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Is it better to exercise before or after red light therapy?

Are you wondering whether it’s more beneficial to engage in physical activity before or after your red light therapy session? As a red light therapy enthusiast and fitness buff myself, I’ve experimented with both sequences. And in this article, I’ll share my experiences, dive into the science, and provide tips to help you maximize results. So read on to learn whether it’s best to exercise before or after red light therapy!

Is it better to exercise before or after red light therapy?

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What Is Red Light Therapy?

First, let’s start with a quick overview of what exactly red light therapy entails. Red light therapy involves exposing your body to low-level wavelengths of red and near-infrared light. This is typically done through the use of specialized devices and panels equipped with LED bulbs that emit light at specific therapeutic wavelengths.

When absorbed by the skin, red and near-infrared light is thought to provide multiple benefits at a cellular level. It helps stimulate ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production, encourage blood flow, stimulate collagen and elastin production, reduce inflammation, and more.

What is Red Light Therapy?

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My personal experience with red light therapy before or after exercise

To test this out, I got my hands on a red light therapy device from reddot led called the redpro. It’s a full-body panel with near-infrared and red light wavelengths perfect for what I needed.

For the experiment, I used the light panel after one lower body workout and before the next. After a few weeks of this, I compared my experience and recovery with each method.

Here’s what I noticed:

Exercising Before Red Light Therapy

When I did red light therapy before leg day, I consistently felt a boost in my energy levels. My muscles felt looser and more fluid during my warmup sets. I was able to lift 5lbs heavier and bang out 2-3 extra reps on most exercises.

I finished each workout strong without hitting a wall. My legs felt more springy and responsive too.

The downside was that I still had some soreness in my quads and glutes 1-2 days later. The pre-exercise red light therapy helped me power through leg day but didn’t completely eliminate muscle fatigue afterward.

Exercising After Red Light Therapy

When I switched things up and used the red light therapy device after my workout, my recovery improved noticeably. My soreness after challenging leg days was much milder. I didn’t feel nearly as tight or stiff.

My muscles seemed to bounce back faster too. I looked more defined and vascular within a couple days as the repaired muscle fibers grew back stronger.

The only negative was that I didn’t get an extra performance boost during my actual workouts. But the post-exercise red light therapy still allowed me to recover faster and train legs more frequently.

Key Takeaways:

Exercising before red light therapy improved my strength, endurance, and power output during the actual workout. Exercising after use red light therapy enhanced my recovery by reducing soreness and muscle damage.

I performed better when doing red light therapy before exercise. But I bounced back quicker and felt less worn down when I did it after training.

Research proves benefits of red light therapy in exercise

It’s not just me who thinks red light therapy is good for exercise. Here are some key research findings that demonstrate the benefits of using red light therapy for exercise and sports performance:

  • Multiple studies have shown that using red light therapy after exercise can reduce muscle soreness and speed strength recovery. In one study, red light therapy before, during, and after strenuous exercise increased muscle resistance to fatigue compared to placebo.[1 2 3]
  • A meta-analysis shows that pre-exercise light therapy using red and infrared wavelengths improves muscle performance during exercise and accelerates muscle recovery after exercise.[4]
  • Research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrates that using low-intensity laser therapy, a form of red light therapy, before certain types of exercise can reduce markers of muscle damage.[5]
  • In 2016, researchers found that twins who received red light therapy experienced less muscle damage, soreness, inflammation and fatigue compared to a control group. A greater increase in muscle mass and the load the muscle can bear was also found.[6]

My Best Tips for Maximizing Red Light Therapy Benefits

If you’re looking to amplify your gains and bounce back faster from exercise, here are my top five tips for using red light therapy:

  1. Optimize Timing: Try to do red light therapy right before or after your workout if possible – this is the most effective window.
  2. Increase Frequency: Shoot for 4-5 sessions per week on non-consecutive days to speed up muscle repair.
  3. Prioritize Problem Areas: Target red light on sore spots, injuries, or muscles you want to develop.
  4. Adjust Intensity: Start with lower intensities and work your way up as your body adjusts.
  5. Be Patient: Give it 2-4 weeks for the cumulative benefits to take full effect.

Following an intensive leg day, I’ll turn my red light panel on my sore quads for 10 minutes right after I finish training. The boost in blood flow helps flush out lactic acid and deliver nutrients to aching muscles.

Is it Better to Exercise Before or After Red Light Therapy?

So is there an ideal time to do red light therapy? Or should you do both before and after exercise? The answer is that it can provide unique benefits at both workout timings. My advice is to experiment and see when it works best for your body. Many people find a combo approach works great – light therapy before training to enhance performance, and again after to accelerate recovery. Just remember that consistency is key to amplifying your results. Aim to make red light therapy a regular habit paired with your workout schedule.


Red light therapy is emerging as one of the most powerful modalities for enhancing athletic performance, accelerating workout recovery, and improving body composition. Armed with knowledge about the science behind red light therapy, its benefits, and the optimal timing for exercise, you are now equipped to make informed decisions about incorporating this cutting-edge technology into your fitness routine. So, why wait? Unleash the power of red light therapy and unlock your true potential today!



[1]Douris P., Southard V., Ferrigi R., Grauer J., Katz D., Nascimento C., Podbielski P. “Effect of Phototherapy on delayed onset muscle soreness”. Photomed Laser Surg. 2006 June.

[2]Wouber Hérickson de Brito Vieira, Raphael Machado Bezerra, Renata Alencar Saldanha Queiroz, et al. Use of Low-Level Laser Therapy (808 nm) to Muscle Fatigue Resistance: A Randomized Double-Blind Crossover Trial. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.Dec 2014.678- 685.

[3]Alessandro Moura Zagatto, Solange de Paula Ramos, Fábio Yuzo Nakamura, et al. Lasers in Medical Science 31:511–521 (2016). Effects of low-level laser therapy on performance, inflammatory markers, and muscle damage in young water polo athletes : a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

[4]Ernesto Cesar Pinto Leal-Junior, Adriane Aver Vanin, Eduardo Foschini Miranda, et al. Effect of phototherapy (low-level laser therapy and light-emitting diode therapy) on exercise performance and markers of exercise recovery: a systematic review with meta-analysis . Review Lasers Med Sci. 2015 Feb;30(2):925-39.

[5]Bruno Manfredini Baroni, Ernesto Cesar Pinto Leal Junior, Thiago De Marchi, et al. Low level laser therapy before eccentric exercise reduces muscle damage markers in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology 110:789–796 (2010).

[6]Cleber Ferraresi, Danilo Bertucci, Josiane Schiavinato, et al. Effects of Light-Emitting Diode Therapy on Muscle Hypertrophy, Gene Expression, Performance, Damage, and Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness: Case-control Study with a Pair of Identical Twins. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 Oct;95(10):746-57.

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