Monster Mash

by Tom Swift

American exercise habits seem to fall into two predominant camps at present: many people seldom move beyond that which is absolutely necessary and many others don’t think they have gotten a good workout unless they are unable to easily move their extremities the next day.

One sign you worked out well is that the next day you don’t feel sore. That’s right. You should not. Feel. Sore.

Pain is your body telling you something and that something isn’t “more, please.”

Now maybe in certain muscles you exerted strenuously you will, 12 to 36 hours post-workout, feel a tightening or a mild level of soreness — when you specifically move those muscles. So, say, the morning after leg day, you might feel a dull sensitivity on your way down a flight of stairs. Or after doing some overhead presses, you extend your shoulder to reach for a shirt in the back of the closet and you feel it in your rear deltoid. That type of sore is fine — let’s you know, in fact, your muscles were exerted. But if the pain is constant, you went too hard, used poor form, or both.

What I can say about my workout yesterday is that I didn’t use poor form!

Alas, I am more sore than I should be following my most aggressive comeback sequence of squats to date: six sets of eight reps.

Specifically, I feel the Frankenstein leg stiffness not just on the basement stairs but also when I sit in the kitchen chair. That is a maneuver is should not have to consciously think about avoiding pain to perform.

At this point, I am fully committed to form. Of my 48 reps, there was one where I went a wee bit shallow. Otherwise, I went though the full range of motion with solid technique, no undue strain,,on each rep of each set. As this was quite a bit of volume for less than a month in, I must have been a bit too aggressive with my weight.

How much to push yourself is never easy to know — in weightlifting and in life.

Lift and learn. Lift and learn.