To train or not to train?
Here are two myths regarding sore muscles from ICAN PT;
“Getting sore means you had a good and effective workout"
If this were true then anything that caused soreness and pain in your muscles would mean you stimulated muscle growth. I wish it was that simple... To be honest there is quiet a lot of debate as to what exactly causes sore muscles, let's go over what Ican PT's opinion is; we know there is some inflammation and some potential buildup of lactic acid but other than that we really aren’t too sure. Any exercise or routine outside your normal training can cause soreness. As a trainer at Ican PT I train my body with weights on a very regular basis and at an advanced level but if we were to go swim for a mile I can assure you I would be sore the next day. Does this mean that the swim stimulated more strength and muscle growth than my regular weight training workouts? No! Not at all. The only way to tell if a workout is effective is your progress, plain and simple. Are you progressing?? If the answer is yes then congratulations you are training effectively. If the answer is no then I am sorry to tell you that what you are doing is not working regardless of how sore you get. Ican PTs programs are all focused on getting better, whether that be fitter, lighter or stronger - progress is always the priority.
“Sore muscles should never be trained…doing so will overtrain them"
I'm sure everyone has heard this saying. It seems reasonable that training a sore muscle will result in more damage thus prolonging recovery. There is a small amount of truth in this but it mainly applies to training intensity. Low intensity exercise actually speeds up and facilitates recovery. The absolute most catabolic (muscle wasting) thing you can do in your life is not move. Lay in bed for a week without getting up and you will deteriorate at a rapid rate…muscles will shrink and your athletic performance will quickly drop off. If your muscles are sore do not become sedentary to try to speed up recovery. Instead do low intensity full range of motion exercises and stretches to the affected area and not only will you recover faster but you will also prioritize muscle adaptation…in other words your muscle will get stronger and bigger faster.
So what does soreness tell us then?? Ican's PTs view is that excessive soreness tells us that you over-applied intensity. Rarely does it mean you trained too frequently. It means you trained too damn hard. Excessive soreness is the “I can barely walk” kind of soreness. Too much intensity can also be dangerous can quickly run you into the ground. Anyone can put together back to back exercises and create a difficult workout - this is not what personal training is about! This is seen far too often in the fitness industry today! Ican PT's programs are all tailor made and planned in 16 week blocks to ensure we are constantly working within the parameters of what your body needs and what your goals are - ensuring that DOMs never gets in the way of your progress.