All these long years pain was the main reference point and the main indicator of efficiency. If it is, then everything is correct. If it is not there, then something has gone wrong. But then one day she disappeared. She is in pain after training. What to do now and where to look for it (and whether it is necessary), let’s understand.
The myth that muscles must hurt after playing sports is still widespread among both amateurs and professionals. Pain for them is an occasion for pride. But the lack of pain is, on the contrary, a reason to think. Did the training go to waste? Sometimes, some athletes specifically chase the feeling of “clogging” in the muscles, overloading their body with unnecessarily heavyweights and hypertensive loads. Thus, the goal of the entire training process is pain, not the development of the physical qualities of one’s own body. Agree, pain is a dubious goal.
So where does the pain come from? For unpleasant sensations in the muscles after training, pain, or delayed onset muscle soreness, is responsible. Moreover, no one is safe from this syndrome – neither a beginner nor an experienced athlete performing new exercises. The fact is that as a result of intense movements, most often an eccentric load (in which a tense muscle lengthens due to additional force, as in the case of running from a mountain or lowering a raised projectile), microscopic tears form in the muscles. When muscle fibers are damaged, inflammation occurs, and therefore pain. So pain is more likely a muscle injury than a harbinger of their growth.
Usually, pain occurs a day after training and reaches its peak after 36 hours. So the popular idea that the cause of pain is lactic acid can also be safely written in the section of destroyed myths. She has nothing to do with it. Lactic acid is formed when you do some exercise intensively – the blood does not have time to remove it from the body and pain occurs. Rather, not even pain, but a burning sensation in the muscles. But after an hour, the level of lactic acid decreases, and ultimately it is completely oxidized to carbon dioxide and water.
According to recent studies, muscle pain is weakly correlated with their growth and adaptation to different types of load. In addition, everything is very individual. Even among genetically close people and among professional athletes, the syndrome manifests itself in different ways. Also, do not forget about susceptibility to pain. If you belong to the category of highly sensitive people, then with an equal load you will experience pain more sharply than the rest. So the pain in the muscles is just part of the training process but by no means an indicator of its effectiveness. Progress is what you should focus on. If it is, then you are moving in the right direction.
– The fact that your muscles do not hurt after playing sports does not mean that you did not do anything in training. But if we are talking about strength training, then indirectly – by the absence of pain – we can judge that you can increase:
- weight in one approach;
- the number of repetitions in the approach;
- locomotion rate or muscle movement.
By changing one of these parameters, depending on your goals, you can achieve different results. But remember: the best indicator of effectiveness is progress. I personally am for the gradual change. Say, if progress in weight gain is important to you, then it should be equal to an increase of 0.5-3% by every second and fourth week. That is if on the first of November you pressed 100 kg with your feet, then in the week of November 21-28, you can increase the weight already to 101-103 kg. Other changes can be expressed in seconds and in a quantitative increase in the volume of the hip, shoulder, and the like.
But there is one more indicator. We are talking about the smell from the mouth, namely, the smell of ammonia. The fact is that the result of muscle activity is also the accumulation of deamination products (the process of removing amino groups from a molecule), which mainly occurs in the liver. Ammonia arising in the blood during muscle work is formed as a result of the elimination of the ammonium ion. If during the training the coach felt a strong smell of ammonia from the athlete’s mouth, then it is time to reduce the load, drink water and go on to stretching.
So, to understand in which cases pain is good and in which it is bad can be done as follows:
- it doesn’t hurt, but there is progress – excellent;
- it hurts a little and there is progress – good;
- it hurts substantially, but still, there is progress – satisfactory;
- always hurts and nothing develops – bad;
- it always hurts, there are diseases, injuries, and apathy – very bad.
You can fight with muscle pain, but, alas, the good old stretch before and after training you are not an assistant here. According to studies, static stretching not only does not reduce pain after intense exercise but in principle does not protect against possible injuries. Massage – this is the most effective way in the fight against pain, it stimulates the movement of intercellular fluid and blood throughout the body, thereby accelerating recovery processes. But that’s not all. Contrast showers, the use of applicators for myofascial release, a full eight-hour sleep, an increase in the diet of foods high in protein (it is responsible for the synthesis of muscle fibers) and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (they help relieve inflammation) can also help significantly reduce pain. You won’t be able to completely get rid of it, but in three to five days it should pass by itself. If this does not happen and after 96 hours the pain remains at the same level or becomes even stronger, you should immediately consult a doctor.