I just found FFG’s blog recently, and I’ve obsessively read the entire archive.
My question for you is about using your muscles to failure. I’m pretty new to resistance training, and I rarely experience muscle failure. Even still, even without the max-effort that brings muscle failure, I am sometimes so sore the day after a resistance workout that I have to switch up my training plans (this usually happens when I do squats/lunges one day and plan to run the next day but find my legs too sore). If I were really pushing my muscles to failure I think I might not be able to get out of bed! Am I missing a step in helping my muscles recover? Or are they just not strong enough yet? Or am I just being a wimp?
Thanks for your help, Failing at Failing
You are not a wimp. Your muscles do not need to be sore after every workout, but if they are don’t worry, for they will get stronger! Simply put, as your body begins to adapt to the stress of the exercises, the level of soreness will usually decrease and probably cease altogether.
You should be gauging your workouts by progression, i.e. striving to improve each workout in relation to the previous one.
You should be making each set in the gym count. This will mean performing your working sets with full effort. It is not important whether or not this effort gives you post-training soreness. The key is to knowingly push yourself and challenge yourself with the weights to overload and build muscle.
Also, you may be pushing yourself too hard too fast; you may need to take more rest between sets, lighten your loads, or take a rest day after three hard days of training. You grow and repair when you rest!
Consistency is the key: progressive overload, adaption, rest, recover, and do it again!
Here are some tips to increase recovery time and decrease muscle soreness:
Take branch chain amino acids pre-workout
Take Glutamine post workout
Eat well including high protein, healthy carbs, fibre, and good fats
Take hot and cold baths
Use the foam roller
Take a rest day girl!
I am sore all of the time … actually every day, but doing the above helps me keep going to get the body of my dreams. I love chasing the pump it is very addicting, but my body will not respond if I do not recover!
Thanks for the question, which will help others in the same situation as you.
Deanna Harder: Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer), and Figure Competitor.