So, what is muscle soreness/pain? Let’s look at it in more detail. Delayed muscle soreness or better known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is a natural response to unfamiliar efforts that the body exerts. It is an important part of the body’s adaptation process if you want to improve strength and stamina within your muscles and to build hypertrophy (an increase in lean muscle size).
What type of exercises cause the most muscle soreness?
Eccentric muscle contractions play a significant role in this process (Baechle and Earle, 2006). These are forcefully contracting movements while the muscle lengthens such as the downward motion of squats, push-ups, and the lowering phase of a bicep curl.
Now, let’s find out more about overtraining!
Overtraining is a condition that occurs when someone has reached a plateau in their training or has noticed a drop in performance over time. It can be the result of your body not being able to sufficiently recover from training before the next workout on the same body part.
The primary cause of overtraining is due to the lack of, or failure to have rest days between sessions, returning to training too soon after an injury, from too many sessions per week or due to continuously doing sessions that are extensively long in duration.
Prevent overtraining by incorporating rest days into your regime:
This is a topic that is thought of too lightly when it comes to training, in particular for beginners. Many beginners believe that the more exercise, the better results, and some misinformed trainers/coaches believe ‘rest days are for the weak’ – this is not true!
We all know that prevention is more desirable than a cure, therefore gradually increasing exercise intensity, eating properly and getting adequate amounts of sleep are just a few things we can adapt. By adopting these habits, it can help you reach your optimal physique, avoid injury and plateaus, and improve overall performance. Incorporating rest days into your training regime is necessary and beneficial not only for our muscle fibres to recover and replenish but to gain strength, improve muscle endurance and size.
An injury is the first sign of fatigue in most situations in everyday life, whether it is too much work or too much exercise. Rest days are important because our bodies need to have a break in order to recuperate and improve.
Blaechle, T.R., & Earle, R.,W. (1992). Weight Training: Steps to Success Third Edition. USA: Leisure Press