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Soreness and Muscle Recovery: Separating Fact from Fiction

Soreness and Recovery mythsRecovery from training and athletic competitions is extremely important for today’s athletes. If athletes are unable to recover properly, they run the risk of performing at sub-par levels or injuring themselves because their body is not fully healed and prepared for competition. Unfortunately, there are some soreness and recovery myths that have spread in recent years, leading to some confusion about best practices for muscle recovery and how soreness is related to the way the body builds muscle and recovers.

Myth: If I’m Not Sore, I Must be Fully Recovered

In The Box magazine, professor of sports medicine Bob LeFavi writes that soreness really has no impact on whether or not your muscles are fully recovered from a workout. It is possible to not be sore and still not be fully recovered, which is why it is important to give yourself enough time to recover. You may even need to invest in some recovery technology if you want to maximize the benefits of muscle recovery after a hard workout.

Myth: If My Muscle Is Sore, I Should Not Train It

This is one of the most prominent soreness and recovery myths. Normal levels of soreness are common after training your muscles; the condition is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. According to WebMD, soreness is a normal condition that is caused by damage to the muscle fibers that occurs during a workout. In response to this damage sustained during workouts, muscle fibers rebuild stronger than they were previously, which is what causes strength gains from muscle training. As long as your soreness is not extremely severe or affecting your range of motion, you can exercise normally.

Myth: If I Stretch Properly Before Exercise, I Will Not Be Sore Or Get Hurt

While stretching does help you improve your range of motion, there is no conclusive link between stretching before working out and a lowered rate of injury. In 2004, the National Institute of Health published a study that found that there is insufficient evidence to confirm the association between stretching and a reduction of injury rate. Another NIH study from 2012 also found that stretching did not reduce soreness after workouts.

Myth: I Should Always Be Sore After A Workout

Another of the more common soreness and recovery myths is that being sore is a sign of a good workout, so one should always be sore after training. Paige Waehner, a certified personal trainer from Chicago, writes that soreness is normal if you are new to working out, but it should lessen over time. If not, you may need to add more recovery time between workouts.

Myth: Overuse Is The Only Contributing Factor To Soreness

While the amount you use your muscles does play a key role in how sore you are, the other big factor in soreness levels is your recovery. With the right kind of recovery techniques, your muscle fibers are able to repair themselves more efficiently. This means you can minimize the amount of time that you take for recovery between workouts or athletic competitions and lower your soreness levels. Proper recovery can also prevent DOMS after your workouts.

Do not let soreness and recovery myths get in the way of your workout habits. If you are looking for a way to greatly reduce the amount of soreness you feel after a workout, be sure to look into electrical muscle stimulation treatment. Electrical muscle stimulation
treatment has been scientifically proven to help improve the way the muscles recover from training, which leads to better performance during workouts and the ability to take less time between training sessions.