So you’ve just smashed your body in the gym… in a good way that is.. and now you are walking around like you’ve just ridden Phar Lap, Winx and Mikaybe Diva back to back… YEP you are struggling to walk normally. SO is this normal? You always believed going to the gym was a GOOD thing? So what causes this soreness and what can be done?
Firstly this is a completely NORMAL and a COMMON side effect of training – For the purpose of this article I am going to assume you have not injured yourself. Any pain lasting longer than 3-4 days should be fully investigated by a professional – Be they Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Sports Medicine Practitioner.
This exercise related pain is often referred to as DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It usually becomes apparent about 24-48hrs after your work out and begins to subside a few days later. Without getting too scientific, using words like Z- Lines, Sacomeres, Phospholipase, Prostglandins.. lets just work on the theory that exercises causes micro trauma to muscle with a little bit of inflammation – essential if your muscle is going to grow and build in size and strength.
But just because you are super sore after a workout does not mean you are achieving anything. If you are unable to carry out your daily tasks, or can’t return to the gym for the rest of the week, you may need to alter your program.
Here are 4 things to avoid when you are experiencing those tight and sore muscles.:
AVOIDING MOVING! NOT A GOOD IDEA!
Yes it may be more comfortable to sit on the couch and watch Netflix as you hope the pain eases. But your body needs to MOVE. Gary Grey of the Grey Institute in the USA often says “Motion is lotion”. Light movement will seem tough at the start, but as you get moving the soreness should start to ease and feel better. Good blood flow to your sore muscles, lubrication of the joints, endorphins in your brain all the good things the gym promised is now delivering! Gentle light activity. A low intensity ride, walk or swim are all great idea’s
AVOIDING EXERCISE BECAUSE IT HURTS! DON’T DO THIS!
Constantly changing your gym routine because you want to try and avoid muscles soreness is not advisable. Your body needs time to adapt to the new movement patterns and load. Once this happens the soreness you feel will reduce as your body becomes a custom to your routine. Avoiding exercises due to soreness doesn’t allow this conditioning to occur. Give it a few weeks, I promise the extreme pain you felt after your first session will be a thing of the past.
AVOIDING POOR TECHNIQUE! ALWAYS
Now this is something that needs to be avoided with or without sore muscles. But have a look around the gym next time you are in. Im sure you will see some fairly terrible movements patterns and form. Using poor form, both increases the chances of getting sore in all the wrong places but also increases your chance of injury. And this will surely see you spending more time in the treatment room undertaking your Exercise and Rehabilitation program. Trying to match the weight of someone else may look impressive, but you are just putting yourself at risk. I would rather lift a light weight with perfect form 10 times than a very heavy weight with poor form once! Train to YOUR limits, not those around you.
AVOID – Plyometric Exercises when your Sore.
Engaging in a program that involves high intensity running jumping or sprints is great, But when your body can’t handle it, its a recipe for disaster. If you are struggling to walk after a leg session, why would you try and overload the body with exercise which require precision technique, timing and explosive muscle movement? You wouldn’t. Be smart about your training. If you are unexpectedly sore after a session, change your workout routine. They shouldn’t be set in stone. Listen to your body.
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