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Question
Posted by: ca | 2004/01/13

stifness-overtraining?

Hi Conrad,
If your muscles are stiff the following day does that necessarity mean ur muscles have been overworked considering i'm quite a seasoned gym goer. I like to train 2 days on and 1 day off, am a 29 year old guy.

Is it wise not to train when your muscles are still stiff as they are still undergoing repair?
Tks
ca

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Our expert says:
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Hi this question has not come through to Conrad, but hopefully I can answer it just as well.

If you experience this type of stiffness very regularly, then it is possible that you should even consider seeing a doctor because there are conditions that can cause this stiffness. Having said that, it’s far more common for people to get stiff when they train at a level that the muscles are not accustomed to. Now, even a seasoned gym goer can constantly be pushing themselves to levels that they have not previously reached. So, if you go to the gym after a day or two off, and you do exercises using really heavy weights, then some stiffness the next day is pretty normal, and you can expect this. However, if you go in and do the same or an easier workout and you are stiff for weeks then it’s a possible problem that I was referring to earlier.

Now, only you will know if the session syoua re oding are a little too hard for your muscles to adapt to. Eventually they will, but it would be prudent to back off a little and try a few sessions where you do fewer reps with a lighter weight, or your run for a little shorter, or do whatever you are doing but at a lighter level. IF you do this, then you will see whether it is the session causing the stiffness.

As for the more long term effects, it’s probably not great to get that stiff all the time. It is natural and unavoidable, but you can limit it by just regulating the intensity. The same goes for training when you are stiff. You must remember that the muscles were damaged, and so they are still being repaired, as you point out, and so it’s not a great idea to damage then when they are recovering. But, a very light session is often a good idea, provided you don’t overdo. I would just alter the intensity, play with some weights etc. and see if you can find an intensity where it works.

Good luck

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