How to Speed Up Muscle Strain Recovery

Table of Contents

How to Speed Up Muscle Strain Recovery

Table of Contents

If you’ve landed on this article, you’ve likely strained a muscle and want to return to training as soon as possible. If you’re frustrated and want to speed up the process, we get it. 

However, although there are valid ways to shorten your recovery time, not taking enough time to recover completely can give you short and long-term problems.

In the short term, a pulled muscle will keep you from pushing as hard as you want to, as the sharp pains in your sore muscles will hamper training. But the effect of a strained muscle goes far beyond the gym. It can be a real nuisance when you try to do day-to-day activities at home or work.

In the long run, a strained muscle that never healed properly could cause permanent damage to your muscles and tendons, shortening your training lifespan.

So, what’s the deal with strained muscles? Why do they hurt so badly, and just how long does it take to recover from a strain? Let’s have a closer look.

What Is Meant By Muscle Strain?

A muscle strain is a slight stretch or tearing of a muscle or, more commonly, the fiber connecting the actual muscle to the bone.

While we always refer to it as a muscle strain, the truth is that these injuries commonly occur in the supporting fibers that work along with your muscles. And these injuries can occur on different levels.

We can classify these strains into different grades:

Grade 1 Strain

This is a very mild strain on your muscles or connecting fibers. Although your range of motion and strength won’t really be impacted, you’ll still feel a slight discomfort when exercising. 

Even with this ‘entry-level’ strain, you should take the time to recover properly before trying to exercise.

Grade 2 Strain

The second level strain will cause you much more discomfort than the first level. With this type of injury, your muscle isn’t necessarily severed, but it has sustained some serious damage due to overstretching or overuse.

A level two strain can take up to two or three months to recover fully and your range of motion will be severely impacted by this muscle injury. Needless to say, exercising the affected muscles is a no-no.

Grade 3 Strain

You will know if you’ve sustained a level three muscle strain.

With your muscle fiber or tendon completely torn, you might not be able to move your limb at all. Surgery is often required with this type of injury as the muscles must be reattached.

This type of injury will take a while to recover from and it’s best to speak directly with your surgeon for advice on recovery times.

Causes of Muscle Strain During Exercise

There are a few different scenarios that can lead to muscle strain.

For some, a muscle strain can stem from doing the same motion over and over again. The repetitive action of a workout routine will cause the muscles to contract and relax repeatedly. 

This can be good for building strength in specific muscles as it focuses energy on one area. But the flip side is that the muscle gets overworked, worn down, and strained when the motion is repeated too often.

Another reason would be due to poor form. Lifting a weight once off, using bad form, would be enough to strain a muscle.

For example. When doing a deadlift, you might make the mistake of positioning yourself too far from the bar. This would increase the pressure on your lower back and cause you to strain your lower back muscles.

So muscle strains occur for a variety of reasons, with both once-off and repetitive movements being the root cause. 

Muscle Groups Prone to Strain

Certain muscle groups are more likely to pick up strains than others. The main reason for this is that they’re used in high-intensity actions, like sprints, jumps and other movements normally associated with high-intensity sports.

Here are the top three most likely muscle groupings that can cause any amateur or professional athlete concern:


The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located at the back of the thigh (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus). 

They are responsible for bending the knee and extending the hip. Hamstring strains often occur because these muscles are heavily involved in activities that require rapid acceleration and deceleration, such as running and jumping. 

When they are stretched beyond their normal range of motion or overloaded, it can lead to strains. Additionally, hamstring strains are common in sports involving sprinting due to the high forces generated.


The gastrocnemius muscle, commonly known as the calf muscle, plays a crucial role in pointing the toes and flexing the ankle. 

It is particularly prone to strains because it crosses both the knee and ankle joints. The gastrocnemius muscle can be subjected to significant stress during activities like running or jumping. Sudden changes in direction or excessive force on the calf, such as during explosive movements, can lead to strains.

Adductor Longus Muscles

The adductor longus muscles are part of the inner thigh muscle group and are responsible for bringing the thigh toward the midline of the body. 

They are susceptible to strains, especially in sports that involve rapid changes in direction, like soccer or hockey. Strains in the adductor longus muscles can occur when there is a sudden, forceful contraction or when the muscle is stretched beyond its capacity, often during activities that require quick lateral movements.

Identifying Muscle Strains

There are a number of symptoms of an injured muscle, depending on the severity of the strain itself. These symptoms vary in seriousness and would have to be dealt with on an individual basis. But the most common signs to look out for are:


Bruising may occur if any of the blood vessels supplying blood flow to the muscle are ruptured or torn.

So expect a red or, in some cases, purple discoloration. This isn’t generally anything to be alarmed over, as the discoloration will go away after a short time as the muscle starts to heal. 

If you notice a lump in the area that has been injured, it could mean that a small amount of blood has pooled in one place under the skin and has formed a hematoma. Again, this should go away by itself in a matter of days or weeks, depending on the severity of the damage caused.

Sudden Pain

A telltale sign that you’ve done something to cause a muscle strain would be a jolt of pain in the affected area. Some people have even said it feels like an electrical shock running through your muscles. Perhaps a bit dramatic, but you get the point.

The pain felt will also be relative to the grade of your muscle strain, as we discussed earlier.

Reduced Range Of Motion

Another sign to look out for would be a reduced range of motion that comes along with muscle injuries.

We use our muscles more than one might think – to hold a pen, to drink a glass of water, even to tie our shoelaces. If you’re going about your day-to-day activities around the house, be aware of how your body is responding to these mundane tasks. If you feel discomfort – investigate!

Recovery Timeline 

Earlier, we spoke of those three grades of muscle strains. And each grade would come with a different recovery time.

A grade one strain might only take a week or two, depending on which muscle has been hurt. If it’s a muscle that you can isolate and avoid using too much, then the recovery time will obviously be much quicker – as little as a few days.

A grade two strain will take anywhere from two to three months to recover fully. These strains will probably annoy you more than anything else as they’re not sore enough to put you completely out of action but not subtle enough to be completely ignored. 

They’ll just slow you down over a month or two. With these strains, you need to take action to recover as quickly and naturally as possible. The recovery process doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Getting enough rest and using a sports supplement would likely help any athlete recover from a type two strain in no time. 

We’ll speak more about this process in just a bit.

A grade three strain is the most severe injury you can pick up and will take the longest to recover from. As surgery is needed, you can expect the recovery time to be anywhere from 3 to 6 months, and in the worst cases, even longer. 

Speeding Up Recovery

When we speak of aiding muscle strain recovery, we’re generally thinking about the grade 1 and 2 injuries. One of the best things an athlete can do is to supply their muscles or tendons with the needed supplements to recover quicker.

Aid Recovery With Carnosine

Carnosine is naturally found in the human body, including our muscles. It serves as a muscle buffer and reduces lactic acid buildup during exercise. [1] 

It is a dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. [2]  It also helps to rebuild muscle tissue as muscles are mainly made up of protein and use amino acids in a protein. 

It likewise shortens downtime, accelerates muscle recovery, and improves tendon, ligament, and joint health. 

Chemipower, in cooperation with the Tartu University of Pharmacy scientists and the large athletic community, has developed a dermatologically tested sports gel called Carnosport

The main ingredient is carnosine and when applied to the affected muscle pre and post-workout, it will help prevent muscle strain and aid in recovery.

Prevention of Muscle Strain

Regular strengthening and stretching exercises for your sport, work activity, or fitness, as part of the overall physical conditioning, minimize the risk of muscle strains.

If you have not worked out in a couple of months, and you want to restart your fitness routine again, don’t push your daily. Instead, give at least one rest day and vary the intensity of your training. Another way to prevent muscle strain is to adopt a full-body strength training routine to ensure your muscles are stronger and more resistant to pulls.

In this regard, CarnoSport gel works wonders, too. It helps prepare your muscles for the absolute onslaught that a strenuous exercise routine will bring.

Key Takeaways

Prioritize Comprehensive Recovery: Athletes need to prioritize thorough recovery following a muscle strain. Failing to do so can lead to short-term setbacks, such as discomfort and impaired training, as well as potentially irreversible long-term damage to muscles and tendons.

Understand Strain Grades: Muscle strains are categorized into distinct grades, spanning from mild (Grade 1) to severe (Grade 3). 

Each grade entails a unique recovery timeline and affects the range of motion differently. Grade 1 strains may resolve in as little as a week or two, while Grade 3 strains necessitate several months of recovery and may require surgical intervention.

Supplementation and Preventative Measures:  To accelerate recovery, consider supplementing with beneficial aids like CarnoSport, a sports gel rich in carnosine

Carnosine serves as a muscle buffer, reduces lactic acid buildup, and supports muscle tissue regeneration. Prioritizing muscle preparation through supplements and a well-rounded fitness routine can be instrumental in preventing strains.

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