Should You Work A Sore Muscle?

Should You Work A Sore Muscle?

This week I decided it was time to get some serious training into my own program. I woke up the Tuesday sore as @#$%.

Quite sore, then – Oh yes!

So naturally, I worked out – But not Bootcamp – I joined in with a complete Yoga class…….. Huh? Surely not, I hear you say?       You’re meant to rest for 48hrs or until the soreness eases off….. I don’t agree with this idea – anymore.

Most of us have only specific days and times free to train, time is so precious. Fortunately, I don’t adhere to that silliness anymore, and as a result, I’m able to offer great body transformation results in just a few weeks.

You see, it’s not uncommon for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) to last four or even five days after the completion of an intense training session; however, many studies have concluded that complete metabolic recovery (what you care about) occurs within 48 hours of exercise. In other words, you ARE recovered, yet there is still some residual soreness. Plain and simple, if metabolic recovery has taken place, a muscle can be worked again via the same training method, even if the muscle is still sore from a previous session.

Having said that, plenty of studies have shown that training a muscle while it is still recovering does NOT adversely affect recovery.

Here are just a few: Nosaka K, Clarkson P.M. Muscle damage following repeated bouts of high force eccentric exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exrc., 27(9):1263-1269,1995. Smith LL., Fuylmer MG., Holbert D., McCammon MR., Houmard JA., Frazer DD., Nsien E., Isreal RG.

The impact of repeated bout of eccentric exercise on muscular strength, muscle soreness and creatine kinase. Br J Sp Med 28(4):267-271, 1994. Chen, TC and S.S. Hsieh.

The effects of a seven-day repeated eccentric training on recovery from muscle damage. Med. Sci. Sports Exrc. 31(5 Supp) pp. S71, 1999. Nosaka K and M Newton.

Repeated eccentric exercise bouts do not exacerbate muscle damage and repair. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Feb;16(1):117-22.

Conclusion: even if complete metabolic recovery has not yet occurred, the muscle can be trained again.

Now, technically, you could do the same exact workout again, but frankly, there are better ways to approach working a muscle for a second time within 48 hours of a previous session: and I’m sure you know my view on repeating workouts – WE DON’T DO THAT!

Option #1 – Conduct an “active recovery” session. With this approach you’d conduct a light, less taxing training session after a heavy, demanding session in order to facilitate recovery, decrease DOMS, and actually maximize strength gains. Simply put, as long as you continue to stimulate the nervous system, even if your body is not totally recovered (metabolically speaking), you’re going to see much better overall results. An example of this “continued stimulation” would be to do half the number of reps that you normally could do with a given weight, or perhaps train for half the normal time.

To illustrate, let’s say you did a killer workout on Monday. Like Ladders!! LOL. And let’s say you used resistance ( Bands and Med Balls) about 30 minutes of maximal effort. The active recovery method would suggest that on Tuesday, you’d only do 15 minutes with the same intensity. This type of workout both stimulates the nervous system and increases the flow of nutrient rich blood to the recovering muscles, leading to increased strength and recovery.

Option #2 – Change the stimulus and go all out again. If a muscle is still recovering, it wouldn’t be profitable to train it again via the same training method prior to recovery taking place. Yes, the above studies show that doing so will not substantially, adversely affect metabolic recovery, but at the same time, you won’t benefit either.

So what to do? Answer: use a different approach. Stimulate different muscle fibers and in turn yield a different overall physiological response. For example, if your workout was Ladders on Monday you’d want 20:10 Fast and Furious on Wednesday, and you would want 40:20 Metabolic Madness on Friday, and then perhaps Pilates Fitcamp on Saturday all with a variety of intervals and resistance loads.

I mix up the workouts for you and gradually increase the load over each 5 week cycle. You choose the weight/resistance, how many days you train and MOST importantly – what you do on rest days. Just remember this programme isn’t about coasting through or pacing so you finish every interval.. I like to see you challenge yourself and fail sometimes….. Really Go For It!! Every Rep Every Round…

Option #3 – Go for a Brisk Walk. Follow the rest day exercises as part of this system, put your outdoor trainers on, get outside and walk (briskly) for at least 15 minutes on rest days. As you get fitter walk faster – so it will always fit into your lunch break!!

I’m NOT suggesting you get into steady state Cardio Training – we all know that doesn’t give measurable Fat Loss results

Option #4 Try a Yoga or Pilates Session. New campers benefit from a good deep stretch every week, so Yoga with me or at home. Pilates will accelerate your Core Strength progress and allow you to work harder in your other workouts.

Lastly, a quote from a great coach on the subject: “Your body will only increase recovery if you force it to work more frequently. Initially, you may still have residual soreness from the previous workout, but don’t worry. Instead, work through it and your body will improve its recovery rate to the point where soreness will subside.” We all want to increase recovery capacity, gain more muscle, increase strength, and lose more fat? So, forget about “sitting on the bench” because of a little soreness. If you’re a new camper – a LOT of soreness!!! Instead, get yourself back in the studio quickly with one of the above two methods. In return, you can expect a lot more progress with a lot less soreness.

So what about you?

Do you ever train a sore muscle?

Do you judge the effectiveness of your workouts by how sore you feel the next day?

I know I feel great when I can’t sit without yelping! Maybe that’s just me?

Let Me Know…… Jax Allen    080212 ©

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