Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sore Work

Got a really nice shout-out from CrossFit DC yesterday.  Thanks so much guys, gonna miss you!

Today, I was sore.  Like, each individual leg muscle was talking to me and telling me they just wanted to chill out and do nothing all day.  But I had other ideas for them, and I will go into why I think it's sometimes smart to "not" listen to your body sometimes later in the post.  After the high volume power cleans yesterday, I wanted to get some light squat snatch work in.  So, I warmed up a little extra to get the blood pumping through the legs, then went ahead and worked on my rusty snatch form.  Got 125# very comfortably, and was confident with the form today.  This was a burst of energy in anticipation to actually work on this with some good weight.

I then got incline DB bench and got 85# no problem (I don't have heavier DB's, so I didn't really have a choice here).  The metcon was a fun one, until I actually did it.

3 rounds for time of:
3 each side Turkish Get Ups
6 Muscle Ups

Used 60# for 6 Turkish Get Up's and felt a little wobbly, but good overall.  The muscles ups were very weak.  I only failed 3 times in total, but I was moving very slowly, and was fighting like crazy each rep.  Those are going into my "skills" work that will be incorporated into my September programming a LOT.  I finished in 15:03.

After the good workout I went out with Andrew and Matt to do some on-field batting practice.  We were all moving very slowly, but it was nice to get on the ball field and mess around for a while.  Our bats were slow, but the guys got some great work in, and I was happy to get that recognizable rush of making solid contact with a baseball.

So, soreness.   This is purely opinion, based on my experience as a fitness nerd and trainer.  Below you will find a few links to articles that talk a little more scientifically about soreness, so, if interested, check those out.

I go through a pretty specific process when I wake up in the morning feeling sore, no matter what the level of soreness might be.  I do a few full body movements (squat, overhead squat, lunge and reach/rotate etc.) to pinpoint the most effected area, then I think about not just yesterdays program, but the past few days.  With the knowledge of what I have done over the past few days, including what I ate, when and how I slept, and what I did in terms of activity/inactivity outside of my workout, I can establish just what type of sore I actually am.

  • Specific use sore
  • Overuse sore
  • injured sore
  • Specific occurrence sore
  • Under-use sore
Obviously, none of these are medical terms by any means, but they get the point across.  Specific use sore is in reference to doing a lift or movement that leads to acute soreness, say heavy deadlifts and a sore lower back, or 12 rounds of strict press and sore shoulders.  Overuse sore is when you feel a combination of overall fatigue along with your soreness, and when you look at your programming you notice that the past 5 days of training involving a large range of motion through your shoulders (pull ups, thrusters, cleans, wall ball, push ups, sumo deadlift high pulls and so on).  If you notice that your programming has led you to focus a lot on a specific area over a given amount of time, there is a good chance you have exhausted that area and are feeling it today.  Injured sore comes directly from an injury.  You will feel this much deeper in your body rather than more surface (which is the common feel with most soreness feelings).  It will also be something coming from overuse sore.  If a week after you realized your programming was shoulder dominant, you still fel some pretty rough soreness in your left shoulder, well, there's a good chance that shoulder is injured.

Specific occurrence sore come from something like a impact trauma, or sleeping wrong, or sitting too long in the car and so on.   This is why looking at the past bunch of days in full detail is a smart thing to do.  If your glutes are very tight, but you have been doing predominately upper body focused exercises for the past four days, but a day ago you drove in your car 5 hours, then sat in a meeting for another 3, your soreness will have nothing to do with the lifting.  I'd bet that if you went for a 1 mile jog, you'd feel as good as new.

Finally, under-use sore.  This is probably very uncommon for most people reading this blog, but there is one time when this will come into play more than you might think.  It is after you take time off.  If you have a week or more off from serious training, then jump right back into it, you will probably get very, very sore.  This occurs because your body is just not used to the stresses of serious training, and is going through a bit of a shock.  If you are very green to exercise, this is actually similar to an overuse sore, just because any usage of the muscles would be way more then the body is used to.  If you are a regular who took some time off, or had to because of travel and such, there is a great chance that working through this will be the right idea because the body will recover very quickly (it already knows how to do everything).

So how do you know what to do?  Should you fight through, take a day off, take two?  Perhaps changing up the workout would be best?  Well, I do know that this can be pretty confusing to most people, so I'll throw out a pretty basic solution.  If you are sore, work out; if you are hurt, don't.  This actually is a ton easier than you might think.  Take the time to move around a bit, and if it's tough to do, but you're not wincing in pain, chances are you will actually benefit from a good workout.  Perhaps tone it down a bit, or even shy away from movements that are geared towards training the areas you are most sore; but being sore should never be an excuse to NOT workout.  

Get yourself a damn good warmup, one that includes foam rolling, dynamic stretching, multi-joint movements and an elevated heart rate (running, jump rope, rowing, etc.).  I will be posting on good warmups in the next couple days, so keep your eyes open for that one.  In the mean time, check out some more detailed info on soreness below.

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

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