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Shaky Legs After A Workout? 6 Causes Of Tremor After Exercise

6 min read
a man is working out, leaning on his legs, shaky legs after a workout
David J. Sautter post Reviewer David J. Sautter post Reviewer
Verified by David J. Sautter
NASM Personal Trainer, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist

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If you ever experience shaky legs after a workout, don’t worry – this is totally normal! In fact, trembling after a workout can be a sign that you’ve worked hard. 

Exercise isn’t meant to be a walk in the park… well, sometimes it is exactly that!

During most types of exercise, you’ll push your body and exert muscle power to complete the various movements required. This can lead to shaking after a workout as a response to the increased strain. 

Here’s what you need to know about this normal condition.

Why Is Your Body Shaking After A Workout? 6 Causes

There are many reasons why you may experience shaky hands or shaky legs after a workout. 

Muscle Fatigue

Intense exercise can lead to muscle fatigue and exhaustion, causing muscle fibers to contract and relax rapidly, resulting in shaking or trembling. [1]


Not drinking enough water before and during exercise can cause dehydration, affecting muscle function and coordination.

This can make you feel light-headed or cause muscle shaking after a workout. 

Dehydration can also prevent muscle gain and lead to muscle atrophy. [2]

Electrolyte Imbalance

Sweating during exercise leads to the loss of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium. 

An imbalance in these electrolytes can cause muscle cramps, weakness, and shaky legs after a workout. [3]

Pre-Workout Supplements

We get it, you want energy to hit some PRs! 

But when you take pre-workout, you’ve got to be aware that it can cause a tremor sensation after exercise. 

This is due to the high caffeine content of most pre-workouts.

Lactic Acid Buildup

When you push your body to the max, you’re going to accumulate lactic acid. [4] 

You’re probably already familiar with the burning feeling during high-intensity exercise – this is lactic acid! 

Afterward, it can cause you to experience shaky legs after a workout, particularly if you’re hitting leg day! [5]

Low Blood Sugar

When you don’t fuel your body prior to exercise, you may experience shaking after working out. 

This is because your blood sugar levels drop in response to exercise. This may be particularly true for people who have diabetes. A study found that due to insulin dysregulation and its effect on glucose, people with diabetes tend to experience more intense shaking after a workout. [6]

Is It Okay To Have Shaky Legs After a Workout?

You may have wondered: Is it normal to shake after a workout? 

Fortunately, the answer is yes! It’s a sign that you worked hard and your muscles are fatigued.

It may not be shaky legs you’re dealing with, but instead shaky hands after workouts. This might be because you did an upper body workout that required grip strength, for instance, pull-ups. 

For the same reason, you may feel like you can’t straighten your arm after a workout.

Is It Good If My Legs Shake After a Workout?

Oftentimes, people go from “Why am I shaking after a workout?” to “Is it good if my legs shake after a workout?” – the truth is: it’s not necessarily good nor bad. 

It depends on the situation at hand.

Dehydration, low blood sugar, or an electrolyte imbalance aren’t good. If you can pinpoint these reasons as the true cause, you should be able to overcome shaking after a workout. 

However, if the reason you’re shaking is due to training hard or consuming a pre-workout that helps you hit the weights harder than ever – shaky legs after exercise can be a good sign.

Ultimately, if you are focused on your shaky legs after workouts, it’s better to use a different metric to measure how effective your workout was. 

Instead, you could consider the duration of your workout, the reps or weights, or the distance – depending on the type of workout you do.

How Long Does Shaking After Workout Last?

An early study found that shaking after a workout can last up to 48 hours, depending on the intensity of the exercise. [7]

However, this may differ depending on the cause of your shaking. 

For instance, if dehydration is causing your tremor after exercise, it will only be treated once you have consumed enough water.

Here is What You Can Do for Shaking After Exercise

Curious of how to get rid of that shaking sensation after a tough workout? Here are several things you can do to stop shaking after exercise.

Cool Down

Leave 5 to 10 minutes for a cool down after your workout. This prevents blood from pooling in your muscles and reduces the likelihood of shaking after exercise. Try this 10-minute cool-down yoga routine to finish your workout.

Stay Hydrated

The current guidelines advise you to drink 7 to 10 ounces of water, every 10 to 20 minutes that you spend exercising. [8] 

After your workout, aim for 8 to 10 ounces to help your muscles recover. 

Focus on Nutrition

Consume a carbohydrate-rich pre-workout meal and a protein-rich and carbohydrate-rich meal post-workout with plenty of minerals. 

This might be a healthy Mediterranean oatmeal before a workout and chicken and rice post-workout. 

This will help to restore lost electrolytes and fuel your muscles to avoid shaky hands or legs after exercise.

Practice Progressive Overload

While shaking isn’t necessarily bad, it can be a sign that you’re pushing your body beyond what it’s currently capable of. 

Instead, implement a progressive overload approach to your workouts. 

This is rooted in exercise science and has been shown to be highly effective for building muscle and strength. [9] 

You do it by steadily increasing the weights or reps each workout as your strength builds. 

Rest is Best

If you are experiencing consistent, severe trembling after workouts, it’s time to take some rest. 

Your body may be run down and unable to maintain your current workout intensity. 

Rest is necessary – take a deload week; it will help your body recover, and your motivation to come back double. [10]

Bottom Line

So, is it normal to shake after a workout? Yes! 

But it’s important to pinpoint the cause of your shaky legs after exercise. If it’s due to an electrolyte balance, it’s not a good sign that is worth fixing. 

  • Make a note of when your exercise tremors occur.
  • Ensure proper hydration and nutrition around exercise.
  • Take time to warm up, cool down, and progressively overload your training.
  • Remember, if you’re concerned – consult a professional.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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