Leg Muscle Pain
If you’ve experienced leg muscle pain recently you know how debilitating it can be and how much it can effect your sleep.
In this article we’ll look at three causes of leg muscle pain and provide some solutions that will take away the pain and leave you with stronger legs that can withstand even the most grueling workouts.
When we’re talking about the leg muscles we’re talking about 5 major sections – the glutes (butt muscles), the hamstrings (upper back part of legs), the quadriceps (upper front), the calves (lower back) and the tibialis anterior (front lower part of legs).
Take a look at the graphic to the right for these major muscle groups:
Ok we now have the anatomy, let’s dig into the 3 major causes of leg muscle pain…
Leg Muscle Pain Cause #1: Sitting On Your Ass!
Without a doubt one of the most common problems causing leg muscle pain is not enough stretching of the hamstring area. The issue with this area is that for a lot of us we are sitting on our butts all day and this causes tightening of the hamstrings.
With tight hamstrings we get pulling of the tendons and connective tissue through our lower back and butt and often what happens is that we don’t realize this tightness until the pain from this pulling has become significant.
So what do we do to fix the problem?
Well the answer may seem obvious but most of us jump the gun and start training our legs even harder. This does not help at all and in fact may make the pain worse.
So what we need to do is focus on a good 10 minute flexibility training with our leg muscles at the end of each workout session where our legs are involved.
The best stretches for the hamstrings and glutes includes sitting on the ground and reaching for your toes. I like doing this one leg at a time for 2 sets of 20 seconds and then both legs at the same time for another 20 seconds.
One other solution to keep in mind is to make sure that you are not sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time. If you have to set a timer to remind you do it, otherwise you can do what I do and drink tons of water all the time so it forces you to take breaks filling up your glass and taking pee breaks.
Leg Muscle Pain Cause #2: Bad Running Shoes
Unfortunately you get what you pay for when it comes to running shoes. For the longest time I didn’t believe this and would buy running shoes based on how good they looked but I kept shin splints and leg cramps at night.
Finally I made the effort to go to a store focused on running shoes and asked for their advice. They pointed me to a pair of Nike Vomero’s and ever since then I don’t get shin splints even when I do intensive bouts of sprinting. I think this is something you have to try for yourself to believe. If you want to try the Vomero’s check out these links here for the best price I’ve found online and includes shipping both ways – Nike Pegasus for Women and Nike Pegasus for Men.
Leg Muscle Pain Cause #3: Your Running Stride
I read a study a while back done at University of Iowa State which talked about running stride lengths to see how it affects the impact of your lower body on the ground.
The study found that those with a shorter running stride had less impact which lowered their risk of bone damage compared to those with longer strides.
I have experimented with this theory both on myself and with clients who have had leg muscle pain and we’ve found that this theory does indeed prove to be true.
So how do you best go about shortening your running stride?
You may think that’s easy enough to just think about this and it will happen, but often what happens is that when we start to fatigue our body automatically goes to longer stride lengths in order to make it easier to keep up with the pace.
Instead try counting the number of steps you take in 10 seconds at your average speed. Then work on increase that number by 10 each week.
There is one added bonus with this strategy! You also get more calories burned since you now have to move your feet a little faster. Can we say accelerated fat loss?!
Leg Muscle Pain Supplements
When it comes to supplementation there isn’t too much that will really help outside of flexibility training and massage therapy, but if you often experience pain and especially if you are a woman then you may want to consider a high quality calcium/magensium/Vitamin D supplement such as Nature’s Science Calcium Citrate + Mag & D. This will ensure you have the right minerals and vitamins for strong bones and muscle function.
Leg Muscle Pain: Conclusion
I hope this article helps you with reducing your leg muscle pain right away. Your first step should always be to increase your flexibility training and making sure you don’t sit on your ass for long periods of time, but great running shoes and changing your stride will also help immensely.
If you have any other questions or feedback about leg muscle pain please leave a comment below and you will hear back from me very shortly!