Thursday, March 30, 2006

Do you need soreness to build muscle

One of the emails I get a lot of is from people asking me why they're not sore as much from using my "Simple Steps To Get Huge And Shredded" training program...

Soreness is not an indicator of a successful workout. Soreness just means that your muscle tissue is still inflammed and has not recovered yet.

The people that train to achieve soreness are not doing any good for their muscles, they are actually creating an overtraining situation.

Overload and overload only is the way to tell if your workout was successful. This simply means going up in the amount of weight you lift over time. For instance, if you begin the program benching 200 and slowly go up over time to 210, then 215, then 225. That's a sign of success. Now, with that said, it is common to have some soreness after intense, heavy lifting.

But over time, the soreness from workouts should goaway since your body is getting used to the intense workouts. If you continue to be very sore, you could be overdoing it and possibly overtraining since your body is telling you its not recovered yet.

So, DO NOT worry about being sore. All soreness means is that you have some microscopic fiber damage and inflammation that needs healing.

Soreness does not have anything to do with what causes muscle and strength gains --- progressive overload. Overload (lifting more weight over time) is the stimulus to building muscle and gaining strength.

The more weight you force your muscles to lift, the more your muscles have to adapt by getting bigger and stronger. Soreness doesn't come into the overload equation. But too much soreness can prevent muscle and strength gains.

If you're too sore to lift heavily, that means less weight lifted and means less muscle stimulation. As a result, less muscle growth.

So, don't fall for what you see the guys in the gym doing... a ton of reps and sets just to get sore. They're sadly mistaken about what it takes to build muscle.

They think that by lifting until sore, that will magically make their muscles grow. Makes no sense.

If soreness was all it took to build muscle, then you could punch yourself on the arm until you were black and blue. I guarantee you'll be sore the next day but I also guarantee that won't grow muscle there ;-)

Bottom line -- lift for overload (most weight you can handle) and don't focus on soreness. Sure, some days you WILL be sore, that cannot be prevented, but don't make it a factor. And if you are really sore the next day, take a couple of Advil to reduce the soreness and inflammation.

Believe it or not, taking 2 Advil (ibuprofen) after training will drop your soreness by 90%. After all, lifting weights damages muscle tissue, causing it to become irritated and inflammed.The main job of Advil is to reduce inflammation, so it makes perfect sense why ibuprofen can be helpful after lifting.

I'd go with ibuprofen (advil) and not tylenol (acetominophen) Advil works better for reducing inflammation.

So please don't make the mistake I see so many people make: they train for too long, just so they can get sore. They think this helps with building muscle.

And it doesn't. Train heavy, train intense, and then go home.

Shawn LeBrun


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