Ouch! Why Do My Muscles Hurt after Workout? What You Need to Know

Exercising is a great form of stress release and has a multitude of benefits for your health, which are widely documented. While there are many ways to exercise, the one constant in any workout regime should be some form of strength training. This is because strength training helps improve posture, helps calories burn faster, and can help protect bones and organs. But when working out with resistance exercises that improve our muscular strength and endurance, we may see some things happen that make us wonder what is going on with our workout and body.

Why Muscles Get Sore

One of the most common experiences people have after an exercise the next day is muscle soreness or aches. This is normal, and according to NHS, “When muscles are required to work harder than they’re used to, or in a different way, it’s believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibers, resulting in muscle soreness or stiffness.” Just by working your muscles, you are causing them to tear, which will repair and cause muscle growth. In the process, they may be sore or stiff the next day or so. When this occurs, it is a good idea to stretch, but it does not mean you need to stop exercising. Experts will recommend not to weight lift using the same muscle group two days in a row because it can cause damage. But just because you feel sore does not mean you should take time off.

Why Muscles Are Not Sore

On the other hand, there are going to be times when you work out and you think you did an extra great session, but your muscles do not feel sore. This is nothing to get alarmed about. This most likely means you are not challenging your muscles hard enough and need to up the intensity in terms of weight amount or repetitions. However, in some cases, when you are trying to tone your muscles, for example, you are doing higher repetitions at lighter weights. This means that although you are lifting properly, you may not feel the same “burn” as a bodybuilder might after a hard workout session. How your muscles feel after a routine really depends on your training goals and subsequent workload.

When to Change It Up

Another common situation is when your muscles are not sore for a series of workouts. In this case, you probably are becoming accustomed to your workout routine and need a change. Just like you get bored after doing the same routine for days on end, your muscles get bored, too, and need change. The recommended time to change your routine is every six to eight weeks. This varies by individual and their training goals. There are specific reasons to change your routine, however. For example, if you are recovering from an injury, you may train differently. If you have a major life change, you may train differently, or if your goals change, you may want to change your routine. Be smart and consistent in when, how, and why you seek change in a routine. And not feeling sore after an extended period may be a sign it is time to change. But it may not be the whole story.

Weight training, in some cases, is like trial and error. It can take a few workouts to get the weights just right so you feel the “burn” at the end of sets. When you do this, you are working to fatigue. Like in so many cases, the reason to do this depends on your goal. If you are trying to build muscle mass, you will want to do each set to fatigue, which means finding the right weight and doing the right number of repetitions. Remember, though, that it takes time for muscle to grow. A trainer once told this writer that muscle growth is the equivalent to width of a piece of paper. After every session, you may only gain a very marginal amount of muscle, and it takes time and sustained effort to grow muscle, including how you eat, sleep, and live. Here are six ways to put on muscle according to Men’s Health.

The human body is amazing, but it is not simple to manage. When exercising, including weight lifting, your body will react differently for different reasons. Much of this is a result of many factors, from your goals, to form, to lifestyle, to the routine itself. Some of it is just biology at work. The next time you stop and think about what is happening or not happening before, during, or well after a workout, it is good to consider some of these factors and even consider consulting a doctor or professional trainer.


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