It’s one of the most frustrating parts of exercising. You keep pushing your body, making that elusive progress, only to hit a brick wall because of muscle soreness.
It’s a problem that most certainly affects some of us more than others but once you do fall into the category, even getting out of bed can be a chore in itself.
Fortunately, there are suggestions that you can take on board in a bid to stop succumbing to the effects of muscle soreness. Sure, it might still happen, and the fact that elite athletes still suffer from it means that nobody is ever going to be immune from the effects. However, there are various mistakes that are ever-so-common, and through the course of this guide we will take a look at the biggest three to hopefully ensure that muscle soreness is no longer dominating your post-training days.
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Mistake #1 – You pick and choose your exercises, by day
Let’s start with a mistake that is most commonly seen in January. In other words, it’s a bit of a newbie mistake, which tends to be made by those guys who have made their New Year’s resolutions and are hitting the gym with a “bang”.
If you are the type of guy who arrives at the gym and picks and chooses different exercises every day, this is the reason your muscles are sore. Sure, we’re all for adaptation, the process of changing your routine to promote further muscle growth, but there are times when this adaptation can be just too much. Changing your exercises every day falls into this category.
This might be a strange concept to get your head around. After all, if your muscles are sore from completing an exercise, how are you going to complete it again? Well, try as you might, you simply have to, even if it means having a little time off (whether it’s a day or two). Your body needs a bit of time to get used to exercise movements, and once it has done this you will kiss goodbye to any soreness you may have once experienced.
Some of you might struggle with this mistake, as there’s most certainly a fine line that needs to be met. You need to be providing different stimuli to your muscles, but not on such a regular basis that you are left with sore muscles after each and every session you complete at the gym.
Mistake #2 – You cheat when it comes to your form
If you have performed any sort of research on working out, you have most probably come across the importance of form. The general advice is that if you’re not lifting correctly, you’re doing no good whatsoever to your muscles. In fact, you’re probably just increasing the chance of injury. The best advice is to lift less, but do it with perfect form, in a bid to make those elusive gains.
Despite form always being in the instruction manuals, you can walk into any gym in the world and see guy after guy performing exercise after exercise completely wrong. Most of the time these mistakes will come in the form of swinging the weight, rather than lifting, while another common problem is placing too much pressure on your back. In short, it doesn’t look good, and it most certainly doesn’t do any good either.
As well as all of the above, bad form can also cause plenty of muscle soreness. This also has a knock-on effect when it comes to your future routines. If you find yourself exercising muscles which are susceptible to aches, there’s a very good chance you are going to “cheat” and place the resistance on those muscles which aren’t sore. This simply exaggerates the problem, and leaves you even further behind in the process.
Remember, gyms are full of mirrors for a reason. Sure, some guys like to pose in them, but on the whole they are there to aid your form. Use them wisely, and keep checking to make sure that your body is in the right position for an exercise, and you are tapping into the right muscles when you follow through with the movement.
Mistake #3 – As soon as soreness arrives, your activity drops
Like the other mistakes we have spoken about, this next one can almost be understood. After all, if you are suffering from muscle soreness, the last thing you want to do is use the affected muscles, right?
Well, as much as it might hurt, it’s time to battle through the pain barrier and at least try and exercise the joints in question. There’s a common saying in the fitness industry and it goes by the name of “motion is lotion”. It means that without this motion, your aches and pains are just going to be amplified.
So, where specifically should you be moving? Well, the best advice is to focus on the joints which are situated both above and below the muscle itself. For example, in the case of your quadriceps, you should be looking to keep both your knees and hips completely active.
At this point we should highlight that we’re by no means suggesting that you should be putting a monumental amount of stress on these joints – just a little will suffice just nicely. Light exercise is all you need in this regard and the upshot of this is that muscles won’t become stiff, which is one of the primary reasons why pain from soreness arrives anyway.
When we talk about light exercise, don’t consider anything more than a walk or slow jog for twenty minutes. Obviously, the nature of the exercise is going to vary depending on the affected muscles, but in the case of the quads a run is going to be completely suitable. In fact, this light exercise will even cause a rush of endorphins, which should provide some rest bite from the immediate pain you are experiencing from the soreness anyway.