Why Muscles Get Sore

As people age, they begin to complain more of pains in their muscles and joints. They seem to stiffen up with age, and such commonplace activities as bending over for the morning paper can make them wince.

Such pain can grip so fiercely that they are sure it begins deep in their bones. But the real cause of stiffness and soreness lies not in the joints or bones, according to research at the Johns Hopkins Medical School, but in the muscles and connective tissues that move the joints.

muscles

The frictional resistance generated by the two rubbing surfaces of bones in the joints is negligible, even in joints damaged by arthritis.

Flexibility is the medical term used to describe the range of a joint’s motion from full movement in one direction to full movement in the other. The greater the range of movement, the more flexible the joint.

If you bend forward at the hips and touch your toes with your fingertips, you have good flexibility, or range of motion of the hip joints. But can you bend over easily with a minimal expenditure of energy and force? The exertion required to flex a joint is just as important as its range of possible motion.

Different factors limit the flexibility and ease of movement in different joints and muscles. In the elbow and knee, the bony structure itself sets a definite limit. In other joints, such as the ankle, hip, and back, the soft tissue—muscle and connective tissue—limit the motion range.

The problem of inflexible joints and muscles is similar to the difficulty of opening and closing a gate because of a rarely used and rusty hinge that has become balky.

Hence, if people do not regularly move their muscles and joints through their full ranges of motion, they lose some of their potential. That is why when these people will try to move a joint after a long period of inactivity, they feel pain, and that discourages further use

What happens next is that the muscles become shortened with prolonged disuse and produces spasms and cramps that can be irritating and extremely painful. The immobilization of muscles, as researchers have demonstrated with laboratory animals, brings about biochemical changes in the tissue.

However, other factors trigger sore muscles. Here are some of them:

1. Too much exercise

Have you always believed on the saying, “No pain, no gain?” If you do, then, it is not so surprising if you have already experienced sore muscles.

The problem with most people is that they exercise too much thinking that it is the fastest and the surest way to lose weight. Until they ache, they tend to ignore their muscles and connective tissue, even though they are what quite literally holds the body together.

2. Aging and inactivity

Connective tissue binds muscle to bone by tendons, binds bone to bone by ligaments, and covers and unites muscles with sheaths called fasciae. With age, the tendons, ligaments, and fasciae become less extensible. The tendons, with their densely packed fibers, are the most difficult to stretch. The easiest are the fasciae. But if they are not stretched to improve joint mobility, the fasciae shorten, placing undue pressure on the nerve pathways in the muscle fasciae. Many aches and pains are the result of nerve impulses traveling along these pressured pathways.

3. Immobility

Sore muscles or muscle pain can be excruciating, owing to the body’s reaction to a cramp or ache. In this reaction, called the splinting reflex, the body automatically immobilizes a sore muscle by making it contract. Thus, a sore muscle can set off a vicious cycle pain.

First, an unused muscle becomes sore from exercise or being held in an unusual position. The body then responds with the splinting reflex, shortening the connective tissue around the muscle. This cause more pain, and eventually the whole area is aching. One of the most common sites for this problem is the lower back.

4. Spasm theory

In the physiology laboratory at the University of Southern California, some people have set out to learn more about this cycle of pain.

Using some device, they measured electrical activity in the muscles. The researchers knew that normal, well-relaxed muscles produce no electrical activity, whereas, muscles that are not fully relaxed show considerable activity.

In one experiment, the researchers measured these electrical signals in the muscles of persons with athletic injuries, first with the muscle immobilized, and then, after the muscle had been stretched.

In almost every case, exercises that stretched or lengthened the muscle diminished electrical activity and relieved pain, either totally or partially.

These experiments led to the “spasm theory,” an explanation of the development and persistence of muscle pain in the absence of any obvious cause, such as traumatic injury.

According to this theory, a muscle that is overworked or used in a strange position becomes fatigued and as a result, sore muscles.

Hence, it is extremely important to know the limitations and capacity of the muscles in order to avoid sore muscles. This goes to show that there is no truth in the saying, “No pain, no gain.” What matters most is on how people stay fit by exercising regularly at a normal range than once rarely but on a rigid routine.

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Golfing – Why Weight Training Is Important

It does not matter what sport you play, strength as a necessary component. To the surprise of many people, golfing is not an exception to the rule. It is important that all golfers train for endurance, stamina, and aerobic activity. It is essential for your body to perform at its best until after the last sing of the day. A commonly overlooked training activity for golfers is weight training. Weight training allows you to strengthen muscles, and develop better spatial awareness. The weight training recommended for golfer’s targets muscle groups that other exercise programs ignore. This is why it is necessary to learn which muscles you will be using while golfing.

A strong swing puts a lot of force on muscles and joints around the shoulder, wrist, and elbows. You also put a lot force on the lower back and hips. Your weight training program should focus in on the specific areas. This will allow you to drive with more power and strength, as well as provide you with better accuracy. You will not require as much effort from these muscles if they’re toned and in shape.

golfing

As you use them, your muscles are naturally able to stretch and return to their normal position. When you perform exercises that are designed to focus on the muscle groups use them of, they will be able to lengthen further, and provide more strained without training. This will help improve not only your strengths, but also your joint flexibility and a range of motion.

The purpose of weight training is to focus your muscles and increased their ability to respond to outside forces, like weights. There are a large number of exercises you can use to assist with resistance training. In some cases, special equipment must be used, but the majority of exercises can be adapted to standard weights.

Each weight training program provided to golfers will have training cycles. The cycle you are in will depend on the season. Typically, during the preseason and well into the season, your focus will be on building strength and lean muscle mass. During the off-season, you will be focused more on maintaining the muscle and stamina you have built.

In golf, the main focus is on the upper body because this is the force that delivers the swing. Because of this, the majority of weight training for golfers is focused on the upper body. It is important that you do not ignore your lower body. Many golfers fail to train adequately on their gluteals, their thighs, their hips, and their abdominal muscles. This is unfortunate because they are crucial to executing the proper swing. Performing squats, leg lifts, and resistance training for the legs will help you develop these muscle groups.

It is extremely important for a golfer to protect their shoulder joint during weight training. This is because the majority of the golfers the shoulder workout should be performed on the course. There are very few exercises that allow local for to build strength and stamina in this joint while maintaining flexibility.

Before you choose a weight based exercise program, you should research the experience of other people. You will want to choose an exercise program that has high ratings, and plenty of customer testimonials. Your exercise regimen should help you focus your strengths in a way that you will perform better on the course without damaging your joints. If you do not feel confident in your ability to choose an exercise program, consult with a professional to help you design one specifically for your body type.

 

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Soccer – The Right Weight Training Workout

Soccer has got to be one of the most demanding sports played today. When you consider the players in a soccer game cover an estimated 8-12 km of ground in a single game, you realize just how physically demanding the sport really is.

Not only that, but they do not have the rest periods in a soccer game that are typical in other sports, so the conditioning of the athletes is crucial for them to be able to play a good game. It is important for these players to find a good soccer weight training workout that will help them to improve their endurance and strength.

soccer

Although aerobic training is very important to a soccer player to be able to stay in a game, muscle strengthening and building is just as important for endurance, not to mention giving them the ability to sprint and kick the ball with necessary force to be at the top of their game.

Strength training has become a very crucial part of the soccer players’ training program. They need to have balance and power in their bodies in addition to the endurance to cover the ground required in a game.

Soccer players are prone to having larger quadriceps muscles in relation to their hamstrings, which can put them in danger of injury to the smaller muscles. That is why muscle strengthening and building is very important for creating balance in the muscle groups for a soccer player.

While it is true that upper weight training is not as important to the game as lower muscle workouts, it is still important to work out the upper body to improve overall performance and stamina. It is advised to do a lower body workout one day, with one day off in between, and an upper body workout the next day, with another day off, and so forth during the training program.

One of the most effective exercises for the lower body is performing squats with a weight. Lift the weight with your legs about shoulder width apart, with the weight resting on the back of your shoulders. Then lower your body into a squatting position, then rise back up slowly to a standing position. It is recommended to start with a weight that you can comfortably lift, and do 20 squats per session. Take a 5 minute break between sessions, and repeat each session 2 more times.

That is just one of the weight strengthening exercises that work on the lower body. If you are starting a soccer weight training workout, it is important to consult a professional who can design a training program that will be tailored to your specific needs, and which can help to improve your overall performance and soccer playing abilities.

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Success with Strength Training

Strength training is the most effective way to turn your body into a fat burning machine and stay in great shape! It is the most productive form of exercise there is! In order to be successful with strength training there are some basic principles that must be followed if you want to receive the many benefits which strength training has to offer! The three most critical factors are progressive overload, intensity, and recovery.

Progressive overload simply means that you must force your muscles to work harder each time. That means you can’t use the same weight every workout, regardless of how many sets or reps you do. The best way to do this is by attempting to increase the resistance / weight used and, or increase the number of repetitions performed at each workout.

strength training
Intensity is also very important. You must force your body to increase its strength. For example, if you typically do 3 sets of 10 reps on the leg press at 115 pounds, and your legs are capable of doing 16 reps, why is your body going to make any improvements? Your body will only add muscle if you force it to work at a higher level than it is used to. The most effective way to overload your muscles is to perform one or two sets per exercise, and continue each set to muscular failure. That means continuing each set until no more repetitions are possible. Challenge yourself!

Once you have overloaded the target muscle group you must then allow for proper recovery and over compensation. This means you must rest long enough to allow for recovery of the targeted muscle group, the nervous system, refill glycogen stores (Energy stored within your muscles), and also allow enough time for the muscles to make improvements or increases. This process takes time. Generally, it takes between 2-7 days to recover from a strength workout! The harder you work the longer it takes your body to repair. Don’t short-circuit your progress by strength training too often!

Basic Guidelines for Successful Strength Training

Strength train no more than three times per week!

Perform 1-2 sets per exercise!
Choose 1-2 exercises for small muscle groups and 2-3 for large muscle groups. (ex. 2-3 exercises for legs, back, chest, and 1-2 for arms, shoulders, etc.)
Choose no more than 8-10 exercises and work hard on them! . Always keep a record of all workouts! . Take each set to failure or fatigue!
Perform each exercise SLOWL V! Force the muscle to do the work — NOT momentum!
As soon as you see a slow down in progress it’s time to make a change to your program!

Below are some sample workouts and frequently asked questions regarding strength training.
Full-body Workout 1-2 x per week (approx. 30-40 mins.)
Lat pull-down 2 sets Chest press 2 sets Leg press 2 sets
Lateral raise 1 set Bicep curl 1 set
Triceps pushdown 1 set Leg curl 1 set
Leg extension 1 set

Upper / Lower Split
2-3 x per week (approx. 25-40 mins)

A. Upper
Seated row 2 sets
Shoulder press 2 sets
Lat pull-down 1 set
Pectoral fly 1 set
Lateral raise 1 set
Bicep curl 1 set
Triceps pushdown 1 set

B. Lower
Leg curl 2 sets
Glute machine 1 set
Leg press 2 sets
Leg extension 1 set

 

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How Rest Periods Affect Muscle Growth

One of the most important yet most hotly debated and misunderstood aspects of a good workout routine are rest periods. Rest periods are crucial for muscle growth. How do rest periods affect muscle growth and what’s the optimal rest period? Let’s explore these questions.

Why Rest Periods Are Crucial

rest periods
Quick warm up at the home gym

There are a few reasons why rest periods are crucial.

First of all, when you exert your muscles you’re building up lactic acid and hydrogen ions. In small doses, these substances don’t harm your body at all. However, during a workout these substances can really build up to substantial amounts.

These substances will prevent your muscles from exerting themselves fully and cause more fatigue. In other words, it can cause you to tire yourself out without actually making any progress towards your goals.

Even worse, however, is that lactic acid and hydrogen ions can prevent the proper delivery of proteins to your muscles. In other words, your muscles won’t be getting the necessary building blocks they need to build stronger muscles.

The other reason rest periods are crucial is because of the way muscle building works. You’re basically causing tiny micro injuries in your tissues when you work out. Then when you rest, the body repairs the muscles and makes them stronger than before.

If you don’t have proper rest periods, you’ll just continually injure your body without actually gaining muscle. That can be very unhealthy.

What’s the Proper Rest Period?

The proper rest period is about 48 hours for each muscle group. That said, it’s really rare that someone can actually work out one muscle group three times in a week. More realistically, your rest period is probably going to be more like two to four days per muscle group.

Resting your muscle groups doesn’t mean not working out. It basically means you alternate working out different parts of your body. For example, you might work out your upper body today, then work out your lower body two days from now, then work out your upper body again a couple days after that.

Also try not to workout three days in a row. Working out a couple days in a row is fine, but keep in mind that even if you’re switching up the muscle groups it still takes your body a lot of energy to repair tissue every single day.

If you’re continually working out without rest, even if they’re different muscle groups, the micro tissue injuries and the lactic acid will build up.

Rest periods are a critical element of strong muscle growth. Make sure you’re getting enough rest by spacing out your workouts and alternating the muscle groups you’re training. Sometimes the best thing for your muscles and your workout routine is a nice break.

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Why Calories Aren’t a Good Metric

When it comes to losing weight or building muscles, the amount of calories you eat is one of the most common metrics you’ll find talked about. Unfortunately, this simply is not a good metric for tracking and improving performance.

A calorie is just a unit of measurement for energy. One single calorie is equivalent to the amount of energy you would need in heat to raise the temperature of one gram of water one single degree Celsius.

calories

That energy is then converted into food and measured to see how much energy you’re taking into your body.

However, this kind of measurements doesn’t take into account many of the crucial factors that actually determine how much weight you gain or lose.

 It’s Not What You Eat, It’s What’s in Your Body

One often overlooked aspect of calorie counting is the measurement of how many of the calories you eat actually end up in your blood stream.

Two people could eat the same meal and have completely different amounts of fats, vitamins, minerals and toxins absorbed by the body.

One person may take in a lot of the fat and gain weight as a result, while another person could eat the same meal and have the fats pass right through his body.

In this case, what matters really isn’t how many calories you’re eating, but how many calories are absorbed.

It Leaves Out the Quality of the Food

Of course, measuring calories completely leaves out the measurement of the food quality.

Is a calorie of ice cream the same as a calorie from organic lean meat chicken? Just a few decades ago, health experts would have said “yes.” Today however, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Where your calories come from play a much larger role in determining whether you gain weight or lose weight than most people imagine.

Other Metrics

There are many other metrics you can use to track your progress.

One of the best metrics is your body fat percentage. If your body fat percentage is going up, then there’s probably something your dietary habits that you need to change. If it’s going down, you’re probably doing something right.

Keep a food journal and write down everything you eat. Then compare what you ate to the fluctuations in your body fat percentage. This information can help you identify which kinds of meals result in better results for your body.

This is a much more effective approach than measuring raw calories, which have a different effect on different people.

Another metric you can use is BMI. While the BMI equation isn’t perfect, for the majority of people it can provide a very good indicator of overall muscle health.

In short, calories really have limited use for someone who’s looking to build muscle or lose weight. It simply leaves too much information out to be useful. Instead, try using other metrics that actually give you data that can help you follow the correct course.

 

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Three Diet Tips for Serious Muscle Builders

Serious muscle builders treat their diet in an almost scientific, equation-like manner. What is the scientifically proven, most effective way to build more muscles?

It takes a lot of discipline to follow the rigid guidelines for developing your body in the absolute fastest manner. But if you’re really serious, that’s what it’ll take to get results the fastest.

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Here are three dietary tips for serious muscle builders.

 40% Carbohydrates, 20% Fats, 40% Proteins

The 40:20:40 rule has been tested again and again to be the optimal balance of nutrients for losing fat and gaining muscle.

Keep in mind that many foods contain both fats and proteins in them without explicitly being a fatty or protein food. For example, when you’re buying your meats, make sure to read the labels and see what percentage of the meat is actually fat and what percentage is protein.

Also avoid eating carbohydrates close to bedtime.

In the beginning, you’ll likely have to record all the foods you eat in order to get a good sense for how much fat, carbs and proteins you’re taking in. After you get more experience, you’ll be able to estimate your intake with a high degree of accuracy.

Eat in 2.5 Hour Intervals

Don’t binge. Don’t eat big meals. Big meals cause your body to spike up in blood sugar levels and then crash. It also causes food build-up in the digestive system, which is detrimental to muscle growth.

To maintain a steady energy level and to facilitate the fastest growth possible, aim to eat smaller meals every two and a half hours.

That’ll come out to six small meals a day instead of three large meals. If you need snacks in between meals, go for something healthy like mixed nuts.

Cycle Your Caloric Intake

To keep your body from adapting to a certain caloric intake level, regularly cycle your caloric intake.

Consider alternating low calorie days with high calorie days. If you’re trying to gain weight and muscle mass, you can put in more high calorie days, while doing the opposite if you’re trying to drop weight.

This process doesn’t necessarily have to be rigid or planned, but you should still keep track of your calories and consciously decide the night before whether you’re going to have a high or low calorie day tomorrow. Track your high and low calorie days so you can make sure you’re getting a good balance.

These are three diet tips geared specifically towards serious muscle builders. If muscle building is just a hobby, these tips might not be for you. On the other hand, if you’re really dedicated to building the body of your dreams, these tips can help take you to the next level.

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Identify Your “Why” to Build Inner Motivation

One of the most important questions you should ask yourself when you’re beginning your body-building journey is: Why? This question is so crucial, yet many people fail to ask it.

If you have a clear, concise and well-grounded answer to this question, you’ll be able to stick with your exercise routine through good times and bad. You’ll put in the time to study the theory, you’ll put in the time at the gym and you’ll have the inner motivation to put in an extra rep even when your muscles already hurt. It’ll make all the difference.

On the other hand, if you don’t know your “why,” chances are you’ll start your workout routine, stick with it for a few days or weeks and then fall off the bandwagon when the going gets tough. After all, building a great body takes effort. You need to have the motivation to make it happen.

Identifying Your Why

Start with looking at your fitness goals. Different kinds of fitness goals tend to have different motivations.

Are you just trying to lose some weight? If so, what’s the most important thing you think you’d gain by losing that weight? Is it better health, more energy and a likely longer lifespan? Is it more social acceptance? Or more attention from the opposite sex?

If you’re skinny and want to bulk up a bit, again – ask yourself why. Why is having muscle mass better than having a skinny body? How will your life be different if you had more muscle mass?

Look at your goals and ask yourself: Why do I want my body to look this way? Often times finding your “why” is a matter of looking inward rather than outward.

Write Down Your “Why”

As the saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” To keep your “why” alive, write it down on paper and keep it somewhere visible.

On days when you just don’t feel like getting up to go to the gym, that piece of paper can give you the push you need to get off the coach and into the gym.

Writing out your “why” also serves another function. Often times when trying to figure out your why, you’ll have a sense for it but not be able to put it into one concise sentence. Writing it out will help you form your why into a more concrete form.

To sum it up, finding your why is one of the most important aspects of being able to successfully keep up an exercise routine. If you have a strong enough reason for wanting to change your body, you can. Just make sure to keep reminding yourself of that reason, especially when times get tough.

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Compound Exercises: The Fundamentals of Good Muscle Building

When it comes to muscle building, all exercises can be separated into two different camps. On one side are the compound exercises, on the other side are the isolation exercises. They each have very different functions.

As the name might suggest, compound exercises are workouts that exercise multiple muscle groups at the same time. Isolation exercises are exercises that target a specific muscle group.

muscle building

If you’re trying to build muscle, using compound exercises is a much better way to go about it. Both for building overall tone and putting on muscle, compound exercises will get you there faster.

Compound exercises work out your muscles, your tendons, your joints and your ligaments. It puts the most strain on the area of your body that’s the weakest, strengthening the overall system. It’s the “broad strokes” of building overall muscle quickly.

Is There a Time When Isolation Exercises Are Better?

Yes, there is. Isolation exercises are great for targeting and improving a specific muscle group that’s out of balance.

If your right triceps is larger than your left for example, you might want to do some isolation exercises targeting just your left triceps.

Compound exercises are the fastest way to build muscle mass in your body in general. However, compound exercises aren’t great for laser-targeting specific parts of the body to develop.

Isolation exercises also have an additional benefit of being able to put on short-term mass quickly. Professional bodybuilders will often do isolation exercises before a major competition to add an inch or so of muscle. This muscle doesn’t last, however, and will disappear if you stop working out.

To build muscles that really last, start with compound exercises, then refine your body with isolation exercises if imbalances come up.

A Few Popular Compound Exercises

What are some of the most popular and proven compound exercises in bodybuilding?

Perhaps the most popular is the bench press. The bench press works out many of the muscles in your upper body, including the many muscles in your arms and your back.

Squats are another popular compound exercise. Everything from your calves to your thighs to your buttocks is worked out by squats.

Deadlifts are another popular compound exercise. Deadlifts will work out your abs, your leg muscles, your back muscles, your hips and your forearms.

Of course there are many other compound exercises you can choose from depending on your fitness goals. Pick the exercises you use based on the kind of body you want to develop.

In summary, compound exercises are the main building block to a solid workout routine. While isolation exercises are definitely important for sculpting the body and perfecting muscle balance, the actual work of building muscle should be done primarily with compound exercises.

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Four Common Muscle-Building Myths

Bodybuilding is a field that’s often flooded with a lot of conflicting advice. While conflicting advice can sometimes have two right answers, very often the advice that’s given is just plain wrong. In this article, we’ll expose four of the most common muscle-building myths.

Myth #1 – Eat More If You Want to Build Muscle

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One common myth is that if you’re skinny and want to gain muscle, you need to consume a lot of calories. Unfortunately, this is more likely to get you fat than get you built.

Yes, if you want to gain muscle mass you do need to eat a few more calories than you’re burning. But you don’t need to consume 2,000 more calories than you’ve been eating in the past.

Eat more food, but don’t stuff your body with calories. It’s not healthy and won’t help get you where you want to go.

Myth #2 – You Should Tense Your Abs When Lifting Weights

Another common myth is that tensing up your abs when you’re lifting weights will help give your spine more support, thereby reducing the likelihood of injury.

This myth stemmed from a research study that was conducted, showing that people who had back pain tended to have lax abdominal muscles. They concluded that by tensing up the ab muscles, back support was increased which reduced back pain.

This story spread among the bodybuilding community and has come to be accepted as fact today. Unfortunately, it’s just plain wrong.

In reality, your body naturally knows what to do when it’s lifting heavy objects. Yes, you do need to tense up your abs – but your body does that automatically already. If you tense up your abs even more manually, you can throw off the whole system and actually increase your chances of injury.

Myth #3 – The Trick Is to Eat a Lot of Protein

Yes, eating a lot of protein is crucial. However, just increasing the amount of protein you eat isn’t going to cut it.

In order to really make a difference in your muscles, you need to have the right kinds of proteins. You also need to have the right combination of proteins; and you need to eat other foods that support that protein intake.

Yes, increasing proteins is important – but it’s not the magic pill.

Myth #4 – The Path to Losing Fat is Not Eating Fat

Finally, a lot of people who decide to start building muscles decide that they need to cut all fats out of their diet. Unfortunately, this is actually harmful rather than helpful.

Your body needs fats in order to operate properly. Yes, you should definitely get rid of trans fats and oily foods, but it’s important to keep consuming healthy fats so your body has the resources it needs to work properly.

You can actually lose more fat by eating enough of the right kinds of fat than if you tried to cut out all fats from your diet.

These are four of the most common myths in bodybuilding today.

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