Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Training without exhaustion

I have been thinking about muscle soreness.

I love training hard and waking the next day to check out the soreness in the muscles. My first workouts with weights over 20 years ago produced intense and exquisite soreness the next day and over the years I have continued to experience that soreness and often use it as a gauge to indicate that I've been working hard - my pecs are sore: I must have trained effectively etc.

However, I've been thinking more about this recently. How useful in real life is such soreness? If a training session leaves you exhausted immediately after it and almost crippled with soreness the next day, is that a practical or useful way of training for everyday life?

I want my training to enhance my life. To make me fit for whatever challenges are going to come at me in those days. I might need to sprint for a bus, to sprint away from a fight or to defend myself in some way. If my ability to perform is limited because of my previous day's training then is there a problem?

Hard and intense training works and I enjoy pushing myself to the limit. But there is a balance.

I want to train hard enough to improve ....... but not so hard that I am debilitated and handicapped. Train hard but not so much that - paradoxically - I become weak.......


Anonymous said...

Mobilizing the defenses in a dramatic way is probably a good thing *on occasion*. Extreme soreness means your body's reaction is amplified in terms of repair processes and recovery.

One dimension of exercise is that it is controlled stress that ultimately makes the body stronger (systemically, not just muscularly), more resilient, and better able to handle the rigors of life.

In this context I don't have a problem with muscle soreness from time to time but it's not the goal and I wouldn't make a habit of it.

Methuselah said...

Hi - good thought. As I am sure you know, contrast bathing is one way to mitigate the soreness and to some extent get the best of both worlds - although I am not clear exactly how much of an impact it has on muscle soreness...see article below...

Contrast Bathing - new research

Pay Now Live Later

JB said...

And, how does soaking muscles in a repeated bath of lactic acid by doing several sets of high reps as bodybuilders do, how does this inform gene expression?

My guess is it signals the genes to rebuild the muscle tissue for just such efforts. In nature, a Paleolithic man would not have often "pumped" up his muscles as much as he would have had intermittent hard contractions hours or even days apart.

The Bulgarian approach to multiple heavy lifting sessions each day for their weightlifters? Lots of tension, repeated very often, but without breaking the muscles down nor drawing on anaerobic energy sources with the attendant lactic acid bath that would follow. This seems to build the strongest muscle tissue.