The other day I was having coffee with a friend. When I commented on my soreness – which was the result of an intense chest workout session the day before – she was surprised. She didn’t think that, as she herself put it, fit people continued to get sore from their workouts. When I told her that I very seldom go a whole week without achieving this kind of workout soreness in some muscle group or another she at first thought I was joking. She knows how dedicated I am to the art of the barbell and just couldn´t imagine that I so frequently would experience what she thought of as a beginner’s pain.
I wasn´t exaggerating, I actually do experience muscle soreness every week – and I have done so for many years.
My friend thought a regular gym visitor should get used to the workload. She was right – but only to a certain point. If one follows the same routine on a regular basis, then yes, you will get used to it. But when you become advanced – in your knowledge and your performance - it really becomes a choice of your own. It is all in my own hands. I could easily decide to go without this kind of frequent pain. Instead I push myself to always train hard, with high intensity and, most importantly, well-planned variety. The latter is what allows me to, more often than not, accomplish the kind of micro muscle damage that is felt as soreness the day after.
You only get good at what you do. Nothing else. This is true in life – and very true at the gym. You might be able to deadlift 400 pounds and maybe you are used to performing this
feat every week. It doesn´t result in any kind of soreness the day after. You can handle it. You are super strong. But if you suddenly mix things up by performing high reps with a much lighter weight, this will surely result in aching muscles the day after. Or maybe you are always working out in accordance with some high volume program, making sure to get a good pump before you leave the gym, but seldom feeling it afterwards – but if you shock your muscles by having a 5x5 session you will probably get sore, due to the variety.
So, in essence, I’m a constant volunteer for what I’d like to call the good pain. I like to work out in different ways, applying different kinds of workout methods and exercises. I never let my routine stale or my body to get used to anything.
After years of training hard one will become, as I have done, a kind of connoisseur of good pain. One will even develop favorite kinds of soreness. As for me I really enjoy experiencing muscle soreness in the pecs and in the triceps.
If you find this weird I’m not going to argue with you. All passions are weird to a degree.
For those who have yet to make a regularity of this kind of pain – don’t worry; it is not the kind of soreness that bothers you or hinders you in any way. This, for me, is a 100% positive kind of soreness. Schwarzenegger once said that he enjoyed muscle soreness the day after working out since it meant development. I feel the same way. The muscle soreness means that I am forcing my body to adapt and develop.
Note that I’m not saying that you have to achieve soreness in order for your workout to be considered a good one. Not at all. It depends on what your tastes and goals are. But that will be the topic of another, future post.
All this having been said, you will not blame me for wishing you all a continuously aching weekend.
Here is a new photo, improvised today for this blog post. And yes, as I wrote this post I could already feel tomorrow’s abs soreness starting to grow…