Well, folks. Today’s a day off and boy, am I sore. This is ok though. The muscle soreness provides me with the feedback that my workout was effective. This is the point where I’d like to discuss the differences between muscle soreness and pain that is not related to DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness). Typically, DOMS arrives either the next day or within the first 48 hours after a workout. I typically feel sore the next day but have had circumstances where the soreness doesn’t set in until 48 hours later.
Muscle soreness from a workout is much different from the pain associated with an injury. Muscle pain can kick in during a workout, particularly if you are doing a lot of reps. Toward the end of a 50-rep set, you’ll definitely feel a burning sensation in your muscles as the body struggles to get rid of waste materials out of the muscle that has tightened from the exertion you have exposed it to during your routine.
The other type of pain associated with weightlifting is the pain associated with an injury. This pain can be related to a strained muscle or even joint pain. Either one of these is uncomfortable. Tearing/straining a muscle, damaging a joint like the shoulder socket or knee, or hurting your back are all immediately painful. If you’ve ever seen a football player strain a hamstring or get injured in another way, you know this is immediate.
I’ve only hurt myself in the gym once. It was my lower back. The pain was instant and I had to stop my workout immediately. I hobbled back home and immediately hit with hot and cold compresses and set up a doctor’s appointment the next day. Luckily, I didn’t do any permanent damage. This is the real difference between DOMS and pain associated with an injury.
So, how do you avoid injury? Warm up and proper form are two of the best ways to avoid this. Another way is to get instruction on any equipment you are going to use that you are unfamiliar with. Depending on the shape you are in, a few warmup sets on the first exercise is normally enough. I, however, do a warmup set for each exercise I do. I do this because I am paranoid about getting injured. An injury will void all of your hard work because it will prevent you from exercising in most cases.
Warm up properly before each exercise, elevate the weights you use only when you can maintain proper form, and if you feel any pain around your joints during exercise, stop doing that exercise and get it checked out. All of us can lift weights well into our senior years if we learn how to do the exercises properly, progress our weight loads gradually, and pay attention to our bodies. Don’t let your ego push you to a point where you are lifting beyond your capabilities–the price you’ll pay isn’t worth it.
See you tomorrow!!