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Should you work out with sore muscles? – Here’s everything you need to know about it!

Finally decided to eat healthier and exercise more? Great! Starting an exercise program can be a real challenge for some of us. It’s hard enough to overcome your inner badass and make the time to work out, but add to that the nasty muscle soreness that comes with exercising. Whether it’s after a strenuous thigh workout or a Crossfit workout, every athlete has experienced muscle soreness at least once. The pain is sometimes so severe that even simple things like climbing stairs or brushing your teeth become a real pain. And just then we all ask ourselves the question: Should you train with sore muscles or is now forced break? Do the muscles have to regenerate first or can we go straight back to the gym? And how can sore muscles be prevented or alleviated? We will explain all this and much more to you in the following!

What is muscle soreness and how does it develop?

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We’ve all been there – after an intense workout or after a long break from the gym, sore muscles are already making themselves known and our muscles feel a little more immobile and heavy for a while. The good news is that in most cases the soreness is harmless and will be healed by the body on its own. And while sore muscles are proof to some people that they’ve really challenged themselves, for others it could destroy motivation. Muscle soreness is always caused by overloading the muscles and is an alarm signal from the body that we have overworked them.

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Too much strain leads to small micro-injuries in the fibers, which tear during intense or unusual movements. Water penetrates through the resulting tears, causing the muscles to swell and trigger muscle soreness. This usually occurs during movements that have a yielding (eccentric) component. To understand what exactly this is, we have an example for you. For example, when you do biceps curls, it is not the lifting of the dumbbell, but the controlled lowering that is an unfamiliar and strenuous movement for our muscles.

Should you train with sore muscles?

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Unfortunately, there is no single answer to the question of whether you can train with sore muscles or whether you should wait until the pain has passed. It depends a bit on how severe the pain is. If you feel only a slight muscle soreness, you can definitely continue your workout. However, in order for the body to fully recover, it is recommended to rest the affected muscles for at least 48 hours. But especially if you are used to regular training, you will definitely find it difficult to take a longer break due to muscle soreness. Since sore muscles are often accompanied by restricted movement, you should avoid intense exercise. On the one hand, it is often no longer possible to perform the exercises correctly, and on the other hand, overtraining the affected muscle groups can lead to worse damage.

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As long as you give the affected muscles a little rest, you can continue to exercise with soreness without any problems. However, you should not load the muscle group that is currently hurting. For example, if you’ve done a hard triceps workout and can barely move your arms the next day, you can work your legs and butt. Or try something new and resort to low-impact exercise methods, such as yoga, slow jogging, cycling or swimming. In addition, make sure that the muscles where you have sore muscles should not be used as accessory muscles either. Light exercise stimulates blood flow and may even help relieve the pain.

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Before you head to the gym and work out with sore muscles, learn to recognize your body’s signals first. If the pain is too intense and you’re having trouble using your muscles for everyday movements, be sure to take a short break from working out. Or you feel weak and powerless for a few days after training? Then don’t force yourself to continue exercising. Sport should not be a compulsory program, but first and foremost we should enjoy it.

These are the typical muscle soreness symptoms

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Especially fitness beginners are often of the opinion that they have a strong muscle soreness, when in reality you have none or only a slight one. But then there’s the opposite: people who have been training for a long time tend to overlook or minimize the pain. That, in turn, can lead to a greater risk of injury and even regression in training in the long run. How you can recognize a sore muscle and what the typical symptoms are, we explain below.

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  • Muscle soreness usually does not occur immediately, but 24 to 48 hours after training. The pain is strongest on the second day and then slowly subsides. If the symptoms persist significantly longer, you should consult a doctor.
  • Even with minimal movement without load, slight pain is felt in the muscle.
  • The affected muscles are clearly more tense, sensitive to pressure, hard and stiff.
  • A very limited range of motion is another sign of muscle soreness. If you have trouble getting out of bed or walking normally after a leg workout, you can assume that your body needs a few more days of rest.

Exercising with sore muscles and what helps?

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Prevention is better than cure and so that you don’t train with sore muscles, we’ll tell you how to prevent them.

  • Warm-up and cool-down are an absolute must for every workout. A short warm-up prepares the muscles for the upcoming load and prevents injuries at the same time. The cool-down, on the other hand, normalizes the heart rate and respiratory rate and regenerates the muscles after the workout.
  • Consume enough protein – A balanced and healthy diet may not always prevent muscle soreness, but it can help muscles recover. It’s especially important for this to make sure you’re consuming enough protein and including high-quality protein sources in your diet.
  • Know your limits – If you overestimate yourself and your muscles and push them too hard, soreness is inevitable. This also applies to new exercises to which the body must first get used. Fitness beginners in particular should gradually increase the intensity and not train for too long or too hard.

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