You have probably experienced the delayed muscle pain that occurs 24 to 48 hours after a workout at least once in your life. Usually, muscle pain is experienced when you change the routine of your workouts, increase their intensity, volume, or just start exercising for the first time in your life. It is very a common belief that if there is no muscle pain after a workout, the muscle has not received enough load and therefore will not grow and strengthen, but this is not true.
Muscle Pain Is Caused by The Lactate
Unfortunately, but this is not true. Lactate is a metabolic by-product that is made in the body during intense physical activity. However, it is completely broken down in the body one hour after exercising, so it does not affect delayed muscle pain. Sports medicine research has found that delayed muscle pain is caused by micro-lesions of the connective tissues and muscle fibers that cause inflammation and pain. The greatest muscle damage occurs during eccentric movement (active elongation of muscle fibers under load).
No Pain – No Gain
Usually, muscle pain after a workout is considered a necessity. If there is no pain, then the training was too weak or ineffective. However, this is not true. The main elements of muscle hypertrophy and adaptation for muscle growth and strengthening are muscle mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle micro-injury. If one of these elements predominates in your workout, the muscle will grow, whether you experience delayed muscle pain after your workout. Although pain appears to be a key indicator of muscle adaptation and growth, there is unfortunately no research to support this claim.
Muscle Pain Is Bad
Delayed muscle pain after a workout is completely normal and there is no need to see a doctor. You can feel some pain or tension for a few days. However, if the muscle pain after a workout is very intensive and lasts for a week or more, it indicates that the injury is more serious. Excessive and too frequent muscle damage can reduce muscle strength, training efficiency, and motivation to exercise, so you do not need to injure yourself in every workout. However, you should not be afraid if you feel pain in those muscle groups that received the most load during the workout.
Stretching Before and After A Workout Can Prevent Muscle Pain
Unfortunately, but this is not true. Studies show that static muscle stretching before a workout reduces muscle power and strength. Therefore, before training, it is recommended to perform a dynamic body exercises that would raise the body temperature, prepare our nervous system, ligaments, joints for the upcoming load, improve their mobility, protecting from the traumas. Stretching exercises after a workout do not prevent muscle pain, but when it comes, stretching helps to relieve it. The muscle pain is also relieved by massage, rolling, contrast shower: all this activates blood circulation in the muscle and helps to heal micro-lesions faster. Increased protein intake (accelerates protein synthesis in the muscle), omega-3 fish oil (inhibits inflammatory processes), rest and sleep.