If you were like many, you started a new exercise plan, joined a gym or group class or upped the ante of your current regime this new year. Challenging your body is a must when it comes to improving fitness. However, there is such a thing as too aggressive when it comes to challenging your body properly. I have spent years listening to friends tell stories of jumping in to an aggressive workout program and then cry when they get off the toilet for a week and abandon their new exercises regime within 3 weeks due to frustration or injury. Similarly, I have met some who are so afraid of feeling terrible after a workout, they avoid strength training and a challenge all together. Neither is a good plan or an optimal path to success.
It is normal and good to be a bit sore after a workout. But, being so sore that you can't get off the toilet or put on a bra for a week is not good. Jumping in to an overly aggressive workout can really put your goals at risk. Here's why:
1. Working past the point of maintaining optimal form can result in overuse injuries of primary or supporting muscles.
2. Continuing to workout with super sore muscles invariably leads to compensation and altered mechanics which can lead to injury.
3. In rare cases, severe overtraining can lead to a condition called rhabdomyolysis where muscle breaks down and can cause kidney failure. Rhabdomyolysis typically occurs with traumatic events, but, there have been more cases of this occurring with high intensity exercise.
1. Under-training fails to challenge the muscular system to gain strength or endurance. 2. You may not see the results you want, get frustrated and abandon your exercise plan.
3. You are missing the great benefit of bone building/sustaining benefits of exercise.
While I can't stress enough the benefit of a fitness and movement analysis prior to beginning a program, you can do a self check for some basic movements and activities.
1. Stand against a wall. Can you raise your arms overhead completely without arching your back or straining through your neck? If you can't you should check in with a PT to find out why and fix that before overhead strengthening or downward dog activities.
2. Squat and lunge in front of a mirror. Does your knee or knees move in towards each other or wobble out to the side? Make sure you have good form without weights before adding weight.
3. Incorporating a new program should leave you sore for a day or two. If you are sore for longer, backoff a bit and build up a bit more slowly. Focus on form not reps or sets to start off.
Consider a full body wellness assessment at Newburyport Wellness where you will learn the ins and outs of how your specific body works. Learn what muscle groups are strong, what needs strengthening and how to identify any potential errors in form during your new workout!
Happy work outs!
Is a mom of two, life long exercise & nutrition enthusiast, women's health specialist & physical therapist.