Is muscle soreness necessary for improvements?

Is muscle soreness really a good thing? Alica HEVEROVA will explain. 

Let’s be honest, lot of us are addicted to gym. You say you are not? What are you doing during your off day? I bet you think about your training. Did i get it right? If not, sorry, but majority of people going to the gym are addicted to it and can’t imagine their life without it. You’ve got some training plan. You’re eager to stick to it.
But what if SORENESS disturb your plans? Should you uncompromisingly get over it , suck it up, go through the pain and train like a lunatic? Or should you leave your muscles to get some rest?

„My muscles are so sore, i can barely walk, i had the best workout so far yesterday!!“

You’ve ever heard something like that? Or even you’ve told it by yourself? For some individuals, sore muscles are a reward after a hard workout. In fact, some people aren't happy unless they're sore after their workout. That’s it.
The more sore you get from a workout, the better it is, right? WRONG! Soreness from a workout is NOT always a sign of a good workout. It’s actualy proven than those who mostly don’t suffer from muscle soreness experience significent muscle growth, strength, muscle endurance, stamina, etc.

What is DOMS? 

Maybe the explanation of what soreness really is may help in the first place. Muscle soreness is also known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. It typically takes 24 – 48 hours after training. A slight soreness is okay and beneficial for your body.
But what about soreness that takes more than 5 days? You feel like you had hell of training right. That you killed those glutes the other day and that your butt is going to grow by 2 centimiters, right? I have to let you down mate. Any significant muscle soreness lasting longer than 4 days could be a sign of huge muscle damage which is not beneficial at all. DOMS occurs when the muscle is performing an eccentric or a lengthening contraction. Examples of this would be running downhill or the lengthening portion of a bicep curl.

What causes musle soreness?

The old famous belief is that lactic acid is the main cause of muscle soreness. Well, sure it plays a role in it but it's not the only culprit of DOMS. In fact, lactic acid is removed from muscle a few hours after the workout so it doesn't explain the soreness experienced days after it. So what should we blame for it?
Tiny microscopic tears in the muscle tissue result in inflammation which is the main cause of soreness. Not only that an excessive soreness is not equal to an excellent workout, it could actually delay you from reaching your goals. It’s not beneficial for you if you are so sore that you can’t exercise for 3 days and you can barely walk or sit on your ass.

But what to do if I already have DOMS?

Let’s start with a nutrition. If you suffer from regular DOMS try to add some simple sugars (fruit) and a protein powder around your workout. Increase a magnesium intake and from supplements go for L-glutamine. What else? Simply MOVE! I don’t mean by that that you should go to the gym and smash that legday even if you can barely walk, just because you have your training plan and you need to stick to it. By moving I mean:

  •  Take a walk. A really long walk. It will loosen your sore muscles.
  •  Do a light warm-up • perform complex movements with bodyweight!! that incorporate multiple muscle groups, such as squats, lunges, push-ups... everything in a slow motion
  •  if you prefer cardio – try a jog, cycling or choose elliptical
  •  try low-intensity activities like Yoga or Pilates
  •  do some stretching which can increase blood flow and aid in the recovery process
  •  play some sports – football, basketball, tennis...


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