Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Soreness Doesn't = Effectiveness

The statement "I'm sooooo sore, I had such an awesome workout", is definitely used wayyyyyy too much when describing what some people feel is an effective training session.  As a client, being sore should not be the number one goal of a training session.

As a fitness professional, if you think you deserve consideration for "World's Best Trainer" because you had 100% of your clients tell you that they are barley able to walk after your INSANE LEG workout, you really need to evaluate your contribution to improving peoples overall health and well being. 

I've been there.  I remember when my clients would tell me how sore they were after a workout and I give em' a high five and say "That's what it's all about!"

I was pretty ignorant when I first started taking people though training sessions.  I would have clients perform drop sets, compound sets, and freakin' out of control supersets just so they would remember our training session every time they sat down on a toilet.

My training has evolved over the years and It's come to the point that I really don't want my clients getting sore.  I just want results.  If I can put someone though an effective training session and get them closer to their goal without making them sore, I've gotten to my destination with the least amount of road blocks and red lights.  Our job as trainers is not to "beat our clients down", but to make them better and help them reach their goals.

It's not uncommon for a "Newbie" trainer to use the reason of "lactic acid build up" as to why their client is experiencing unfathomable soreness.  Of course, that is after the "You're sore because I put you through the best training sesson ever", High five.....

There are actually a few reasons why muscles get sore and we develop DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) roughly 24 hours or so after intense exercise.

-Contractile stress:  The actual physical stress placed upon the muscles.  Usually in the eccentric (negative or lowering) phase of an exercise.  The stress causes a small tearing (microtrauma) of the contractile proteins and muscle fiber membranes.

-Cortisol release: through the activation of the stress hormone.  Cortisol is released when blood glucose is low or through intense exercise.

-Excess Free Radicals:  Damage to muscle proteins and can even suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.

Any type of extreme stress on the body through exercise or an irregular movement pattern can lead to muscle soreness.  It's actually easy to make someone sore.  Hell, yard work can make you sore.

The difficult part is to try to recognize a clients work capacity while maintaing adequate exercise technique, improving movement patterns, increasing muscular strength/endurance,  and improving body composition- and knowing when to push forward and when to back off.

If your main goal is to be sore (or make your clients sore) give this workout a try:

-Find a 400 meter track with access to a football field
-Sprint 400 meters
-Perform 50 squats (10 second eccentric / 2 seconds concentric)
-Lunge 50 yards
-Perform 20 jump squats
-Lunge 50 yards
-Sprint  400 meters
-Perform 25 split squats on each leg (5 second eccentric / 1 second concentric)
-Broad Jump 50 yards
-Perform 50 mountain climbers
-Broad Jump 50 yards
-Perform 50 Reverse Lunges
-Sprint 400 meters

Okay, okay.  That's kind of ridiculous right?  I hope you think so.  The scary thing is that this type of workout is going on at parks and tracks everywhere......  Is it effective?  Yeah, maybe for a Navy Seal.

It only took a few seconds to come up with that workout and I'm pretty sure that would create some muscle soreness for just about any "regular" gym goer.  Would I actually have any of my clients attempt something like that?  No.   I care about the people I train and they get results because of appropriate programming, not because I try to destroy every last muscle fiber in their body.

Of course we are all going to get sore from time to time, especially if we make changes with rep ranges and exercise selection.  The goal of the training session should be to get closer to your goal, not to feel like you got beat up by Chuck Norris swinging a Louisville Slugger in one hand and nun chucks in the other.

Exercise selection, rep ranges, and time under tension should be programed with intelligent progressions.  Focus on SMART programming to get to your or your clients goals.  Remember, Harder doesn't mean Smarter.......

1 comment:

Canada Business Directory said...

Appreciating your efforts for sharing this valuable post with us. This article couldn't be more correct. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Lakewood gym