Let’s talk about muscle soreness. This can be especially challenging if you are just starting a new exercise program and you realize…Holy Moly! Everything hurts!
This may be alarming, especially if you have never experienced it before.
What you are experiencing is called the DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
So what causes sore muscles??
Soreness is caused by micro tears in your muscles. Your muscles are built up of a bunch of fibers, and when you exhaust your muscles (like from a strength training program) those little fibers will tear. This isn’t a bad thing! When your muscle fibers repair, they actually grow back together even stronger.
So what does this mean for you and your body? Your body actually LOVES this! It means stronger bones and stronger muscles. Also, when you have more muscle mass, your metabolism increases. You will burn more calories when you have more muscle mass.
For example: If you work your quads on one day, typically you want to give it 24-48 hours before you work it again. With strength training, many people will train groups of muscles each time and rotate each day. (Back and biceps one day, chest and triceps the next, then shoulders and legs)
How often should you be working each muscle group? The recommendation for strength training is to work every single group at least twice a week.
So, if you are only doing strength training two days a week, then do a full-body strength training circuit each of those days.
If you are able to strength train four days per week, then do half your muscle groups one day and the other group the next.
Finally… Yes! You can work out when you do have sore muscles, just don’t over-exhaust the muscles. Typically sore muscles will only last up to 7 days. Even if you really, really exhaust a muscle group and the soreness is killing you. Each muscle will only be sore up to 7 days. Now, if you are rotating around to train all your muscles, you may be perpetually sore, especially if you are just starting off.
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