Should I Work Out With Sore Muscles?
Working out with sore muscles is tricky!
If you ask anybody above the age of 40, they will tell you that you should train through the sore muscles in order for the soreness to go away!
And they are not wrong.
- Working out with sore muscles will probably make some of the soreness to go away. The blood sent to the muscle will speed up the recovery and torn muscle tissue.
But is that the best thing you can do for your body? I mean, working out with sore muscles sounds pretty intense!
Imagine taking a piece of sandpaper and rubbing it on your skin.
- It would hurt you, it would destroy your skin.
What will your body do?
As always, in order to survive, your body will try to repair the damaged tissue.
But this process will take some time.
- Probably a few days or even more.
If you let it heal, after some time it will be completely healed and now it would probably be even stronger. That is what scar tissue is!
But what would happen if you would take that piece of sandpaper and rub it on that damaged area only one day after you damaged it.
What do you think would happen then?
- Would your skin be able to repair it self and become healthy again?
No. Of course it would not.
It is the exact same principal with sore muscles.
When you hurt them (tear tissue with a workout), you need to let them repair themselves before you start destroying them again.
Should You Work Out With Sore Muscles?
If your goal is to make them stronger and bigger than you absolutely should not! There is always a reason your muscles are not getting bigger!
- Now, it’s not the worst thing ever to workout if you have sore muscles.
Especially if you just started training.
Your body will be shocked simply by the training itself, because you are doing something you weren’t doing before.
So your first muscle soreness could take even up to 10 days to completely disappear.
- And if you wait for 10 days to train that body part, you might experience another long period of soreness.
So you should wait to recover properly.
If it takes longer than a week and you feel almost completely healed, go for it!
- After some time your body will adapt and your recovery ability will get faster.
How To Prevent Myself From Getting Too Sore?
If you train with high intensity and you challenge yourself with every workout you do, you will be sore after every workout.
“Some of the most successful bodybuilders of all time such as Dorian Yates and Branch Warren claimed to be sore for up to 5 days after each workout.”
But they were known for having crazy intensity in their workouts.
It is scary to watch those guys train and how they handle their sore muscles.
- The thing is, they were hitting each muscle group only once a week.
For example, when Dorian did chest, he would do 4 exercises for chest every Monday.
He would be sore up until Friday.
If he did 2 exercises on Monday and 2 on Thursday, it would be the same volume only divided into two smaller workouts.
And that right there is one way to decrease muscle soreness.
- Dividing trained muscle groups into more separated workouts.
This means your frequency goes up but the volume goes down.
The intensity stays the same!
Every time you want to change something in your workouts you focus on altering one of the big 3:
VOLUME / INTENSITY / OR FREQUENCY!
Each of these should represent 33 % in your equation. If you take from one, you add to another.
- Also boosting other aspects of recovery can be beneficial in terms of less muscle soreness.
Making your diet as complete as possible and as rich in protein as your body requires.
Don’t underestimate the importance of micro nutrients as well.
- Drink plenty of water, especially during your workout.
Have at least 7 hours of good sleep and if you have the luxury, take a nap during the day, ideally after you train.
Is Being Sore After A Workout Good?
Being sore after a workout means that you actually broke down the muscle fibers and that trauma has occurred.
- Your body will have to recover and build more mass and strength in the process, so it is definitely a good sign.
Being overly sore probably means that you did more damage than your body can actually recover from.
The recovery takes some time. Everything else just gets broken down and it is lost.
- You can affect this not only by modifying your workout intensity, but as mentioned above, by adhering to your diet, hydration and rest.
If your sore muscles start taking a really long time to heal, it’s usually a sign that something is wrong with your recovery ability.
Don’t worry if that happens after you train legs.
Legs are usually take about 2 days to get really sore.
But if it happens with other muscles, be sure that something is wrong.
- In most cases, the reason is not meeting your protein requirements.
Test your body! Give it 10g of protein more and see how it responds.
The whole bodybuilding journey will be trial and error type of thing.
Don’t be scared to experiment.
- Take notes, log everything or at least the most important things, like your food and strength.
How Long Should I Be Sore After A Workout?
At the top intensity, your muscle soreness should last up to 5 days.
- If you train in the morning, you should start feeling a bit achy as the day is ending.
After you wake up the next morning, if you slept and ate well, you should feel the full force of it.
The next day should be equally as painful. In some cases even more painful.
The third day should be very painful, but less painful than the day before.
- On a fourth day you should be still a little bit sore but it shouldn’t be unpleasant.
The fifth day is supposed to be completely painless, but when you flex that certain muscle, you should feel a little bit of pain.
Kind of like a faded memory of what it used to be.
- On the sixth day, God created new gains!
By this time you should be completely healed. Stronger and bigger than ever!
Ready to smash next workout that is waiting for you tomorrow.
By the time you get to the gym, you should feel fresh and exited about your next workout!
If you are thinking “Oh man, legs again?” You probably didn’t recover properly.
- Take your time, enjoy your muscle soreness like a true masochist, and let the food and the rest repair your body.
The Difference Between Being Sore And Injured, How Do I Know?
If you are training in the gym, you are doing something very unnatural.
- You are grabbing bars loaded with heavy iron, or you are pulling cables attached to some more iron.
What the hell are you doing, really? Your body doesn’t like that.
Humans are created in that way so they are very efficient at being durable.
- We used to walk for miles in search of food, and we were okay with that.
But lifting heavy objects for short amount of time? That is not something we are meant to do.
We fall from a standing position and we brake our arms and legs.
Humans don’t seem very hard core any more? Just like any other species, we have our strengths and weaknesses.
By training with weights, it is normal to get injured.
You are crazy if you are thinking that you will never have in injury.
Injuries happen every day and they are part of this journey.
How severe they are will determine whether you need to go to the doctor, need a surgery or simply a few days off from the gym.
Sometimes not even that.
- Sometimes it’s good enough to avoid hitting that certain muscle directly, and in the motion that makes you feel uncomfortable.
If your muscles are aching a lot after a workout, don’t worry.
You probably just trained them a bit too hard.
When you have a serious injury like a muscle tear, you won’t be googling it, you would be certain.
- People who experience muscle tears(tearing a muscle from the bone or the joint), say that it is a very intense, shocking and sharp pain.
Afterwards you don’t feel too much of a pain.
If you felt a sharp and very unpleasant pain for a few seconds during your training, it is very likely that you have seriously injured yourself.
Don’t wait more than you have and go to the doctor as soon as you can. Sooner you go, less consequences you will have.
But if you just feel very achy after a long and hard workout, there is probably nothing to worry about.
- You probably just got overly sore.
By eating foods rich in micro and macro nutrients, by drinking enough fluids and getting enough rest, you will feel much better after a few days.
Just don’t test your luck but annihilating the muscle over again.
This is just advice, do whatever the hell you want!