Here are two scenarios that could transpire after a particularly demanding work-out routine: one, you feel sore all over and you are suddenly aware of all the parts you worked on, and two, a tough new workout leaves you in pain and if you push ahead, the pain only increases.
Do you see the difference between the two scenarios?
Following some workouts, one can experience a good kind of soreness or a bad kind of pain. Some understand the difference, while some don’t know how to tell it apart.
Each of us is made differently. We all have a different threshold for pain, depending on factors such as physical capacity, health conditions, sleep patterns, and age. When you stay within your threshold, you’d be sore. Exceeding your threshold, or manipulating your own limits with bad technique and form, will result in pain. Whether you are trying to beat your personal record or just have fun, remember to pay attention to the type of pain you feel.
How do you tell you’re sore or in pain?
While choosing workouts, most people do not follow a progression protocol and therefore swing according to their moods.
There are many cellular-level changes that occur in your body while you work out and after you’re done. Soreness or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) happens when you work the target muscle groups appropriately, with careful progression and by matching your physical capacity.
Muscular soreness typically peaks 24-72 hours after activity. You’d have felt this for sure when you used a pair of dumbbells for bicep curls for the first time. Biceps feel tender and you can hardly touch that area — so much so that you can barely feed yourself! While working a certain muscle for the first time or while progressing during the catabolic phase (when the muscle breaks), you are likely to feel soreness. This is a good thing.
As you make muscle gains, you need to keep progressing gradually and increase the load sensibly. With planned progression, your muscle growth is phased and increases in time. Soreness is part of that journey. You can address the soreness by stretching well and getting back to work outs, after appropriate rest and recovery.
Pain on the other hand is sharp and uncomfortable. Imagine you’re doing bicep curls with double the weight you’re used to curling with, and there’s a sudden sharp pain in the elbow in the concentric phase. You cannot lift the weight, so you arch your back, try again, cringe and drop. This is another classic case of sudden progression that usually leads to pain/injury.
When you do more than you can without slowly progressing or perform a move with a faulty form, you’re in for pain (which becomes an injury if not addressed immediately). Pain occurs while working out or shows up within 24 hours of the activity.
The best way to address it is to stop the exercise when you feel it. Ice and rest until the pain is better or see a physiotherapist/physician if it’s a significant injury/pain.
Enjoy your workouts!
The purpose of exercise is different for each – anything from fat loss, feel good, stay fit, body build, and such. But after exercise, we all get the same high!
So ensure that you feel good after and during workouts. Pushing limits is good; if you do it in a measured manner, it also gives a good feeling. Even while you enjoy your exercise, constantly keep your trainer informed of your RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion). This includes being aware of your exertion levels, breath control and discomfort levels — discussing this with your trainer helps him/her keep tab on how you feel during the workout.
Another way to ensure you avoid injury is to be mindful while working out. Don’t let your mind wander; stay focused. Often, injury happens when you aren’t in control or you lose focus. On bad days, make sure that you are watching your intensity and have your trainer around to spot you.
If the pain is too much, reach out to a physical therapist or physician, and get back to your workouts once you sort it out. But also, don’t hesitate to progress your workouts so that you improve gradually!
THE STARTER PACK
New to the world of strength building? Looking for some easy exercises to help start off this exciting journey of knowing the possibilities of your body? Look no further:
This exercise is a perfect beginner’s workout for stability, and core and back strength. It improves coordination, balance and employs your core muscles effectively.
Grab a mat and get on all-fours, with the hands under the shoulders and knees hip-distance apart. Extend the left leg behind while extending the right arm in front. Keep your core engaged and stabilize the shoulder so you do not round your back while performing the exercise. Hold for 10 to 20seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Another basic workout that has several progressions. This exercise strengthens hamstrings, lower back, abs and glutes.
It keeps your back healthy and with weighted progressions, it makes you stronger.
On a mat, lie on your back with hands beside (palms facing downward). Bend your knees and place your feet (hip width) firmly on the ground.
Now, raise the hips while pushing your feet to the ground and shoulders rested. Hold for 20 to 30seconds and drop.
The standing woodchop is another basic exercise that targets the transverse abdominis and oblique muscles. It also works on the core, back, shoulders, and legs.
Stand in a split-stance position with your left foot forward. Hold a weight (plate, med ball, dumbbell, or even a water bottle) in both hands and keep it in the start position near the hip.
Now rotate your arms and take the weight to the other side to above the shoulder. The weight travels close to your body in a diagonal way. Repeat both sides.
The most useful functional move. It is a muti-faceted move that targets glutes, hamstrings, calves, core and back.
Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Point toes 45degrees and ensure that you drive your knee toward your toes (in that direction).
Now keep your core engaged, shoulders retracted and initiate the move with your glutes. All the while keep your weight evenly on your feet and mostly on your heel. Sit back on your butt, not stressing the knee. This is the glute dominant move, so ensure that you aren’t squatting on your knees.
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