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why is soreness so much more pronounced after time off lifting?

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  • why is soreness so much more pronounced after time off lifting?

    i feel physically handicapped dealing with the soreness after taking time off lifting and then coming back and training hard.

    of course, the body is adapting to a somewhat 'new' stimulus, but out of curiosity, what is happening physically in the body that causes this?

    in my experience, after a few weeks of this type of suffering, the body no longer feels the need to make me feel like a decrepit and adapts to minimize soreness, even though i bump up the volume, weight and intensity.


    **last few days i have had little motivation to get out of bed, sit on the toilet, get in/out of my car...all from 5 measly sets of squats > :soapbox:

  • #2
    I believe it is contractile force - the muscles are contracting incredibly hard because they aren't depleted or "worn down". You can get a similar response to this by even taking only a week or two off to let your body get caught up and recovered. If you train the same muscle groups more frequently, this is why you won't be as sore as if you train them less frequently, even if you don't take any time off.

    Skip


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    • #3
      This is calls the repeated bout effect or protective effect: One damaging bout protects against damage the next time, but there are some twists to it. It's likely a combination of at least three things:

      1.) Neurological changes.
      Activation patterns change during the second bout: less reliance upon high threshold motoneurons, i.e., the nervous system learns how to do the movement. This probably explains why higher frequency training (like Fortitude Training) can result in less damage and also produce faster strength gains.

      2.) Alterations in the immune system: The inflammatory response is reduced.

      3.) Changes intrinsic to the muscle: This is thought to be related to an increase in sarcomeres in series in the myofibrils, which prevents what's been called sarcomere "popping" (sarcomeres get over lengthened, damaged and this cuase the inflammatory response and a remodeling, but I suspect this will take more than a few days.)

      ALso, you can do just stretching or non-damaging exercise and reduce DOMS (suggests the issue isn't a matter of the nervous system) , as well as do sub maximal eccentric based exercise that causes damage, but does not protect against a high intensity bout (meaning that those some fibers were not activated / during the 1st bout and/or the nervous system didn't get a learning effect form the 1st bout...)

      So, it's a tricky thing.

      I personally get sore pretty much every time I train.

      -S
      The Book Has Arrived!
      The Book Has Arrived!

      Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


      www.TrueNutrition.com

      2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
      2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
      2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

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      • #4
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l8Y5PEjW6o

        This was a pretty informative video when I was researching something similar. It is from a guy thats gotten his pro card in natural bodybuilding and has a PHD in a related field... I forget what though.

        One thing this doesn't answer though is the joints after some time off. I had to take time off a lot the past few years and I tried going heavy my first day back and my elbow blew up as if it had bursitis. Then, a few days later, it was fine and had no issue... so now I start slow when I take time off, even if I'm capable of going heavier.
        "If people were 1/10th as worried about the rest of their meals as they were about the post workout shake, there would be a hell of a lot more people looking like bodybuilders. "
        -Trop

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        • #5
          @skip, are you saying that taking a week or two off means you'll come back stronger because of 'full' recovery of contractile tissue, whereas constant training means constantly building muscle, but you're not as strong because they never get the chance to operate at 100%?

          @homon
          are you saying the soreness is the body's way to prevent itself from pushing as hard again prior to recovering (roughly when soreness fades)?
          is the '2nd bout' another way of saying 2nd training session?
          and is the 'damage' you refer to the good kind -- muscle breakdown in order to rebuild bigger?

          and can you expand #2 -- what is causing the alteration in immune system (training i presume) and is it for the better or worse?

          "as well as do sub maximal eccentric based exercise that causes damage, but does not protect against a high intensity bout (meaning that those some fibers were not activated / during the 1st bout and/or the nervous system didn't get a learning effect form the 1st bout...)"
          got a little lost here, mainly the protect part. i do understand that high intensity (closer to max efforts) are the only way to recruit all fibers though, but that's about all i understood.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by greensoup View Post
            @homon
            are you saying the soreness is the body's way to prevent itself from pushing as hard again prior to recovering (roughly when soreness fades)?
            is the '2nd bout' another way of saying 2nd training session?
            and is the 'damage' you refer to the good kind -- muscle breakdown in order to rebuild bigger?

            and can you expand #2 -- what is causing the alteration in immune system (training i presume) and is it for the better or worse?

            "as well as do sub maximal eccentric based exercise that causes damage, but does not protect against a high intensity bout (meaning that those some fibers were not activated / during the 1st bout and/or the nervous system didn't get a learning effect form the 1st bout...)"
            got a little lost here, mainly the protect part. i do understand that high intensity (closer to max efforts) are the only way to recruit all fibers though, but that's about all i understood.
            Soreness / pain is a signal that there has been injury to the muscle, so yes, for someone is not a meathead or athlete, this is to protect the person from repeated injury.

            The 2nd bout in the research literature is the next time the subject would repeat a given workout. Depending on what they're trying to study, it could be an identical bout (workout) with the same loads, exercises, etc. or something different (e.g., if they're trying to see if one type of stimulus can create pre-condition a protective effect that carries over to another kind of exercise bout)

            The immune system involvement relates to eh inflammatory response. I know that it is blunted with the repeat bout, but can't tell you the details specifically or the mechanism of this. Some of the issue in figuring what causes what is that the inflammation is a function of the cellular disruption brought on the by the bout, which could be less d/t to the neural or the intrinsically (muscular) adaptations that occur. Less damage due to neural or muscular adaptations would me less inflammation even if there is not adaptation in the immune system that blunts the inflammatory response.

            That last part is about this:

            You can do a damaging but lighter load bout that causes soreness, inflammation, etc.. This does not protect against a higher load bout in the same way that a higher load (identical bout) would. This could be b/c those higher threshold motor units were not activated in the low load bout and thus experience no initial bout essential. For the fibers of those higher threshold motor units, the 2nd (Heavy) bout is actually the first bout, so one might not expect a protective effect. (This coudlbe a matter of what the fiber experiences in the first bout, or that the nervous system was seeing a novel bout in the 2nd bout.)

            I think that the neural theory hold some water b/c you can train like a madman and likely activate a large # of the fibers in a muscle, do this same exercise or series of exercises for weeks on end, and then simply switch exercises, even cut volume in half and get sore as hell. I suspect this has something to do with that new exercise requiring a activation pattern that is "relatively" new, even if someone has been doing that exercise for years (but not every workout).

            -S
            The Book Has Arrived!
            The Book Has Arrived!

            Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


            www.TrueNutrition.com

            2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
            2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
            2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

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            • #7
              understood it a lot more this time, thanks. definitely agree with your last paragraph, holds true for me as well, and is a good reminder to switch exercises when you plateau, something i have been overlooking.

              "The immune system involvement relates to eh inflammatory response."
              this made me lol hard

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by greensoup View Post
                understood it a lot more this time, thanks. definitely agree with your last paragraph, holds true for me as well, and is a good reminder to switch exercises when you plateau, something i have been overlooking.

                "The immune system involvement relates to eh inflammatory response."
                this made me lol hard
                (What made you laugh - the typo?...)

                Sorry about the blasted explanation. I'm just zipping through things lately. Lot of info. to disseminate and not enough time (given my typing speed).

                -S
                The Book Has Arrived!
                The Book Has Arrived!

                Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                www.TrueNutrition.com

                2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

                Comment


                • #9
                  eh i read as an onomatopoeia expressing mediocrity or dissatisfaction, which altered the meaning :p wasn't sure if "the" or "a" was what you were after

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by greensoup View Post
                    @skip, are you saying that taking a week or two off means you'll come back stronger because of 'full' recovery of contractile tissue, whereas constant training means constantly building muscle, but you're not as strong because they never get the chance to operate at 100%?
                    That is correct. This is exactly why I tell my clients not to hold back after they take a cruise or deload week. Most people want to hold back but you are fresh and should be stronger after a cruise or deload week.

                    I have said many times that I wonder what would happen if I only trained every other week because I am almost always stronger when I skip a workout and my joints feel great .... until next week.

                    Skip


                    Facebook: Skip Hill
                    Instagram: @intensemuscle
                    YouTube: TEAMSKIP
                    TikTok: @intensemuscle


                    For Training Inquiries: [email protected]

                    Use discount code "SKIP" and get your TEAM SKIP protein here: www.TrueNutrition.com/TEAMSKIPblend

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by greensoup View Post
                      eh i read as an onomatopoeia expressing mediocrity or dissatisfaction, which altered the meaning :p wasn't sure if "the" or "a" was what you were after
                      Eh... not so funny...

                      -S
                      The Book Has Arrived!
                      The Book Has Arrived!

                      Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                      www.TrueNutrition.com

                      2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                      2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                      2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

                      Comment

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