Sore armpits after a chest workout are typically caused by sore serratus anterior muscles. The Serratus anterior is a muscle that runs along your side, starting under the armpit. It is recruited during chest exercises, which is why it is commonly sore after a chest workout. Rest, hydration, a high protein diet, and hot or cold showers can all help to relieve this soreness.
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Is it Normal to Have Sore Armpits After a Chest Workout?
There is no cause for alarm if you experience soreness in your armpits or below your armpits after you’ve worked out your chest. This soreness is common for both beginners and experienced weightlifters. However, it is more likely for you to experience intense soreness if you are performing new exercises, worked out at a higher-than-normal intensity, or if you worked out your chest after an extended break from exercising.
What Chest Muscle Runs Under Your Armpit?
The serratus anterior is the chest muscle that runs under your armpit. This muscle attaches under your shoulder blade. Then, it runs down your side, where it attaches to your ribs. Because it is a small muscle without much mass, it is extremely common for your serratus anterior to be sore after a chest workout. In fact, many weightlifters are not aware of the role the serratus anterior plays in several essential exercises.
What Does the Serratus Anterior Muscle Do?
Your serratus anterior muscles are partially responsible for pushing your arms forward in a “punching” motion. This motion is utilized in many chest exercises, including bench press and push-ups. While the serratus anterior is not responsible for nearly as much work as the pectorals during this motion, “push” style chest exercises will engage your serratus anterior. This leads to soreness in and below your armpits.
How Do You Get Rid of Sore Armpits?
One of the best ways to recover from armpit soreness is to follow up your workout by drinking plenty of water. Adequate hydration helps to relieve muscle soreness, while studies show dehydration increases feelings of soreness. Second, eat a healthy, high-protein meal after your chest workout. Your body needs protein in order to repair your muscles. Third, both hot and cold showers help to relieve feelings of muscle soreness. Try both types of showers to see what works best for you.
- Follow a high-protein diet.
- Take a hot or cold shower.
- Take a low dose of an NSAID, such as ibuprofen.
- Allow 48 hours before your next chest workout.
Finally, allow yourself time to rest if your armpits are sore after a chest workout. Wait at least 48 hours before doing another chest workout. In the meantime, you can work out other muscles or take a rest day from the gym. Soreness will decrease as your muscles repair following the workout.
Why Do Your Armpits Hurt After Working Out Your Chest?
If your armpits feel tender or sore after a chest workout, here are the main things to know:
- It is normal to experience soreness in your armpits after a chest workout.
- Armpit soreness after a chest workout is typically caused by sore serratus anterior muscles.
- The serratus anterior muscle runs from your armpit down the side of your ribs.
- Your serratus anterior is recruited to assist in pushing motions, which are common parts of chest workouts.
- Hydrate, rest your chest muscles, and eat high-protein meals to help relieve armpit soreness.
You may not expect to have sore muscles near your armpits after a chest workout, but it is a common occurrence. As you continue to work out and build strength in your pectoralis major and serratus anterior muscles, this soreness will be less severe.