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Thread: Soreness the day after working out--good or bad? page

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    Cyborcat's Avatar
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    Soreness the day after working out--good or bad?

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    I realize this is probably a very n00bish question, but I've never been someone who really goes to the gym or anything, usually I just go for walks. But now that I've started working out, I'm wondering if I'm "doing it right".

    The reason I ask is because I did three of the PB Fitness exercises last night (wall-push-ups, hand-to-knee planks, and wall-squats). I stopped about halfway to the numbers recommended because I felt like my muscles were wearing out and it felt like too much of a struggle to get through it, and I didn't want to overdo it, since this was basically my first try.

    I expected to be sore today, but I'm not. Looking back, I'm wondering if I did enough. Should I maybe have taken a short break and tried to go back to it? Or is the fact that there's no soreness a good thing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyborcat View Post
    I realize this is probably a very n00bish question, but I've never been someone who really goes to the gym or anything, usually I just go for walks. But now that I've started working out, I'm wondering if I'm "doing it right".

    The reason I ask is because I did three of the PB Fitness exercises last night (wall-push-ups, hand-to-knee planks, and wall-squats). I stopped about halfway to the numbers recommended because I felt like my muscles were wearing out and it felt like too much of a struggle to get through it, and I didn't want to overdo it, since this was basically my first try.

    I expected to be sore today, but I'm not. Looking back, I'm wondering if I did enough. Should I maybe have taken a short break and tried to go back to it? Or is the fact that there's no soreness a good thing?
    Soreness is not a measure of progress. Progress is a measure of progress.

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    I wouldn't worry too much about it or over-analyze it. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is often more associated with weighted exercise, when you're lifting to actual failure, where you can't do anymore. You might experience similar soreness with endurance type exercises, but in my experience it's usually more of a general tiredness.

    The most important thing when you're starting is getting form right. It's completely fine and advisable to do less than you can at first so you're doing each exercise properly at first and getting into a good cadence, then scale up afterwards. Even in some intense protocols like Stronglifts a lot of people start by say just bench-pressing an empty bar, and only add five to ten pounds a week. You'll eventually get to a point where it's a challenge every workout, but absolutely do not rush there.

    You'll also get to a point where even when you're pushing yourself hard the soreness isn't very bad the next day.

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    Soreness is not strongly correlated with effectiveness. Getting sore just means you're not adapted or used to something. Even after pretty massive workouts I'm not usually sore unless I do something I don't often do.

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    Try doing a little bit more every time you do the reps and sets. Treat the prescribed number of sets and reps as your goal. Pushing past fatigue is not a good thing before you know yourself very well. Even then bad judgement is not uncommon and leads to over-reaching, chronic fatigue and injuries. It's like with flowers - most people kill their house plants by over-watering, rather than under-watering them.
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    Okay, I think I was over-analyzing. And good point about getting form right over pushing yourself--hell, I think even Mark said that at some point.

    Thanks for the responses, everybody ^.^
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    Soreness varies from person to person. Some people always get sore, some people never do. I think you did the right thing. When you are new to working out you need learn to listen to your body. Pushing is good, pushing too far can lead to injuries due to bad form.

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    Seriously, I should have emphasized the form point even more. You'll be amazed by the number of jacked weighlifters you'll see in any gym who have terrible form - lifting very quickly and mostly relying on momentum, doing pull-ups and craning their necks unnaturally, doing squats and rounding their backs, and then just dropping the weight at the last rep (when most science suggests most of the benefit is from the down phase). These people are just asking for an injury - there are definitely lots of even young guys who don't bench any more because they screwed up their shoulders by doing too much weight too quickly or by having poor form (going to fast, lowering the bar too far, not pausing at the bottom, etc. etc.).

    You may look back on this point in two years when you're super fit and be really happy you drilled correct form into your routines before they got hard. When the workout isn't tough yet is when you should be learning form, not when you find yourself working really hard to crank out more reps or more weight than the week before.

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    DOMS is normal, particularly after working out in a way you aren't used to. I laid off the resistance training for the past 6 months, and re-started on Monday and yesterday I could barely put my shirt on by myself. It gets better the more you do it. Frankly I kind of like DOMS because it means I really shocked my muscles.

    Drinking more fluids and soaking in an epsom salt bath can help. Some people also like recovery drinks with a certain protein to carbohydrate ratio but I don't use them.
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