While it's common to have muscle twitches after a strenuous or new workout, it's important to beware of the symptoms that are normal versus what could require a visit to the doctor. Adequate hydration, taking vitamins and precautions in your weightlifting routine can prevent muscle twitching and make your workout as effective as possible.
What Causes Muscles to Twitch?
Intense exercise from weightlifting or cardio can cause tiny muscle contractions, or a muscle twitch. These contractions are partially due to disruptions in the calcium flow around muscles; calcium flow controls muscle contractions during everyday activity, and when muscles are tired it can leak into the bulk of the muscle. This is a gradual process, which explains why a twitch can come hours after a workout when you are sedentary.
When is Muscle Twitching Serious?
Muscle twitches that are not painful and short-term weakness paired with recent strenuous exercise are perfectly normal and a sign that your body is reacting properly to the strain. The twitches may also be visible on the skin. If they are severely painful or combined with fever or extreme muscle weakness -- the kind leaving you unable to lift your toothbrush -- you should consult your doctor.
Before You Work Out
You can lower the possibility of muscle twitches and other types of post-workout symptoms by staying hydrated and avoiding caffeine prior to and just after exercise. Also, warming up your muscles with some light stretching will prepare your body for the coming stress. Leg presses and intense triceps exercises like pullups are common triggers. A daily multivitamin or a diet that is rich in calcium, vitamin B6 and B12 can also help.
After You Work Out
If you're experiencing twitching muscles already, then apply some light pressure to the area or a hot cloth to soothe the muscle. Light massage pressing into the bulk of the muscle can often help. To be on the safe side, wait 48 hours before working that muscle group again. If twitching is concentrated in your calves, then work on your arms and chest to give your legs a break.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.