14 votes

Being Sore After a Workout Doesn't Mean Your Muscles Are Growing

15 comments

  1. [10]
    skybrian
    Link
    This is the sort of thing that makes me doubtful that I'll ever be able to find fitness advice that I can actually trust. Conventional wisdom can't be trusted, supposed experts disagree, there are...

    This is the sort of thing that makes me doubtful that I'll ever be able to find fitness advice that I can actually trust. Conventional wisdom can't be trusted, supposed experts disagree, there are fads, and I don't know enough to distinguish between stuff that's useful versus possibly dangerous. It's as bad as nutrition.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      Is it really that bad, though? There's a massive difference between training as an Olympian, where every calorie and millisecond counts, and training to maintain a reasonable level of health as an...

      Is it really that bad, though? There's a massive difference between training as an Olympian, where every calorie and millisecond counts, and training to maintain a reasonable level of health as an average person.

      It's all about what is practical. And also the Pareto principle: the average person only needs to expend 20% effort to gain 80% of the benefits whereas the athletes need that extra 80% of effort to attain that final 20%. The former is sufficient to avoid most diseases that plague developed societies and the latter is necessary to win Gold medals.

      One easy rule to follow for nutrition: eat the rainbow.
      For fitness: be out of breath (for at least a 30 min interval) and once in a while lift some really heavy weights (with a straight back).

      In the end, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Don't let analysis paralysis become a barrier or an excuse.

      13 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        Well, I mostly agree with all that and already do a fair bit of hiking. It does seem like there are more ways to injure yourself with weights, though.

        Well, I mostly agree with all that and already do a fair bit of hiking. It does seem like there are more ways to injure yourself with weights, though.

        1 vote
    2. [7]
      krg
      Link Parent
      What kind of fitness advice are you looking for? The nitty-gritty can get controversial, but for the most part there is agreement. If you want to get stronger, lift heavy things regularly and...

      What kind of fitness advice are you looking for? The nitty-gritty can get controversial, but for the most part there is agreement. If you want to get stronger, lift heavy things regularly and regularly make those things heavier. If you want to increase endurance, run...then run some more...and run longer. Eat and sleep appropriately. Etc..

      I've been working on the basic power-lifting exercises (deadlift, squat, bench press, overhead press) and a couple of accessory exercises (barbell row, chin-ups) and the technique demonstrations for these exercises that I've found on Youtube are all mostly the same.

      I do agree that it's wise to be aware of fads. For example, my Google feed thought it appropriate to show me a Crossfit® video of some dude doing kettlebell swings with dangerous form* and most people in the comments are rightfully lambasting the video (for reference this is good form). But, at least when it comes to strength training, the basic barbell movements have been vetted.

      The community in /r/fitness is a pretty good resource. The programs they have listed are pretty tried-and-true. If you pick one and stick to it you'll see results.

      Anyway, the idea that muscle growth != soreness is useful to me, as I'll sometimes feel pretty good the day after a workout and wonder if I worked out hard enough. Reminding myself that it's not about being sore ensures that I won't try to chase that soreness and overcompensate to a detrimental effect on other days.

      *which seems to be the usual with Crossfit

      4 votes
      1. [6]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Mostly, I'm interested in avoiding injury. I play accordion and it would be easier if I were stronger, but I've had back issues and don't want to have that happen again. I appreciate your advice...

        Mostly, I'm interested in avoiding injury. I play accordion and it would be easier if I were stronger, but I've had back issues and don't want to have that happen again.

        I appreciate your advice as well-intentioned, but understand that we don't actually know each other and as one semi-anonymous Internet commentor to another, I don't know how to tell if the Reddit exercises would work for me. Maybe they're more useful for younger guys?

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Can you be more specific what you mean by "the Reddit exercises" Lifting is useful for all individuals. In fact, there are plenty of studies in aging populations which show that it's great for...

          I don't know how to tell if the Reddit exercises would work for me. Maybe they're more useful for younger guys?

          Can you be more specific what you mean by "the Reddit exercises"

          Lifting is useful for all individuals. In fact, there are plenty of studies in aging populations which show that it's great for reducing and in some cases reversing osteoporosis.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            I meant the FAQ linked to in the previous post. Not disputing that lifting is useful, but that's very generic and I assume the specifics matter for avoiding injury.

            I meant the FAQ linked to in the previous post. Not disputing that lifting is useful, but that's very generic and I assume the specifics matter for avoiding injury.

            1 vote
            1. Gaywallet
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              There's no real "guide" to avoiding injury. Injury is usually not intentional and injury likelihood matters greatly on the person's approach to training. Just like someone who drives defensively...

              There's no real "guide" to avoiding injury. Injury is usually not intentional and injury likelihood matters greatly on the person's approach to training. Just like someone who drives defensively will be less likely to get in an accident, someone who approaches lifting cautiously will also be less likely to injure themselves.

              I think the best course of action is to start slow and really listen to your body. If anything feels wrong, painful, or even just instills some sort of negative feeling to either abandon what you are doing or reconsider the weight at which you are doing it, then you should listen to that cue. If you can afford a trainer, this can help really accelerate the speed at which you learn lifts and a trained pair of eyes on you can also help to evaluate the speed of progression.

              There are plenty of resources which exist to help evaluate form, read about form, watch videos about form, and whatnot if you have the time and energy, but honestly just starting and doing what you enjoy are huge steps in the right direction. If you subscribe to a gym, it's practically impossible to injure yourself on a machine as they restrict how you can move and allow for you to bail much easier than with free weights.

              3 votes
        2. [2]
          krg
          Link Parent
          Of course I don't know your unique situation, but if you're interested in advice and post in that Reddit community I'd be willing to bet that you'll find others that have advice to offer who are...

          Of course I don't know your unique situation, but if you're interested in advice and post in that Reddit community I'd be willing to bet that you'll find others that have advice to offer who are in similar situations. Hell, if there's anything that being on the Internet for so long has taught me, it's that I'm not nearly as unique as I sometimes think I am.

          I'm not advocating that you have to work out or follow any kind of program, just letting people know that there's a lot of trustworthy and vetted information out there on exercise.

          Maybe they're more useful for younger guys?

          I'm in my early 30s, which is still young (though maybe on the older side for this website)...but I'm definitely soon to be past what could be my physical peak. I still plan on training for as long as I can, though, as that seems to be the best way to slow physical decline.

          1 vote
          1. skybrian
            Link Parent
            Oh sure, I don't think I'm unique and advice is easy to get on the Internet. Evaluating it is the problem. In areas I'm more familiar with like programming, music, or finance, I can see that...

            Oh sure, I don't think I'm unique and advice is easy to get on the Internet. Evaluating it is the problem.

            In areas I'm more familiar with like programming, music, or finance, I can see that there's lots of bad or at least conflicting advice out there and I wouldn't take random Internet comments all that seriously.

            1 vote
  2. [4]
    krg
    Link
    I stumbled upon this article while searching for reasons why today my left hamstring feels sore while my right hamstring doesn't after working out yesterday. Didn't answer my question, but found...

    I stumbled upon this article while searching for reasons why today my left hamstring feels sore while my right hamstring doesn't after working out yesterday. Didn't answer my question, but found it interesting nonetheless.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      that_knave
      Link Parent
      Were you working out before the soreness set in? What were you working out? Sounds like a form issue.

      Were you working out before the soreness set in? What were you working out? Sounds like a form issue.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        krg
        Link Parent
        Yep. Deadlifts are what would've done it. It's just DOMS, but I've never really had it emphasized in one part of my body before. Figured it might be a form thing, but if anything my deadlift form...

        Yep. Deadlifts are what would've done it. It's just DOMS, but I've never really had it emphasized in one part of my body before. Figured it might be a form thing, but if anything my deadlift form has been constantly improving. Could be I wasn't working that side appropriately, before. Or, you know, just the human body being strange.

        2 votes
        1. that_knave
          Link Parent
          Yeah. Not every body is the same, sometimes you have to accommodate for that, or train one foot to do something the other already does naturally. My nephew is an athlete but refuses to work on...

          Yeah. Not every body is the same, sometimes you have to accommodate for that, or train one foot to do something the other already does naturally. My nephew is an athlete but refuses to work on form with his lifts which has stunted his progress with certain lifts.

          1 vote
  3. ibis
    Link
    This makes intuitive sense to me. I find that I get sore when doing something new, but if I stick with it for a while the soreness goes away. It wouldn't make sense for muscle growth to only...

    This makes intuitive sense to me. I find that I get sore when doing something new, but if I stick with it for a while the soreness goes away. It wouldn't make sense for muscle growth to only happen when you first start doing something. I think it was just something we told ourselves to put a positive spin on the pain.

    1 vote