid them. but they really are such a great workout! I made myself go on the elliptical for 30 mins, and then stretched my quads out after.... and believe it or not, they actually felt better the next day. i used to just wait until they weren't sore anymroe to work out, which would sometimes be a week or so, but this helped and quickened the pain away
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
Lunges are the only exercise that makes me hurt like that! Even just having to pee can inspire terror, since I'll have to sit down :)
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