Stop Chasing Soreness

Any moron can make you sore.⁣ ⁣ Do a thousand kettlebell swings and your hamstrings will be screaming. But did you get better? ⁣ ⁣ Soreness isn’t the answer, nor should it be the goal of training.⁣ ⁣ Charlie Francis, one of the all-time greatest track coaches used to hate his athletes being sore. When you’re sore, you can’t train or compete optimally. ⁣ ⁣ That’s not to say that there’s no place for soreness in a training program or year. But be smart with when you’re adding it in and know that the goal is soreness (muscle damage), when doing so.⁣ ⁣ During the season, coming up to an event or around training sessions is not the time to be sore.⁣ ⁣ There’s an old saying in the S&C industry – “Stimulate, don’t annihilate” – Lee Haney⁣ ⁣

There’s only so much volume our body can recover from each session. We want to chase the Minimum Effective Dose (MED), which is defined as: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. The amount your body needs to stimulate change and adapt to training.⁣ ⁣ To simplify it further, the MED for you to improve your back squats may be 4 sets of 5 reps @100kg. Anything more is redundant. Meaning you won’t get any greater benefit of doing more sets. You COULD go into the gym and do 8 sets of 5 @100kg, but this would only result in more muscle damage, soreness and inflammation. And it would delay the time before you could effectively train for your sport again.⁣ ⁣ Simplified, yes, but you get the point.⁣ ⁣ Soreness isn’t an indicator of a great workout. It’s a sign of muscle damage and inflammation. We don’t want this kind of soreness during the season or around training sessions. We improve our ability to play our sport by training for it and it’s harder to do so when you’re sore. ⁣ ⁣ In the video, you can see a few of our 4pm crew going through 5x2 Trap Bar Deads. The lads make these reps look easy. Yes, we could add more weight and compromise form. Yes, we could add more reps and get them to pull up sore. Or, we can do just enough to stimulate the neural system to adapt and actually get stronger. This way they we don’t delay their ability to recover or effect footy training tomorrow night. #one22

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