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Thread: Weightlifting, soreness and overtraining page

  1. #1
    Buffalo Chip's Avatar
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    Question Weightlifting, soreness and overtraining

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    In the past I have waited for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) to go away completely before repeating a workout. I used to do pretty serious leg/lower body workouts and this soreness would often last a week or longer. Back then I was starting with the "big lifts" (deadlifts or squats) and then going to isolation exercises like leg extensions, weighted good mornings, hamstring curls and so on.

    These workouts usually resulted in soreness for a week or longer, so I was rarely training my lower body. I figured lingering soreness meant I needed more rest and I didn't want to overtrain.

    After "falling off the wagon" for about 7 or 8 months (not lifting at all) I went primal and decided I wanted to put on another 5-10 pounds of muscle because I like being bigger. I'm currently 6', 183 lbs. For you metric people, that's 183 cm / 83 kg.

    I'm just started the Stronglifts 5x5 program to give it a shot.

    This is basically a 2-day split workout, and you alternate:

    Workout 1:
    Squats 5 sets of 5
    Bench Press 5 sets of 5
    Barbell Rows 5 sets of 5


    Workout 2:
    Squats 5x5
    Shoulder Press/Military Press with Barbell 5x5
    Deadlift 1 set of 5


    The stronglifts guide suggests this routine 3x/week with 48 hours of rest between workouts. I did Workout 1 for the first time and still had some residual soreness 5 days later, but I went back and did Workout 2 anyways. Now it's 2 days later, which is usually the worst as far as DOMS is concerned. Should I just push through it and work out today anyways?

    I am conflicted between not wanting to overtrain, and not wanting to slack off and lose my progress. In the past I assumed DOMS was my body telling me to take it easy. Maybe I am wrong.

    I will say I don't have anywhere near the level of soreness today as I did 2 days after my first 5x5 workout, so perhaps in the past I wasn't lifting often enough to make my body adapt to the exercise and recover quickly.

    I'd be curious to hear people's opinions on what, if any, connection there is between DOMS and over training.

    By the way, once I put on a bit more muscle, I plan to switch back over to primarily body weight workouts as found in the PB Fitness guide.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    primalrob's Avatar
    primalrob is offline Senior Member
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    i think you'll be fine sticking with a 3-day/week schedule. stronglifts starts you off with just the bar, and adds weight each workout, so you should be lifting pretty light for right now. but, that gives your muscles some time to adapt, and you will notice the soreness lasting shorter and shorter amounts of time as you progress.

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    Funkadelic Flash's Avatar
    Funkadelic Flash is offline Senior Member
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    Personally, I don't use DOMS to judge over-training. I've been lifting weights for about 6 years now and I find that I make the best gains when I judge by my work output. Meaning, that if I perform the same lift two training sessions in a row and have to reduce weight or reps for the second session, I went back too early. It takes a little bit of experimentation and listening to what your body is telling you, but it'll be worth it when you find a sweet spot.

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    What are you doing between lifting sessions? Lots of movement and water drinking helps to flush the lactic acid from your muscles. I make sure that I'm more active on non weight days (run in the morning and at least an hour long walk after supper). A week is a long time with DOMS. Are your jumps in weight levels maybe too much for you? I'd be seriously concerned with needing that much recovery time. Are you supplementing at all? Is your nutrition up to snuff (otherwise recover is harder). Oh, and stretching! Are you stretching?

    When I have pain for more than 2-3 days, I ensure that my next session I do not up weights at all. I look at it from the perspective that I've injured myself. So, I go slower during my sets, and I may even knock it down one plate or level and go to failure on my 3rd set.

    This is just what I do, and how I handle it. I'm curious to see what the gym rats and experts here have to say!
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    erica057's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalo Chip View Post
    I figured lingering soreness meant I needed more rest
    No, soreness isn't really an indicator of that.

    Via http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...after_exer.php :

    "So why do your muscles hurt after exercise? There are three major reasons. 1) a transient accumulation of acids produced by ATP hydrolysis that can cause some soreness during exercise. 2) Changes in ion concentrations in the muscle that can cause some fluid swelling, and also triggers active remodeling of the proteins for growth. And 3) you broke 'em. You can cause micro-tears and internal disruption of muscle proteins that can actually force your muscles to throw out and reconstruct whole fibers."

    Should I just push through it and work out today anyways?
    Yes. The only reason DOMS would get in the way is if it's keeping you from having proper form.

    Advil, ice, and yoga is my DOMS solution.

    I will say I don't have anywhere near the level of soreness today as I did 2 days after my first 5x5 workout, so perhaps in the past I wasn't lifting often enough to make my body adapt to the exercise and recover quickly.
    This is VERY likely.

    By the way, once I put on a bit more muscle, I plan to switch back over to primarily body weight workouts as found in the PB Fitness guide.
    When I did 5x5 I replaced the BB rows with inverted rows (3 sets to failure) and I added chin-ups on the workout "B" days. You can certainly also add in some push-ups and/or planks at the end of your workout.
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    I work legs pretty heavily 2x/week. If I waited for soreness to totally dissapate it wouldln't be this frequent and I think my progress would be lessened. I think a little soreness is fine for working out. It's gotten better as I've adapted to my current routine/specific exercises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Funkadelic Flash View Post
    Personally, I don't use DOMS to judge over-training.
    Agreed. I judge the need for a rest day not by DOMS, but by whether or not my muscles feel heavy/weak during daily stuff like climbing a few flights of stairs or doing farm chores.
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    Buffalo Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by primalrob View Post
    i think you'll be fine sticking with a 3-day/week schedule. stronglifts starts you off with just the bar, and adds weight each workout, so you should be lifting pretty light for right now. but, that gives your muscles some time to adapt, and you will notice the soreness lasting shorter and shorter amounts of time as you progress.
    I'm actually planning to do 2 days/week + a day of sprinting as described in PB material.

    I also didn't start with just the bar, since until I fell off the wagon, I had been lifting weights for years. I did drop a ton of weight off of what I used to lift though since I didn't know how I would respond to a 5x5 pattern, and because I had been off for so long.

    I started squatting and bench pressing @ 125# and BB rows at 135# (lowest I could go using 45# plates).

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkadelic Flash View Post
    Personally, I don't use DOMS to judge over-training. I've been lifting weights for about 6 years now and I find that I make the best gains when I judge by my work output. Meaning, that if I perform the same lift two training sessions in a row and have to reduce weight or reps for the second session, I went back too early. It takes a little bit of experimentation and listening to what your body is telling you, but it'll be worth it when you find a sweet spot.
    This is really good advice, and makes perfect sense. Sort of obvious, in fact, once you've put it that way!

    Also got some great feedback from others in this thread. Thanks everyone!

  9. #9
    tfarny's Avatar
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    If you train 3x week you don't get sore at all, you just get tired. Soreness is not a useful metric for anything. Do Starting Strength though - Stronglifts is just a better-hyped ripoff with unnecessary volume. Everything about SS is more grounded in an experienced coaches' mindset, even Rips advice on starting weights is much better than SL.

    I will say that lack of recovery indicates to some extent your need to eat more - when I've gone through periods of really eating a ton of food, really more than I want, that's when I've made the most muscle gains. It's actually just as hard as lifting, eating that much, can be very tiring.
    Last edited by tfarny; 04-01-2011 at 08:53 PM.

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