The Only 6 Products I Swear By for Really Sore Muscles
Welcome to The/Thirty's Sweat Guide, a series devoted to the art of sweating smarter—no matter how hard you're working out (or how hot it is outside). Check back for advice on the best cooling, post-workout products, editor-approved natural deodorants, and more.
Illustration by Haobin Ye
Is it weird that I actually like being a little sore after a workout? It's a nice reminder that I put the work in and really challenged my body—as well as an indication that I'm growing stronger. Studies suggest that when we experience delayed-onset muscle soreness, it can be an indicator of muscle growth in progress. (This is assuming, of course, that you didn't work so hard to the point of injury.)
But tender muscles and joints can also be a literal pain, especially when it takes an effort just to sit down without wincing. In these scenarios, I don't mess around: I have an arsenal of sprays, gels, and supplements I swear by for both instantaneous and long-term relief. Shop my favorites below.
I'm obsessed enough with this spray that I keep one bottle in my bathroom and one at the office. For sore muscles, bruising, and even premenstrual cramps, it's my cure-all: The peppermint and juniper is cooling and oh so soothing upon contact, while arnica and cannabis work deep to alleviate pain and inflammation.
Speaking of arnica, these homeopathic pellets are a tried-and-true remedy for everything from post-workout soreness to neck pain to stubborn black-and-blue marks (and I can vouch for this as someone who is genetically predisposed to bruise like a peach). Dermatologists and estheticians often "prescribe" it after intense facial treatments or injections to help alleviate any side effects.
This classic balm warms on contact thanks to its chief ingredients of cayenne and ginger, and I love massaging it into my shoulders.
Foam-rolling is essential after a tough workout if you're looking to drastically reduce soreness the next day. It helps iron out any kinks in your muscles and joints, and breaks up lactic acid (which is usually the prime suspect behind post-workout tenderness).
I'm a longtime fan of Tata Harper's botanically driven, results-oriented skincare, so I was stoked when the brand released this post-workout gel. It contains 22 high-performance, plant-based ingredients, including arnica, aloe, shea butter, and inflammation-fighting extracts all chosen to offer instant relief. You'll feel an immediate cooling sensation—and your skin will get a nice hit of hydration to boot.
A Pilates instructor recommended that I purchase these lacrosse balls after noting that the arch in my feet tends to collapse when I walk—the result, no doubt, of years of stomping through city sidewalks. Now, every day after I come home from work, I place one of the balls underneath my foot and roll it around to loosen things up. It hurts so good, and this habit has also helped me adjust my gait and posture so that I'm no longer putting so much pressure on my feet on a daily basis.
Next up: 10 beauty products that will help you cool down after a tough workout.
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