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Sore Muscles: 4 Tips for Recovery
The benefits of weight training are amazing and I think most of us know that. However, some beginners (or even intermediates) might be wondering if the sore muscles they have after weight training are normal and what they can do to ease them. Am I right?
First, yes it is absolutely and completely normal to feel muscle soreness after training, especially if it is a new activity or a recent load increase.
Generally, muscle soreness is most prevalent in beginning stages of a program, but sore muscles can be experienced by anyone – even advanced athletes.
DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
In exercise physiology, the gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24-48 hours after exercise is technically called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short.
This is not only extremely normal, but also common among those who lift weights regularly.
When performing strength training you are causing small microscopic tears to occur in the muscle. The muscles then rebuild those and that is how you improve strength.
This stress to the muscles that causes inflammation is what causes DOMS
Sore Muscles: Overtraining
Excessive recovery time prevents you from reaching your goals, that’s true. According to American Fitness Professionals and Associates, after 96 hours changes associated with muscle atrophy begin, and after a week of not training you can lose up to 10 percent of your strength.
But…without proper recovery time, training can be counterproductive.
Ever heard of too much of a good thing? Over and undertraining are both issues to prevent you from reaching your goals. If you undertrain you lose what you may have gained and if you overtrain…
Overtraining can lead to:
- weight and strength fluctuations
- declining endurance
- prolonged bouts of sickness
- reduced concentration.
If you feel you have reached a plateau and are no longer furthering your improvements, this plateau could be caused by overtraining.
REST is part of the plan!
For rest days, I encourage you to do some low-impact, restorative exercise, such as leisurely walking, yoga, stretching, or foam rolling.
The key is to go light so the body adequately recovers from the previous workout.
Sore Muscles: 4 Tips for Recovery
Recovery is part of what you need to get to your goal. Whether you are just starting, or you’re an advanced athlete, taking time to recover will maximize your strength and help prevent injury.
If you’re experiencing sore muscles, here are some tips for recovery:
- REST DAYS:Generally speaking, you should take 24-48 hours between weight sessions on a particular body part. If you are training full body 3x/week that means a Monday, Wednesday, Friday type of schedule etc. Or for a 4 day split with upper and lower Monday/Thursdays for upper and Tuesday/Fridays for lower. Get my drift? Good.
- FOAM ROLLING: Self myofascial release with a foam roller is a technique you can use daily that will help you work out those tight areas; providing better muscle elasticity and higher performance. Fascia assists your muscles in dealing with heavy workloads, stress and injuries, but it can become knotted and tight due to repetition and overuse.
- Keep moving and drink water: Although you are sore and moving around can be uncomfortable don’t sit around all day. Go for short walks to loosen things up and get the blood flowing. Also, drink your body weight in ounces of water each day to help flush out the toxins in your body and aide in recovery as well!
- BCAAs: Branched Chain Amino Acids are essential amino acids that aide in recovery. They are one of my must-have supplements along with protein powder for muscle recovery and working towards my goals. I just wrote a post earlier this week on the benefits of BCAAs and how they help your body and your training. You can find it here.
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