Here’s a fitness myth that needs to be corrected: Feeling sore after a workout is normal. Let us tell you, it is not. Some soreness can be expected from a tough workout, however it is not normal to feel so sore that you cannot walk properly. When you push your body to do a difficult workout, you cause small tears in the muscles. This is normal. However, too much of a normal can become a bad thing. In the following article we will explain why you feel so sore after your workout and how you can decrease the chances of you feeling that in the future.
Remember: muscle soreness does not equal good workout
Why Do You Feel So Sore After Your Workout?
As we mentioned before, some soreness after a workout can be normal. When you do resistance training, you cause micro-tears in the muscles. In a normal case, the body begins to repair these micro-tears shortly after your workout is finished. This repair job is what makes you stronger for the next workout. By laying down new material, the body is adapting and making itself stronger so that it experiences fewer muscle tears the next time.
In order to rebuild the muscles, the body needs you to provide it with additional tools and materials. This is why recovery is so important and why you will always hear your trainer emphasizing the importance of proper recovery. (We’ll get into that in the next section.)
The reason you feel exceptionally sore after a workout is due to delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS). DOMS is brought on by overtraining or doing unfamiliar exercises and under-delivering on those precious recovery materials.
The micro-tears are so extensive that the body simply does not have the resources to rebuild the muscles. So what do you end up with? Lots of inflammation and an inability to use those muscles and the surrounding joints properly.
DOMS typically reaches its peak around 48-72hrs. So if you had planned another workout 2 or 3 days later, chances are you’re not going to make it – and you shouldn’t. If you do not let your muscles properly heal, you could end up with lasting damage to the muscles and compensation patterns, which will affect your muscle balance across the body. So how can you prevent it?
How To Prevent DOMS
If the cause of DOMS is overtraining and poor recovery then the best way to prevent it is to be more intentional about how you’re training. This is not just something that people like you deal with either. Athletes also experience DOMS after returning from the off-season. However, their coaches are there to make sure they manage the intensity of those first few workouts.
1.Ease yourself back into training
With that in mind, the first strategy to decrease the risk of DOMS is to ease back into your training. If you haven’t done resistance training during the lockdowns, then we recommend starting with bodyweight movements and only a few sets of each exercise. Be sure to spread out your workouts so you have time to recover and try an upper and lower-body split if you plan on working out 2 or more times per week.
2.Get Serious About Your Recovery
We have mentioned a few times now that if your body does not have enough of the tools and materials to rebuild the muscles, then the soreness will be worse. Recovery is an integrated set of activities. You’ll need to make sure you’re eating enough protein, drinking enough water, doing light stretching and incorporating active rest into your rest days, and (of course), getting proper rest. If you can master these, your body will thank you by keeping the soreness to a manageable level.
3.Get a professional to help you with your training & recovery plan
The best way to ensure you are not overdoing it is to be like the athletes and get yourself a coach. A good personal trainer will know that someone who is new to training or who hasn’t trained in a while will experience some soreness after a light bout of resistance training.
With this in mind, they’ll plan the workout accordingly and provide you with a number of recovery strategies that will suit you and your lifestyle.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a common injury that occurs after doing unfamiliar or overly intense exercise. This leads to intense pain in the trained muscles and typically reaches its peak soreness around 48 – 72hrs after training. The best way to prevent or decrease DOMS is to manage your training intensity and focus on appropriate recovery strategies. If you are unsure about the level of intensity you should be training at or how to properly recover, hiring a personal trainer is your best option to learn quickly and avoid a painful trial and error period.
For custom advice and a training program designed to suit your individual needs, book a free consultation with one of our expert personal trainers.