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Causes of Muscle Tightness After a Workout

Almost 650 to 800 muscles remain active when we move or workout. It is inevitable that you will experience some occasional issues with muscles. Muscles act in a different way when you have a lengthy and intensive workout. You may feel muscle tightness after a workout session. (1) This is a common occurrence among bodybuilders, weightlifters, athletes, and sportspersons. You must get a proper idea about the trigger points for muscle tightness. (2) In the course of this discussion, we will try to point out some reasons that can lead to muscle tightness.

Causes of Muscle Tightness After a Workout

Muscle tightness, also known as muscle stiffness is not a serious issue. However, it cannot be neglected either, especially when you are in any kind of sports. Let’s understand the causes of muscle tightness after a workout:

  1. Muscle Damage Due To Workout:

    While you work out for a long time, the muscles and the connective tissue around it gets damaged. This is essential for regeneration of a stronger muscle. Earlier it was thought that lactic acid accumulation causes muscle tightness. (3) however, recent researches have proven that the accumulation of lactic acid is rather necessary to actually initiate muscle regeneration.

  2. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) as a Cause of Muscle Tightness after Workout:

    DOMS is a condition when microscopic wear and tear occurs in muscles due to intense workout regimes. (4) As a result of this condition, you will experience extreme muscle tightness leading to muscle soreness. Having a tough workout session can lead to this condition at any time.

  3. Improper Techniques of Workout Can Cause Muscle Tightness:

    Muscle pain and soreness can happen anytime when you workout in an improper manner. Doing exercise in a faulty physical pose can lead to serious muscle tightness and pain. This can be avoided if you have proper guidance at the time of working out. (1, 2)

  4. New Exercise Pattern:

    Muscle tightness is also common for people who like to try different types of exercise patterns. Your body is already habituated to certain patterns. When you try some new postures, muscles experience stress leading to muscle tightness. (1, 5) The issue resolves automatically after a few days. If you are planning to undertake different exercise patterns on a random basis, it can lead to muscle pain and tightness.

  5. Increased Workout Time Can Cause Muscle Tightness After a Workout:

    Increasing the workout time all of a sudden can lead to muscle tightness. Hence try to avoid too quick enhancement of your exercising time. This can be stressful for the muscles. You must increase the workout time slowly, not all of a sudden. (6)

  6. No Rest in Between Sets:

    Your muscles become worn out and stretched as you perform your exercise sets. Ideally, you must take some rest between two sets of exercises. This not only helps to burn fat faster but at the same time relaxes the muscles. It prepares them for the next lapse. (7) In case you are planning to skip the rest in between sets, you must prepare for tighter and more worn-out muscles.

  7. Improper Diet:

    Lack of adequate and proper nutrition is another cause of muscle tightness. Muscles are made of small fibers. These fibers need adequate nutrients and water; otherwise, they get exhausted quickly. To avoid muscle tightness after workout sessions, you need strong muscles. This is possible when you feed the muscle fibers with sufficient vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. (8)


Tight muscles are a very common issue for people having strict and long workout sessions regularly. (1) Again, poor posture, over-exercise, or overuse of muscles can cause muscle tightness. There is nothing to get worried about the whole thing. Understanding the factors that can trigger off the condition can help you to manage the condition better.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 20, 2022

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