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Hit the Gym Too Hard? Soothe Sore Muscles with These Products

A man holds a heating pad on his shoulder, a woman uses a TENS unit, a man uses a massage gun.
Mighty Bliss/NueMedics/TOLOCO

Working out is great, but sore muscles are not. From gadgets and rollers, to creams and sprays, these are the best products to soothe achy muscles so you can get back to the gym.

No matter how consistently you exercise, the day will come when you push yourself a little too hard. Caused by microscopic tears in the fibers, muscle soreness can range from mild to severe. Whenever you’re dealing with this, the products below can soothe sore muscles until your body recovers.

Warning: Muscle soreness usually subsides after a few days. If you experience sharp pains after working out, or the discomfort persists, be sure to consult your doctor. These could be signs of a more serious injury.

Massage Gun

A massage gun and attachments on a white background and a man uses the massage gun on his arm.

These devices might look a little intimidating, but they’ve gained a lot of popularity in recent years for their ability to effectively soothe sore muscles. This massage gun gives you a similar effect to a deep tissue massage with the convenience of a tool that can be used at home.

Massage guns work by providing rapid strikes of pressure (called percussions) to the body. That may sound painful, but this gun offers 20 different speed levels and multiple massage heads to choose from, so you can find the perfect comfort level for your body. Each use will improve circulation, relieve stiffness, and help you recover from soreness more quickly.

TOLOCO Massage Gun

An economical but powerful massage gun is a welcome addition to anyone's recovery kit.

Magnesium Spray

A bottle of magnesium oil.
Seven Minerals

Magnesium is an important nutrient with multiple functions in the body, including regulating muscle function. A magnesium spray is absorbed into the body and can help your muscles begin to relax within a short period of time through transdermal absorption.

This topical spray goes on smoothly and won’t leave behind a sticky residue or stinging sensation like some other products. It’s also made without harmful chemicals, toxins, or fragrances. Spray it on before bed to help you relax if your soreness is making it hard to fall asleep or anytime during the day when you need a pain-relieving boost.

Seven Minerals Pure Magnesium Spray

For deep muscle relaxation this quick-absorbing topical magnesium application is tough to beat.

Bath Soak

A bag of a muscle recovery bath soak and multiple bags sit in a gym in front of someone weightlifting.
Coach Soak

Nothing feels as good on sore muscles as a hot bath. Epsom salts (which contain magnesium compounds) are a popular add-in, but try this bath soak instead the next time you’re aching all over. It primarily uses magnesium flakes to get the benefits of this mineral into your body more quickly because it dissolves much faster than salt crystals.

This bath soak also contains coconut oil, lavender oil, Vitamin C crystals, and dead sea salts. It has hundreds of rave reviews on Amazon and many customers say it works better than Epsom salts alone. Choose from four different scents that can help you feel more relaxed or energized.

Coach Soak: Muscle Recovery Bath Soak

A hot bath combined with a bath salt soak is just the ticket to beating muscle soreness.


A TENS unit on a white background and a woman operates the device on her arm.

A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a mouthful, but this device can work wonders when it comes to sore muscles. It works by delivering small electrical impulses through adhesive pads attached to your skin on the area in question. The signals flood your nervous system and temporarily reduce its ability to transmit pain signals. It can also help your body naturally produce endorphins, which can promote pain relief.

Studies have shown TENS units to be a low-risk and effective way to treat pain from sore muscles. You should not use one of these if you have any sort of implanted device in your body. Talk to your doctor first if you have any major health conditions like cancer or epilepsy as well. Finally, make sure to read all the instructions thoroughly to ensure you’re using the device safely and getting the most benefits from it.

TENS Unit Machine

It's a little more complicated than rubbing on a cream but the results are worth it.

BCAA Powder

A black container of BCAA powder on a white background and the container on a black mat.
Optimum Nutrition

People in the health and fitness community have a lot of opinions about BCAA powder. Some say it’s completely useless, while others swear by it when recovering from workouts.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are comprised of three essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, and valine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and these three, in particular, help you build and maintain muscle.

BCAAs have gotten a bad rap lately because they have been shown to be virtually useless for building muscle as long as you are consuming an adequate amount of protein in your diet. However, if your focus is to decrease muscle soreness, there is positive evidence to suggest taking a BCAA supplement before and/or after exercise can reduce soreness.

Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAA Powder

Don't just supplement before a workout, supplement afterwards to get ahead of your aches.

Heating Pad

A blue heating pad on a white background and a man holds the heating pad over his shoulder.
Mighty Bliss

A heating pad can help relax sore muscles and provide quick pain relief. This plug-in model heats up quickly and contains multiple settings so you can get the temperature just right.

The extra-large size stretches 12 inches by 24 inches, making it perfect for draping across your back, shoulders, legs, or anywhere else on your body that could use some relief. You can even detach the cord and throw it into the washing machine for easy cleaning.

MIGHTY BLISS Large Electric Heating Pad

You can't spend all day in a hot bath, so use this heating pad the rest of the time.

Penetrex Cream

Two white jars of Penetrex cream.

This popular topical cream is widely loved for its ability to calm aching muscles and joints. It works by delivering a concoction of anti-inflammatory ingredients into the muscles to bring pain relief to the affected area.

Penetrex can be used on its own or in conjunction with other sore muscle treatments like heating pads and massagers. It has a devoted fan base who say it’s best for joint pain, but it can definitely help with muscle soreness as well.

Penetrex Joint & Muscle Therapy

Penetrex cream is a best seller for a reason. Great for your skin, great for dealing with aches and pains.

Massage Rollers

A purple and blue massage roller ball on a white background and sitting on a desk.

For relief anytime and anywhere you need it, grab one of these portable massage rollers. They’re handheld and as easy to use as you can ask for—just roll the ball over the sore muscle in question. They can be used solo or with the help of a partner to target areas you have a hard time reaching.

Reviewers say these are great for people who don’t have very strong hands and can’t work out knots manually. The rollerball is made of high-quality resin and stays nice and cool when left out. You can also place it in the fridge for about an hour for added relief. Keep one at the gym and one at home so you always have one handy.

Coolrunner Massage Ball

These will help you apply deep pressure without adding aching hands to your list of complaints.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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