If your muscles get sore after your workout, you aren’t alone. That can happen to anyone. The question is why does it happen? Not only that, but do sore muscles indicate a good workout? To answer that question, we have to first look at how muscles are formed and how they grow.
Muscles are made up of a bunch of stretchy fibers. Those fibers are built with protein. During a workout, your muscles will expand and contract. It’s a lot like how an elastic band stretches and then goes back to its original shape when you let go of it.
Like an elastic band, your muscles can tear a bit, if they are stretched beyond their limits. However, unlike an elastic band, they can repair themselves. When your muscles are resting, proteins and other “building blocks” of muscular cells combine to form more muscle fibers. The more fibers you have, the stronger your muscles will be.
Why Your Muscles Get Sore
As you are working out, you are going to stretch your your muscles, causing small tears in the muscle fibers. Torn muscles are generally sore and achy for a short time. That can actually be a sign of a good workout. After all, you can’t build your muscles up without pushing them beyond their current limits.
Pushing Too Far
Although pushing your muscles beyond their current limits is important, there is such a thing as pushing too far. You see, there is something called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short, which can completely disrupt your workout routine. DOMS can last for hours, or even days, after you work out. For more information about DOMS, visit WebMD.
The Importance of Consistent Workout Routines
You might not think of DOMS, or general muscles soreness, as a bad thing. After all, you can just wait a few days to go back to the gym, right? Well, not necessarily. The problem is that your muscles need to be worked at a consistent, steady pace in order for them to build up and get in shape.
So, you need to follow a certain workout routine. If you take several days off, it will be just like starting all over again every time. It’s better to build your muscles up at a slow and steady pace than to push them too far and find yourself unable to move without pain for days.
That being said, your muscles repair themselves during times of rest. So, it is important to alternate between resting your muscle groups and exercising them. You just shouldn’t let them rest for too long at a time. That’s why many of the best workout routines involve exercising almost every day, but alternating your workout focus each day from one muscle group to another.
How to Tell How Far to Push Your Muscles
You might think that it’s hard to tell how far to push your muscles. After all, DOMS may not set in until the next day. Luckily, there are certain signs that you can look for. For example:
You may feel more tired towards the end of a workout. Instead of pushing for one more set, take a minute to decide just how tired you and your muscles are. You might want to cut your workout short.
Your muscles might quiver, shake, or feel weak, especially if you are lifting weights. If that’s the case, it’s time to stop. Not only you could over-tax your muscles, but you could drop the weights and hurt yourself.
So, sore muscles might indicate a good workout, but not if you let them get too sore. It may take you a little time to learn your own personal limits. However, as soon as you do, it will be easy for you to tell when to cut your exercise sessions short.