Archive for the tag - soreness

Sore Muscle Treatment: More Movement.

muscle-sorenessWhen I injured my hamstring a few years back, I was prescribed a common treatment called RICE - standing for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

However, new research by the same man who coined the term RICE shows that the treatment merely delays healing by reducing inflammation. In fact, the body’s inflammation response is important to the healing process. By icing an injury, an important hormone is blocked. You’ll still heal, but it’ll just take about a half day longer.

A half day can make a huge difference for competitive athletes who need to be ready for game day. For the rest of us, a half day won’t really matter much. And though icing can delay healing, it still helps reduce discomfort. For some people, that could be a worthwhile tradeoff.

But for faster healing results, the researchers recommend movement without pressure. If you injured your legs running, for example, taking a leisurely walk could actually help; it’ll keep blood flowing to your damaged muscles and boost recovery.

Moreover, the researchers found that anti-inflammatory or pain reliever drugs also delay healing.

As it turns out, our wise bodies are better suited for healing on their own.

P.S. Interested in getting a strong, lean and defined six pack? Download Davey Wavey’s Six Pack Program to get started with five 12-minute ab workouts!

Why Are My Muscles Sore After Exercise?

Dear Davey,

After I exercise, my muscles get very sore. I understand that this can be beneficial but why is it happening?


daniel-garofali-workout-2What you’re experiencing is something called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and, as you noted, it’s actually a good thing.

Most often, individuals experience DOMS when trying something new. It could be a new routine, new exercise, new amount of resistance or so on. DOMS, as the name implies, occurs a day or two after the exercise. Injury-related soreness, on the other hand, occurs immediately and should be treated by a professional.

There’s still a lot that we don’t understand about DOMS. It was initially thought that DOMS was the result of lactic acid buildup from exercise. But the latest theory is that DOMS is the result of micro-tears in the muscle fibers caused by exercise. Though muscle damage sounds like a bad thing, these tiny tears are rebuilt stronger and bigger than before; this is the very process by which our muscles grow and strengthen.

Over time, DOMS can subside as your body adjusts and evolves. And it’s important to recognize that DOMS isn’t required for muscle growth and it’s not an indication of the effectiveness of an exercise routine. In other words, a lack of DOMS doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.

The treatments for muscle soreness are widely debated. Though stretching was once believed to prevent and alleviate soreness, recent studies are suggesting otherwise. There has been some success in alleviating soreness through massage or the use of a foam roller. Some individuals and trainers prefer active recovery. Or just plenty of rest to give your body time to recover, repair and rebuild.


Is It Okay to Run with Sore Legs?

Dear Davey,

I’ve started a new lower body workout, and it leaves me sore for a few days thereafter. I know you’re not suppose to strength train muscles that are still sore, but is it okay to run with sore legs?


Well, there are a few points that need to be made here.

First, there are two types of soreness. There’s delayed onset muscle soreness (called DOMS) which occurs 12-48 hours after you complete your workout. It’s normal to experience DOMS - especially when you start a new workout regimen.

The other, less-desirable type of soreness occurs immediately and is often asymmetrical (i.e., it occurs only in one leg or one hamstring), and it’s most-often injury related. If your soreness is injury related, then you need to avoid using the injured muscle until you’ve recovered.

If you’re experiencing a low-level of DOMS in your legs, it may be okay to do some cardiovascular training. Ensure that you do a warm-up and proper stretch before engaging in your cardio. If the soreness or discomfort increases during your cardio, then you should stop immediately - as the increased pain may be indicative of an injury.

Keep in mind that DOMS typically fades within a month or two of a new routine, so you probably won’t be dealing with issue long-term. As you become more accustomed to your routine, the soreness will dissipate in subsequent workouts. And remember: Soreness isn’t required for muscle growth.

The bottom line: If you’re experiencing a slight amount of DOMS, then it’s okay to engage in cardio so long as it doesn’t exacerbate the soreness. If your soreness is injury related, avoid cardio until you’ve healed.

Prevent Sore Neck / Neck Strain During Ab Workout.

To prevent neck pain and soreness, avoid placing hands behind your head.

It’s fairly common to hear exercisers complain about neck soreness or strain from abdominal workouts. This discomfort is most often caused by improper form - and it’s very easy to correct.

When the head is pulled forward during abdominal exercises, immense strain is placed on the posterior neck muscles. Many exercisers lace their fingers behind their head and pull forward during crunches, for example, thereby making the crunches easier - but also placing unnecessary pressure on the neck muscles.

To prevent neck soreness, change the placement of your hands. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, fold them across your upper abdomen. Alternatively, keep them by your sides. If you want to keep your hands by your head, just touch your ears lightly with your fingertips to prevent any forward pull.

In addition, it may be helpful to concentrate on the ceiling. Doing so prevents your head from lifting forward. It may also be helpful to imagine an apple tucked under your chin - allowing for space between your chin, neck and chest.

Alternatively, you can try exercises - such as the reverse crunch - that work the abdominal muscles without involving much upper body movement.

Beyond preventing neck soreness or strain, you’ll also be increasing the effectiveness of your abdominal workout. Because lifting your head forward makes the exercise easier, some intensity and effectiveness is lost in the process.

If muscle soreness persists, it’s always a good idea to consult with your physician.

No Longer Sore After Workout: Am I Doing Something Wrong?

Hi Davey,

I’ve been getting back in to shape lately by going to the gym 2 - 3 times a week. When I first started, my muscles would become sore 1 - 2 days after my workout. Recently I’m finding that my muscles don’t become sore in the slightest. I am increasing the amount I lift but I’m cautious because I’m still getting back into it and I don’t want to harm my muscles.

Does this lack of soreness or stiffness in my muscles mean I’m not working hard enough?

Thanks and much love,

Hey Eric,

Congratulations on getting back into the swing of things and renewing your commitment to exercise!

First things first, muscle soreness that occurs 12 - 48 hours after exercise is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) - and it’s a good thing. Immediate muscle soreness or pain, on the other hand, is often related to injury - and immediate medical attention is encouraged. Since the soreness you experienced is the former, there’s no need for concern.

When exercisers start a new routine (just as you did), muscle soreness is very common. Since the new workout is a shock to the body, muscle soreness is a likely result. But, over time, the body will adjust - and soreness will tend to decrease. This is all very natural and part of the process.

Though many people become addicted to feeling sore after exercise, soreness isn’t required for muscle growth. Provided you have an effective strategy to target muscle growth, your muscles will continue to grow even if you don’t experience discomfort.

In this way, the age-old adage of “no pain, no gain” is certainly a fallacy.


Is Soreness Required for Muscle Growth?

I'd let him make me sore.

As silly as it sounds, don’t you love being sore a day or two after a really intense workout?

In some twisted way, I think we all do. And it can be addictive; many people feel like they didn’t get a good workout unless they’re sore thereafter.

But it begs the question: Is soreness required for muscle growth?

No. Soreness is not required for muscle growth.

There is a lot that is still not understood about soreness, but it often arises after doing something new. New workouts or exercises are a shock to the body, and soreness may be part of the result. Since subsequent workouts are less of a shock, soreness tends to decrease over time.

If you’re just starting out with a new routine, you’ll probably feel it the next day. But if you’ve been training for years, you probably won’t feel the soreness. It doesn’t necessarily mean your muscles aren’t growing; it may simply mean that your body isn’t shocked in the same way.

And if you’re looking to build your muscles, sometimes no soreness is a good thing. Muscle soreness is often associated with endurance training (i.e., taking a spinning class, doing many reps of an exercise, etc.) and not the type of low-rep high-resistance strength training that stimulates muscle growth. In other words, if you do a few sets of heavy bicep curls in a low rep range (say 8 reps) until muscle failure, you probably won’t get sore. But there’s no doubt that it will grow your muscles.

Of course, if you try something different, work ignored muscles or push your body in a way in which it isn’t accustomed, then you’re likely to experience delayed onset muscle soreness. But it’s not required to gain muscle mass.

Myth: No Pain, No Gain.

"No pain, no gain" is a recipe for both injuries and unpleasant workouts.

Let’s change the way we look at exercise.

“No pain, no gain.” It’s probably the most quoted fitness proverb ever. It’s plastered on the wall of many gyms and instilled in the mindsets of most of us.

The quote has been credited to everyone from the poet Robbert Herrick to Ben Franklin, but it was brought into mainstream popularity by Jane Fonda during the early 1980s. In her workout videos, Fonda used the quote as catchphrase to encourage participants to work through the burn.

Today, “no pain, no gain” is a mantra for many gym enthusiasts. But here’s the thing: It’s not true - and it’s a dangerous mentality.

If you truly experience pain during exercise (and not the “burn” to which Jane Fonda was actually referring), then you should stop immediately.

There are two basic types of pain or soreness that exercisers experience. Injury-related soreness is what you’d feel during or immediately following an exercise. Obviously, this type of pain is something that will not result in any fitness gains - and could prove to be debilitating. If you work through the pain (as the adage might imply), you may exacerbate the scope of the injury. Delayed onset muscle soreness (called DOMS), on the other hand, is what you’d experience 12-48 hours after working out. It’s a good thing; it means your body is engaged in a process that will result in muscle gains or increased strength.

If you hold the idea that “pain” is a necessary ingredient in becoming physically fit, you’re selling yourself short; this notion paints exercise as an unpleasant experience. And if you are nodding your head in agreement, than you, too, have been fooled. There are a million creative ways to incorporate exercise into your life that are fun, enjoyable and yes, painless. Hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, kayaking, rock climbing, ice skating and trampolining immediately come to mind. In fact, I even enjoy going to the gym, running and lifting - the exercises have a meditative quality for me. I look forward to my workouts.

I think it’s time to retire this adage of “no pain, no gain” from the collective human physique. It’s a dangerous idea that sets us up for injury - and, indeed, you can achieve your fitness goals while enjoying yourself and your exercise routine.

Here’s to gains without pain.

6 Best Tips for Recovering Faster from Exercise.

Hey Davey,

I live in NYC and often go for 2-5 mile runs in Central Park. My only problem is that I’ll feel sore for at least 2 days. What is the best way to a quicker recovery?


Hey John,

First things first, a little soreness is a good (and generally unavoidable) thing. Delayed onset soreness, like what you’re experiencing, is perfectly fine, healthy and normal. If you are immediately sore, it means you have injured yourself - and that’s a whole different cup of tea.

New research shows that conditioned athletes recover faster, so one of the best things you can do is challenge yourself with a hard, heart-pumping workout. As your current fitness level increases, your recovery time tends to decrease. It’s a great long-term strategy.

Having said that, there are some things you can try that may help you recover a bit faster. They include:

  1. Warming-up. Our muscles need to be warmed up before they engage in exercise, otherwise the risk for strains, injuries and the like increases. Cold taffy breaks, but warm taffy stretches. Our muscles are the same way. A warm up need not be overly time consuming, but spend a few minutes getting your muscles ready for your workout. Before running in central park, for example, do a three minute jog.
  2. Cooling-down. Following your run in Central Park, dedicate 3 - 5 minutes to cooling down. Jogging at a gentle pace will remove some of the lactic acid from your system and help prevent stiffness.
  3. Drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated will help flush out toxins and aid in muscle recovery.
  4. Getting your post workout protein and carbs. We know that in addition to protein, it’s important to consume some post-workout carbohydrates. Doing so will help rebuild and repair you muscles, and studies have shown that it also reduces soreness.
  5. Resting! Your muscles rebuild and repair more during sleep than when you’re awake. Levels of HGH increase during sleep, so make sure you’re getting your full 6 - 8 hours.
  6. Try a cold/hot shower or massage. Some people report that a post-workout hot or cold shower can help reduce soreness and decrease recovery time. In addition, some people believe that a sports massage will help decrease recovery time, though more research is needed. It was speculated that a sports massage would help remove lactic acid, but this has been disproved by science.

You’ll notice that stretching is missing from the list. Though we’ve all been told (myself included!) that stretching helps prevent and reduce soreness, some very surprising research is proving otherwise. If stretching does have a preventative effect on soreness, it is very small. And while it may help temporarily relieve some post-workout soreness, the relief is short-lived. Stretching is great - and it may boost your performance - but its effects on recovery appear quite minimal.

In a nutshell, these six tips may help improve your recovery to some degree - but really, muscle soreness comes with the territory. On days when your legs are sore from running, do some strength training exercises involving other parts of your body - like your arms, back, shoulders, or core. Use those “sore” days as opportunities to train other muscles.

Moreover, switch up your runs. Instead of running for five miles at one pace, do 15 minutes of interval training where you jog for 90 seconds and then sprint for 60. Your body will react differently to the different workouts.

Hope that helps!


When is It Good to Be Sore?

Dear Davey,

A day after I exercise, I tend to get really sore. Is this bad? Does it mean that I’m pushing myself too hard or that I need to change something?


Dear Brian,

When people exercise, there are two types of soreness: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (called DOMS) and injury-related soreness. DOMS is good, injury-related is bad, and it’s very easy to tell the two apart.

DOMS occurs 12-48 hours after you complete your workout. It sounds like the type of soreness that you’re describing, and it’s often associated with a change in your workout program, increased intensity, etc. When you finish your workout, you don’t feel it. But in the subsequent hours, it slowly sneaks up on you.

This type of soreness is actually good. It’s part of a process that leads to muscle growth and increased strength as your body adapts to your workout regime.

There’s no simple way to treat DOMS - the best advice is simply to rest and recover until it passes. Some people have reported that gentle stretching or massaging seems to help.

Most importantly, do not exercise the sore muscle groups until they recover. Remember, the soreness is from muscles that are rebuilding - you need to let them build up before you break them down again or else you will not see results or increases in strength. Moreover, you may injure yourself.

Speaking of injury, any soreness as the result of injury is markedly different from DOMS. For one, soreness as the result of injury often hits sooner - if not instantly. And, wherein DOMS soreness is generally symmetrical (i.e., in both legs a day or two after doing squats), injury-related soreness is asymmetrical (i.e., in just one leg). Stop exercising if you have an injury and seek medical attention.

So, soreness can - and usually is - a good thing. Just make sure to give your body time to recover!