Understanding Post-Workout Muscle Soreness, Part 2

How can you better manage post-workout soreness if you are serious about bodybuilding?

If you made a commitment to take your bodybuilding journey to its rightful conclusion then you definitely need a game plan for post-workout muscle soreness.

Some bodybuilders don’t mind the pain; if this fits your attitude about it then congratulations, you’ve overcome a major obstacle to progress.

However, if the opposite is true and the pain actually prevents you from lifting heavier weights or engaging in more strenuous movements then read on.

Managing Muscle Soreness

  1. Progressively Overload Your Muscles – If you’re thinking that we’re going to tell you to avoid pain, you’re mistaken.

Muscle pain is the twin brother of progress in bodybuilding. If you are no longer feeling sore at all after your workouts then your body has already adapted to your exercises.

As a rule of thumb, no weightlifting routine should be performed continuously for more than 1 ½ months. 1 ½ months is the maximal period for a particular series of movements.

After this period, change the movements or increase the total load your muscles are carrying so you can benefit from progressive overload.

Progressive overload is the act of continuously increasing the weight your muscles have to strain against during a workout.

For example, if you are currently benching 75 pounds, increase the weight to 90 pounds or 100 pounds if your chest muscles are no longer responding to 75 pounds.

Plateaus usually occur after a month or two. If you have become strong enough to bench 75 pounds with little difficulty, increase the load or risk a plateau.

How can you “shock” the body so you won’t suffer from a progress plateau?

Here are some easy ways to accomplish this:

  1. Increase reps, decrease sets
  2. Decrease reps, increase sets
  3. Increase weight or resistance
  4. Add new exercises
  5. Replace old exercises
  6. Increase the intensity of your cardio
  7. Increase the intensity of your weight training

By slowly and consistently increasing the resistance in your workouts or by tweaking other factors as stated above, you will be able to minimize the post-workout soreness while maximizing your mass gains. It’s important that you do not hamper your own progress in bodybuilding just because you’re afraid of pain.

As a bodybuilder, your musculoskeletal system is now conditioned to take on more physical stress than before. Don’t shy away from pain – manage it like the pros do!

  1. Listen to Your Body – You are the authority when it comes to determining whether you should work out or not while your muscles are still sore. If the pain is overwhelming and you can’t even move the affected area without wincing in pain then you may require a day or two of recovery.

However, if your muscles feel strong and only a little painful then it’s possible that your body is ready for more punishment. Again, bodybuilding changes your body and toughens it!

  1. Stretch Those Muscle Tissues – We know that lifting weights already feels like stretching because the muscles are in constant movement. However, you still need to perform stretching exercises if you want to reduce post-workout soreness.

Pre-workout and post-workout stretching sessions can improve the overall condition of your muscles by:

  1. Increasing blood flow or circulation to target muscle groups.
  2. Improving nutrient utilization in areas where micro-damage has occurred.
  3. Improving byproduct/waste transport from areas that receive the most strain or load during exercise.

Remember that muscle soreness is often attributed to the accumulation of lactic acid in our muscles. Lactic acid is considered a byproduct of natural biochemical processes that take place in the muscle cells themselves.

As long as there is a high amount of lactic acid in your muscles, you will feel sore. The body can remove the lactic acid naturally but it would be up to you to quicken the pace of the removal process.

  1. Turn to Quick Cardio Sessions for Comfort – Surprisingly, cardio sessions appear to have the same beneficial effects as stretching. A five to ten minute sprint on the treadmill can improve your overall muscle condition 24-48 hours after the actual workout. Try performing cardio at the beginning of your workout and right after the heaviest movements.
  1. Deep Tissue Massage Therapy – Deep tissue massage has long been a classical favorite of bodybuilders across the world. Touch therapy feels good but not only that – the body also benefits from improved circulation and better waste management. So if you have time to head over to a P.T. or massage clinic, why not indulge yourself after a heavy week?
Print Friendly, PDF & Email