Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
In our endeavor to improve our physical fitness we have all had an experience with muscle soreness. It’s a reality of starting a fitness and weight loss program. This is sometimes your inevitable introduction to a program. Some people don’t feel as though they have accomplished anything unless they have hindered their ability to move the next day. We need to understand that soreness is a reality to strength training and should be a short lived side effect but should not be the goal. This is why after some time in a program you stop getting sore, it is also why you get sore when coming back from a layoff of training.
Let’s talk about what soreness (also referred to as DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is and what it means to our training. Soreness is in most cases a result of eccentric (negative, decelerating muscle contraction) work at a high level or high amount to which you have not adapted. It is not a result of concentric (positive, accelerating muscle contraction) work. Training to get stronger, increase muscle mass (therefore metabolism), or conditioning is predicated on:
Training= Stress – Recovery – Adaptation
That is the training process. Simple? It should be. If you are constantly sore then by definition you are not adapting. Adaptation to what we require of our bodies to do in our training program is what constitutes our progress.
Soreness is not associated with muscle growth, it should not be the objective
We have all seen or have known people who strive for soreness and wear it like a badge of honor.
“It’s a badge of stupidity. Chronic soreness isn’t a badge of honor. It is a sign of a lack of adaptation and poor programming.” – Mark Rippetoe
Your program should show measurable progress over time, that is what we look for not how sore we are after workouts. The workouts don’t get easier they should progress in difficulty as you adapt constant soreness is and indication that something is out of balance. Could be that you have over estimated where you should start in a program regarding volume regarding weight, reps, sets, recovery time(between sets, workout days), diet (what foods and how many calories), sleep and so on. All of these things should be in some harmony to accomplish adaptation. Random exercising at high intensities will burn some calories seems fun but all you may have to show for it is soreness. Training is a measurable linear progression that requires constancy and dedication.
I use to pick up odd jobs in the summer not becauseI would seek these odd jobs out, it was more of me being asked to help a friend and being a nice guy I usually agreed. I remember when I was 17 and was asked to help a friend fill in two large holes. We are talking holes the size of swimming pools requiring at least two 14 yard dump-trucks full of dirt. We filled these holes by hand with gloves, one wheel -borrow and two shovels.It was what I still remember as one of the toughest work weekends I had. I was so hellaciously sore spending all weekend shoveling dirt. However by the end I wasn’t better at shoveling dirt, just debilitatingly sore.
Here is my point: we can always find intense and random ways to make ourselves sore in the pursuit of fitness but it has no real measurable progress. Ever heard the old phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”? Training is progression and the path to mastery, soreness ,or lack there of, is an indication of our ability to adapt along our path to mastery. Think of it like this: the mistakes you make while learning a new skill is a part of the learning process but as you work to perfect that skill those mistakes should become less and less. It would be a mistake to see soreness as anything other than what it is, something to become less and less.
Something to think about;)