Muscular pain and growth

male muscle modelCounterbalancing as a result of intensive weight training.

Intensive weight training will cause micro-lacerations in your muscles and connective tissue.

While you are not training (resting) the body will prepare itself for the next training session. To be able to cope with the next session the body will restore balance by repairing and at the same time reinforcing aforementioned micro-lacerations.

Vitamin C and the proteins contained in your diet are the most important stimulants of this process.

After a complete recovery the repaired and reinforced muscles will be able to cope with a load comparable to the ‘previous’ session. Fitness, weight training and body-shaping are in fact based on this counterbalancing process.

 It is therefore important to realize that muscles should be trained progressively (i.e. incrementally) over a certain period of time.

Muscular pain

Simply put, muscular pain is the ‘soreness’ one feels in the muscles during the days following a workout. During these days accumulated waste-products, such as lactic acid and free radicals, are removed.

The pain felt while the micro-lacerations are healing ensures that you cannot use the muscle as intensively as before or that you may even prefer to leave it alone altogether. There is much difference of opinion about muscular pain, but one thing is certain: muscular pain is a good indicator. As soon as there has been no muscular pain at all for about two days, a muscle is normally ready for the next training. Muscle fibers.

Muscle fibers react differently to sets of 4 to 6 repetitions than to sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. Without going into too much detail, the following rule of thumb may be applied:

  1. Sets of 4 to 6 repetitions strengthen your muscle fibers and connective tissue (which means that you can increasingly lift more weight)
  2. As a rule, sets of 6 to 8 repetitions make your muscle fibers larger (which means that the muscle fibers increase in size)
  3. Sets consisting of more repetitions provide the muscles with neurological stimulation, improving signal transfer from the brain to the muscles. By periodically exercising with a higher number of repetitions you lay the basis for a more effective training with fewer repetitions (4 to 6 and 6 to 8 repetitions).

Recovery time

In most cases the Body-shaping program works best with a 3-days-a-week schedule. Ideally you would train every other day allowing your muscles and central nervous system 48 hours to recover after each training session.

It is most important to listen to your body and to make adjustments depending on how you feel at a given moment. So, if you feel rather tired, do not hesitate to just skip a day. If you are well-disciplined, taking a day or two off will not interfere with your development.

 Often a day of rest will renew your enthusiasm. Therefore, when in doubt, it is probably better to take it easy and avoid over-exercising. 

Not everyone feels muscular pain. Especially women seldom experience muscular pain except for the first time they train. This is because women have more of the estrogen hormone than men. This hormone protects the muscle against muscle trauma caused by weight training.

It looks as though there is no direct correlation between the training of a muscle and the resulting muscular pain. The moment you finish training a muscle it is tensed, pumped up and may even ‘burn’ a little.
At that moment the muscle is less strong, but not yet painful or sensitive. After a few hours the swelling will disappear and the strength will return, but there is still no muscular pain at all. However, 24 to 48 hours after an intensive training-session the muscular pain does set in!

Muscular pain develops slowly and after 1 or 2 days the trained muscle fibers cause minor pain sensations which worsen. We normally call these sensations ‘muscular pain’. This phenomenon can be explained by what we already know: it is caused by chemicals preparing the muscle for growth.

Muscular pain, therefore, seems to be a necessary evil to effect muscle growth. You can therefore measure the intensity of your last weight training by the amount of muscular pain you feel. In other words, if during the days following your training you experience little or no muscular pain, be sure to try and use more weight the next time you train that particular muscle-group.

Author: Tobias van der Avort

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Disclaimer: is all about general bodybuilding and weight training information. This is not medical advice and should not be implemented as such. You must not use the information on as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional health care provider.

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