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The muscles of the chest -- the pectoral, serratus anterior, external and internal obliques, and the rectus abdominis -- are put under strain and pressure during a normal strength workout focusing on the chest. If you're a beginner, or if you've pushed your weight or repetition limit while working out, you could strain or pull a chest muscle and cause soreness. But there are natural ways to relieve these aches and pains.
A Day of Rest
Mixing cardio with strength training exercises provides rest periods for your muscles. Alternate the days you focus on strength training, aiming for three days of strength training and three days of cardio. Focusing on different muscle groups each day will reduce the risk of overuse and give you a well-rounded, sculpted body. Schedule the seventh day for rest. This day can include a light walk or activities that focus on flexibility, such as yoga, but should not include an intense workout.
Ice and Heat
Ice reduces inflammation, while heat draws blood to the surface and relaxes sore and stiff muscles, speeding up the healing process. Ice and heat therapy works best when used together to relieve sore muscles, especially those of the chest. MayoClinic.com advises that for the first few days, you use ice every four hours for 20 minutes, followed by heat. Commercial ice packs or frozen vegetables offer convenient and affordable ice therapy options. Heat therapy can come from commercial heating pads, hot water bottles, or hot baths and showers.
Massage Soreness Away
A study in "Science Translational Medicine" published Feb. 1, 2012, touts use of massage for post-workout soreness. The study, conducted by Buck Institute on Aging and McMaster University researcher Simon Melov, Ph.D., found that massage had an effect on the cellular level of the muscle. Melov says the process in which massage works to relieve sore muscles is the same process by which anti-inflammatory medications do so. Next time your muscles are sore, reach for the massage oil and rub your way to relief.
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt -- a compound consisting of magnesium and sulfate -- is used to relieve many health ailments, from poison ivy to sunburn and even common bug bites, but its more well-known use is as a soak for sore muscles. For a standard-size bathtub, add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath. Double this for larger bathtubs. The Epsom Salt Council suggests three baths a week, for a minimum of 12 minutes, to relieve soreness.