When is Sore Too Sore?

According to webmd.com muscle soreness is “simply a symptom of using your muscles and placing stresses on them that are leading to adaptations to make them stronger and better able to perform the task the next time.” This is great news for me given that I am sore every day of my life. I must constantly be getting stronger. So does this mean I am pushing my body the right amount when I workout or am I pushing my body too much? How do we know when too much is too much?

This past Monday, the workout had 3 rounds which included 25 reps of kettlebell swings. At 1.5 pd. That’s about 55 lbs. That is a total of 75 reps. That is about 70 more reps than I have ever done at that weight. That’s 75 reps of swinging almost half my body weight. They sucked doing them but I was amazed that I was able to string even as many as 10 together.  I was the last one done in the workout but I didn’t care. I felt very accomplished by 7 am on a Monday morning.

My arms felt destroyed after though. When I got home and was getting ready to shower, it took me three tries to get my shirt off as I couldn’t even lift my arms. (Not cute). The rest of the day I could feel the soreness. The next morning the soreness was there but it was more of like a fatigue kind of feeling. I of course still worked out (rest day on a Tuesday? Not an option). The weight I was lifting felt heavier than it usually did and I struggled to string even 5 pull ups together. Not my best work.

The odd thing is I got through 2 other workouts this week that involved a lot of arms without feeling like I was pushing it too hard. It was more that stuff just felt like more of a challenge. Other athletes in the Monday classes were hurting too this week. Some pushed through and some scaled down.

This all has me wonder: was doing 75 reps of kettlebell swings at 1.5 pd too ambitious? Was it smart or was it dumb? Is it worth pushing yourself so much in one workout that it leaves your body feeling fatigued the rest of the week?

According to www.menshealth.com, “The real expert says: If you’re not sore to the touch and you have your full range of motion, go to the gym. Start with 10 minutes of cycling, then exercise the achy muscle by performing no more than three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions using a weight that’s no heavier than 30 percent of your one-rep maximum, says Docherty.”

So that’s one school of thought. It’s still ok, just don’t go too heavy.

How does this fit into really wanting to train harder? What if say (totally hypothetical) you signed up for a team comp 3 months away and you really don’t want to be the weakest person on the team? Do you suck it up buttercup and keep training? Can you have light days? Because let’s face it, if you CrossFit or do other high intensity workouts, every day you would be sore. That would mean a lot of light days.

I will defer to you, my friends and experts. Was 75 reps of 1.5 pd kb swings awesome or stupid? When is sore too sore?

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