Intense workout and ‘ pain’ in muscle
It is not once in a blue moon that you get to hear a new member at a gym complain: “Oh, the pain I experienced the day after my workout was too intense. I think weight training does not suit my body.”
In nine out of 10 such cases, the “pain” a trainee is referring to is not the one resulting out of injury but a feeling of soreness which follows a hard workout programme.
Why are muscles sore?
Every individual muscle is made up of hundreds of fibres. Each one of them is forced to contract and expand during workout. When a trainee uses weights, the fibres get damaged at a micro level. This makes the body realise that the demands it has to meet in the future are likely to be as high as this, if not higher. So it repairs the damage, besides making the fibres slightly stronger and larger. The process is quickened if a person does not overtrain, gets enough sleep and eats the right kind of foods at the right hour.
Several ill informed trainers have little idea about the body’s recovery ability.
Sets and repetitions
When a person repeats an exercise for 10 times, it is called “doing one set of 10 repetitions.” After resting for a minute or so, another set or two may be completed.
When a newcomer does plenty of exercises and too many sets, the damage inflicted upon the fibres is too high.
Needless to say, the muscles, instead of being sore the following day, ache like they have been mutilated.
Soreness is an indication of having triggered response from the body. Pain is an indication of having gone overboard.
Beginning a workout
When you begin weight training, irrespective of your goals, train three non-consecutive days a week. Workout the whole body during the session, doing only one exercise for each muscle group. Pick up nothing more than eight or nine total exercises of each 10 repetitions. Do only one set on each movement for the first week, two sets the second week and three sets from the third week.
This keeps soreness to a minimum and assures results. This is a general suggestion and not written in stone. It can be modified under the guidance of a well-informed trainer, depending on the trainee’s body, age and recovery.
C. LAKSHMI KUMAR