SAPT

Off-Season Training: Overhead Athletes

kiss
kiss

Last week, we laid out some general guidelines for athletes heading into their off-seasons. You should read it, if you haven't already. Today, we'll delve into some specifics for overhead athletes (i.e. baseball, softball, javelin, shot put, swimmers (though it seems as if they never have an off-season), etc.). Shoulders are rather complicated and annoyingly fickle joints that can develop irritation easily which is why proper attention MUST be paid to shoulder mechanics and care during the off-season. There is nothing "natural" about throwing a heavy object (or a light one really, really fast) and shoulders can get all kinds of whacky over a long, repetitive season. I'm going to keep it sweet and simple.

1. Restore lost mobility and improve stability

- Hips: they get locked up, especially on athletes that travel a lot during the season (helloooo long bus rides). Restoring mobility will go a long way in preventing hip impingements, angry knees, and allow for freer movements in general. Locked up hips will prevent safe, powerful throws and batting, thus, now is the time, Padawans, to regain what was lost!

- Lats: Usually tighten up on the throwing side and create a lovely posture that flares the rib cage and makes breathing not-so-efficient. Loosen up these bad boys!

- Breathing patterns: Those need to be re-trained (or trained for the first time), too. Breathing affects EVERYTHING. Learning proper breathing mechanics will do a lot to restore mobility (T-spine, shoulder, and hips), increase stability (lower back and abdominal cavity), and create a more efficient athlete (more oxygen with less energy expended to get it). I've written about it before HERE.

- Pecs and biceps: These guys are gunky and fibrotic and nasty. Self-myofacial release is good, finding a good manual therapist would be even better, to help knead that junk out! One caveat: make sure that as you release these two bad boys, you also add stability back into the shoulder. This means activating lower and mid-traps and the rotator cuff muscles to retrain them to work well again. Why? Most likely, the pecs and biceps are doing a LOT of stabilization of the shoulder (which they shouldn't be doing so much) so if you take that away through releasing them, one of two things will happen: 1) injury will occur since there's nothing holding stuff in place, 2) no injury, but the pec and/or bicep will tighten right back up again as your body's way of producing stability. So, mobilize then stabilize!

2. Improve scapula movement and stability

Along the lines of restoring mobility everywhere, the scapula need particular attention in overhead athletes as they are responsible for pain-free, overhead movements. Below is a handy-dandy chart for understanding scapula movements:

shoulder-scapular-motions
shoulder-scapular-motions

Now, over the course of the season, an overhead athlete will often get stuck in downward rotation therefore at in the early off-season (and throughout really) we want to focus on upward rotation of the scapula. Exercises like forearm wallslides are fantastic for this.

Eric Cressey notes that the scapula stabilizers often fatigue more quickly than the rotator cuff muscles. This means the scapula doesn't glide how it should on the rib cage, which leads to a mechanical disadvantage for the rotator cuff muscles, which leads to impingements/pain/unstable shoulders.

We need a freely gliding scapula to get overhead pain-free.
We need a freely gliding scapula to get overhead pain-free.

As we increase the upward rotation exercises, we want to limit exercises that will pull the athlete back into downward rotation, i.e. holding heavy dumbbells at their sides, farmer walks with the weight at sides, even deadlifts.(whoa now, I'm not saying don't deadlift, but limit the volume on the heavy pulls for a few weeks, and like I said in the last post, training speed work will limit the amount of load yanking down on those blades.) Instead, athletes can lunge or farmer carry in the goblet position (aka, one bell at their chest). 

There is more to be said, but let us move on, shall we?

3. Limit med ball work

At SAPT, we back off on aggressive med ball throwing variations for the first couple weeks post season as the athletes have been aggressively rotating all season. Instead, we'll sub in some drills that challenge the vestibular such as single-leg overhead medicine ball taps to the wall. (I don't have a video, sorry.)

Or, stability drills such as this:

If we do give them some low-intensity throws, we'll have them perform one less set on their throwing side than on the non-throwing side.

4. Limit reactive work

We don't usually program a lot of sprint work or jumps the first few weeks. If we do program jumps, we'll mitigate the deceleration component by adding band resistance:

5. Keep intensity on the lower end

As mentioned in the last post, instead of piling on weight, we enjoy utilizing isometric holds, slow negatives, and varying tempos to reap the most benefit from the least amount of weight. We also maintain lower volumes over all with total program.

There you have it! Tips to maximize the off-season and lay a strong, stable foundation for the following season!

Strength Training for Youths: Pre-Puberty

Last week's post listed persuasive (I think so anyway) reasons why kids should enroll in a strength training program. In that post is also a definition of a smart, sound training program. If you can't remember, here's the refresher; it involves none of the max effort, grunting/screaming/shouting version that, unfortunately, is the stereotype of our industry. Parents: NOT ALL TRAINING PROGRAMS ARE CREATED EQUAL!!!

Matter of fact, if you find your 9 year-old doing the same workout as your 16 year-old, something is dreadfully amiss. This post and the next will shed light on the differences that you should see between age groups, broadly, pre-puberty and post-puberty. Now, one thing to keep in mind as you read, these are general guidelines that apply to most of the population. There will be some puberty-stricken kids that are not prepared to train like their peers (meaning, they will be regressed considerably) and there will be some young kiddos who's physical development far exceeds their peers (though it does NOT mean they're ready for large loads; instead they'll have more advanced bodyweight and tempo variations.).

Right, let's hop in.

According to the American Pediatric Association, puberty starts between 8-13 for girls, and 10-14 for boys. For today's discussion, let's assume 15 years is the game changer in physical development. In my experience, kids under 15 still are pretty goofy and often don't have the muscular development that a 15 or 16 year old will (boy or girl). Between 8-15 a LOT of growth happens (and beyond for most boys, but we'll ignore that for now). That segues nicely into my first point:

Strength to weight ratio is a key factor to keep in mind while programming for younger kids. As I mentioned in the prior post, kids grow rapidly and without strength training, their muscle power will be left in the dust. Inadequate muscular strength will force kids to rely on their passive restraints during athletic movement. For example: a baseball pitch (or throw) will require strength in the lower body to produce rotation power, strength in the upper back and rotator cuff to maintain scapular and humeral (shoulder blade and upper arm bone) stability, and a strong core to transfer the power from lower to upper body.

This means, Jonny's shoulder and elbow ligaments are going to take a beating if he's throwing with weak muscles.

Another example: changing direction on a soccer field. The athlete must be strong enough to decelerate herself and then accelerate in a new direction. What happens if her hamstrings, glutes, quads, and core aren't strong enough to stop the motion, stabilize her joints, and reapply force in a new direction? (and this just her body weight, mind you, no external load) Strained (at best) knee ligaments, which typically manifests as the nefarious "knee pain," or, at worst, torn ligaments (good-bye ACL...).

A strength training program for a young athlete that uses heavy weights will only continue to teach the athlete to rely on passive restraints. Why? The athlete is already at a disadvantage by way of rapid growth (the strength:weight ratio is already out-of-whack). Therefore, exercises that utilize body weight or very low weights will avoid overloading the muscles and teach the athlete how to actually use their muscle mass.

The next point is tandem- teaching motor control and body awareness to younger athletes will improve their performance quickly. Kids need to understand MOVEMENTS before they can be expected to load those movements. Focusing on technique is crucial during this growing stage as their adjusting to their new bodies. Teaching kids how to use their hips (instead of their knees or lower back) in a squatting, deadlifting, and rotational pattern will benefit them immensely. Drills that include cross body movements (such as rolls and crawls, meaning left and right side have to coordinate) build "movement" bridges across the two hemispheres of the brain. A coordinated brain means a coordinated body.

Balance drills, such as standing on one foot while performing a medicine ball toss, are excellent in training the vestibular systems (inner ear) as well as teaching the brain to understand the feedback being sent by the foot.

The third point, is key. It must be FUN! Older kids often have the maturity to focus. Younger kids... it's debatable. Some kids are rock stars and can focus better than most adults, however, those athletes are few and far between. Most kids between 8-13 have shorter attention spans and lower stamina than their teenage counterparts. Therefore, we try to make the drills as fun as possible, while still teaching them technique and increasing strength. It's like hiding cauliflower in mac-n-cheese. Hide the good stuff with the delicious stuff. Un-fun sessions lead to unmotivated and easily-distracted athletes... which we all know will not advance their potential at all.

To sum it all up:

1. Focus on increasing strength:weight ratio utilizing body weight/light weight variations to teach young athletes to use their muscles.

2. Incorporate coordination and body awareness drills to TEACH MOVEMENT!

3. Keep the program fun!

The Battlefield is in the Kitchen: Part II

Maria Halkiadakis, once again, graces the Blog of SAPT. Take it away Maria!

Last Friday’s post began the discussion, The Battlefield is in the Kitchen.  Before moving on to Part II let’s do a quick recap on the topic…

Training alone is not enough to help anyone achieve the results they are after. Common sense tells us that eating right and exercising are the two key elements to taking care of our bodies. It is important to find a balance between the two by not over training or depriving oneself of proper nutrition. Translation = pick up the right amount of heavy things and eat the right amount of good food.

Today we are focusing on what needs to be done in the kitchen to reach our goals. Last week we discussed how planning and preparation are crucial factors. This means creating weekly menus, using these menus to make grocery lists, and dedicating time to prepare meals. Two days a week my kitchen counter looks a little something like this…

We also discussed purging your pantry last week. If you find yourself eating junk food because it is around the house, get rid of it! Donate it, throw it in the trash, or give it away. It is perfectly okay to have snack foods in the kitchen, but it needs to be the healthy kind, which brings me to the first new point of today’s discussion.

EAT REAL FOOD

There are no secrets or anything new to be learned here. Just eat real food. It really is that easy.  Eating a variety of real food, meaning fruit, vegetables, meats, grains, legumes, nuts/seeds, and dairy, will provide the human body all the nourishment it needs.

A good rule of thumb is not to eat anything that has more than five ingredients. Unless of course you made it yourself and know it is filled with wholesome ingredients.  For example, grains and dairy products are perfectly acceptable as part of a healthy diet.However, be cautious when deciding which ones to purchase from the grocery store. As far as ingredients go on prepackaged items, less is definitely more. (Note from Kelsey: How To Read Food Labels.)

EAT IN MODERATION

Slow down, set aside the fork for a minute, and enjoy how your food tastes. I hate seeing people practically inhale their meals. Food is NOT fuel, it is so much more than that. Therefore, don’t treat your body as if you would treat your car at the gas pump: by filling up with the cheap stuff and going on with your day.

Food is delicious! Slow down and enjoy every bite of it. Strive to be mindful of what you are eating while you are eating it. Avoid distractions during meals such as watching television or talking on the phone. Doing these things won’t allow you to pay proper attention to your body’s hunger signals.

It takes approximately 20 minutes for the human body to realize it’s full. For this reason it would make sense to allow yourself at least 20 minutes to eat a meal.

Below are a few tips:

- Try drinking water between bites to slow down.

- Eat meals with friends or family whenever possible.

- Lengthen mealtime by enjoying their company and engaging in conversation. As a bonus you’ll be killing two birds with one stone; adopting healthier habits and spending time with the people you care about.

Sometimes you may need to eat in a hurry. If this happens make an active decision to do so and pay attention to your portion size realizing you may not feel full by the time you have eaten enough.

You do not have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods and restaurants.  Follow the 90% rule, meaning aim to keep your diet on point about 90% of the week.  If you eat 3 meals a day, roughly 21 meals per week, and 90% of that is 19. Therefore, you can eat out twice a week, make your favorite meal twice a week, or some combination of the two.

MAKE SMALL CHANGES

Don’t expect to do a complete 180 over night. This is why hasty, lofty New Year’s resolutions tend to fail. In order to be successful it is better to start by making small changes rather than throwing all caution to the wind and diving into unknown territory. Here are a few ways to implement small changes into your routine:

  • Start by swapping out snacks like chips or candy with something healthier such as fruits, veggies, or nuts.
  • Try learning one new recipe a week or every other week if you all ready have some healthy favorites.
  • Gradually reduce portion sizes if you are eating too much.
  • Be willing to try new things! You might just fall in love with a fruit or vegetable you’ve never had before.
  • Substitute things in your diet one at a time. For example, swapping out yogurt with a list of unpronounceable ingredients you can’t understand for plain yogurt with fruit or honey mixed in.

Remember to apply these suggestions at your own pace. Set small term goals while you are planning your menu each week and write one at the top of it, such as, “this week I will put one less teaspoon of sugar in my coffee and next week I would like to try this new kale recipe.”

Take care of your body, feed it right, and you’ll see the results you are working so hard to achieve.  Use this advice, find people to support you, and ask for help if you need it.  It may not always be easy, but you can do it!

Sweat and Sacrifice: It’s OK to be Uncomfortable

Kidding! It's not Kelsey. Goose is back in the blogging world and has a solid post, just in time for the holidays!

Every now and then random people approach me asking, "How do I get abs?" "How do I lose weight?"

My answer: “Well, what are you doing right now?”

It’s surprising to me how much people underestimate the amount of time and hard work it takes for change to happen. Whether you’re an athlete not breaking a sweat in the weight room or a Desk Jockey who thinks walking 25 mins on a treadmill is a hard workout, the outcome is the same. If you don’t put in the work you don’t get any results!

NO RESULTS FOR YOU!!

A simple, yet extremely effective, rule to live by is: If you aren’t sweating you aren’t trying! Not breaking a sweat can be attributed to 1 or more of the following:

- Improper warm-up etiquette

- Moving too slowly

- Using too light of a weight

Wrong! Errr-body got time for dat!

Are you warming up properly? If you aren’t breaking a light sweat, lubricating your joints, or elevating your heart rate, what exactly are you doing?? A great quote by Olympic Weightlifting Guru, Greg Everett, “If you’re not warming-up, you’re not tough or elite, you’re lazy.”

If you skip or half-do youe warm up, well done! You've set yourself up for an injury or, at best, an unproductive workout!

How fast are you moving through your workout? If your workout speed can be described as “Slower than molasses on a winter day” we’ve got a problem on our hands! Going too slowly or taking too long between sets of exercises is not only a reason for the lack of perspiration but is also detrimental to strength gains.

Don’t be that guy!

Are you going heavy enough?? Once passed the learning period, where technique needs to be mastered, there is no reason to do “easy” weights. If the weight/load of an exercise isn’t in the least bit challenging there is no point in simply going through the motions.

Motivation: Somewhere in China there is a child warming up with you max!

Getting sweaty and uncomfortable are side effects of truly pushing the limits of your body in you quest for greatness! A concept that one of my coaches constantly drilled into my head was “If you are comfortable, you are not giving your 100%." Whether you are conditioning or resistance training, I believe this concept to be true.

The human mind is a very powerful thing; it is also incredibly lazy if you let it be. When things start to get tough, when your legs burn and you are breathing heavily, your mind likes to tell you that’s enough. However, the reality is that your body is still good to keep going, you’ve just got to find the resolve to push through the fatigue and finish whatever your objective is. That is mental toughness, that is what separates 1st from 2nd place. No one ever said getting better was a walk in the park. Getting better sucks, it’s painful, and super frustrating. But in the end when all the work has been done in the weight room and on the field, when you’ve lost countless ounces of sweat and winced through sore muscles, that’s when results will show. And that’s when PRs will be broken and victory will be gained.

Rant over. Happy Holidays!

"That's A Load of...." Debunking Media "Fitness" Terms

Glance at the front of the magazines at grocery stores and you'll see a variety of "fitness" or "health" claims such as "tone," "fat-blasting," and other such nonsense as that. I find myself rolling my eyes so much that my occipital (eye) muscles are as big as a body builder's biceps. Sorry, strength coach joke.

Moving on, today I'm going to rip through debunk a few of those outrageous claims so that you too can strengthen your occipital muscles as you wait in the grocery check-out line. I can not possibly cover all the silliness out there, but I've narrowed it down to a few of the common ones (that seem to appear month after month on magazines such as "Self" or "Woman's Day"). A lot of these claims are found on women's magazines, mainly because I think we're fed more crap than the fellas, but they apply to both genders.

CLAIM: "Tone," as in "tone those jiggly arms"- First off, let me remind you that everyone's arm jiggles; that's what happens when a muscle is relaxed. The main definition of "Tone" in exercise physiology is: the normal state of elastic tension or partial contraction in resting muscles. For example, the postural are constantly contracting and relaxing to keep you upright (or slouched...stand up straight!). The fitness magazine "tone" refers to the ability to actually see the muscles' shapely form. (So really, they should say "definition" not "tone.")

In order for a muscle group to be defined, say your arms, two things must occur: 1) the muscle is big enough to be seen (so those stupid tricep kick-backs or bicep curls with 5 pound weight ain't gonna cut it when it comes to muscle growth.) and 2) there needs to be less subcutaneous (under the skin) fat. How does one accomplish bigger muscles with less body fat? Why, picking up heavy stuff and eating a vegetable and protein laden-diet! Glance through a women's magazine at those "arm toning" exercises and you tell me if you think they would actually succeed. As for eating healthy, the details look different for each person (i.e. paleo, vegan, omnivore, etc.), however it should be 90-100% REAL FOOD with minimal crap (though a Christmas cookie or two is ok.) 90% of the time.

FACT: "Tone" means: less fat, bigger muscles. 

CLAIM: "Fat-blasting" food- The media makes it seems as if these foods (and it's a new one each week!) has heavy artillery and upon entrance to the body, starts blowing up fat cells left and right.

Uh, sorry, that's not how the body works. Fat cells, once formed, don't go away. They do however change size depending on how much fat is stored in them. So, in order to reduce the amount of fat in each cell, the body needs to be in a caloric deficit. This means you need to eat LESS than what you're using up, for the basic metabolic functions, exercise, and other activities. The body will burn it's excess energy, aka stored fat, to make up for the lack of energy intake. Altering body composition is a life style change; I guarantee you that just eating a serving or two of "fat blasting" foods will NOT be enough to reverse years of bad eating habits. There is a wealth of solid (and scientific) advice out there, and there are definitely more details than I plan on elaborating in this post (maybe another time...) however it boils down to this:

Stop eating crap, eat real food, and pick up heavy things. Take note that I put the nutritional advice first. You can not out-train a crappy diet, so clean that up first! There will be a blog post later on this month regarding that whole aspect of fat-loss.

FACT: Eating a whole-foods based diet, with minimal crap, and exercising regularly OVER TIME will reduce body fat levels.

CLAIM: "Target" body part, usually for fat loss- This myth just won't die! It keeps reappearing week after week on the covers of magazines and on the interwebz. People, YOU CANNOT SPOT REDUCE!!! The body doesn't say, "Oh, I see that you are doing thousands of crunches, I should reduce the body fat I store there so you can have a flat tummy." Really, it says, "For the love of all things iron, STOP CRANKING ON THE SPINE ! It HATES that!" Targeting is about as effective as trying to grow eye-stalks.

Oh, if grunting made it so!

For "targeting trouble areas" see the above two points: an overall body fat reduction will promote definition of muscles and those "problem areas" will be not so problematic. Again, it's a life-style change, not a quick fix.

*This is not to say that isolation work has no purpose. How else are you supposed to have guns for the ladies? Some isolation work thrown in to an already compound-movement heavy (lots of multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts, pushups, pull ups etc) work out can provide some extra stimulation to a muscle group that can lead to hypertrophy (growth).

FACT: Compound movements should be the bulk of you training program. That combined with a diet of whole foods will reduce body fat levels and thus reducing the need to "target" certain areas. (anyone picking up on a theme?)

CLAIM: This is an actual quote from a celebrity trainer, who is a disgrace to our industry:

"Oftentimes, heavy weights can tear the muscle fiber causing it to bulk, but using a lighter weight for a longer duration and allowing your body to move in many different ways to target all of the muscles will lengthen them without tearing."

-Tracy Anderson

Multiple other coaches and trainers have ripped into this (and other nonsensical claims that spew forth from her mouth). Sadly, she is not the ONLY trainer out there who thinks this is true, she just happens to profess this poop where more people can read it. I'm not going to touch the first half of that statement except to say, uh, that's the method by which the body grows stronger...by tearing and repair muscles. Oi!

The phrase "lengthening muscles" is also found, unfortunately, in other fitness "experts" mouths and in their writings. It is physiologically impossible to lengthen a muscle without breaking the bones and extending them or altering the attachment points of the muscle. Yes, the muscles lengthen and shorten during normal movements, however, the actual length of the muscle doesn't change. Got a problem with that? Take it up with your parents, they passed the genes along.

I think that term is really just "tone" said in a different way. Ultimately, the phrase is intended to indicate "definition" just like the word "tone." If a trainer says/writes that claim, it's a pretty solid indication that the trainer/coach has absolutely NO idea how physiology works and therefore you should turn and flee. I'd also like to note her splendid use of the buzzword, "target."

FACT: "Lengthening" a muscle is impossible, and the intended implication is "definition" which is attained via the methods described ad nauseam above. 

Now, my SAPT readers, you are armed with the knowledge to see through the baloney that fitness magazines and products proudly display and you have the ability to recall the truth: a great, healthy body is created by... do I really need to say it again? Don't allow the stupidity of the outrageous claims dissuade you from thinking that anything but consistent hard work (both in the kitchen and in the gym) will accomplish your performance and/or physique goals.

The Fallacy of More Is Better

Let us travel back in time... not that far, just to Monday's post. Building on the theme of "Magic Bullet" fitness, there's another fallacy that runs alongside Magic Bullet, kinda like those weird fish that attach themselves to sharks:

It's the mentality that more is better, if you're not gasping for breath and barely able to stand after the workout, then all is for naught! Oh, ho my friends! How far from the truth does that little fish swim.

This is not to say that I don't enjoy a good heart-pounding, sweat-pouring workout now and again (they're fun) or that you should never push yourself beyond your comfort zone. What I am saying is that progress and the value of a training session should not be measured on a) soreness b) tiredness c) vomiting. Matter fact, if the last one does occur, that's the signal your body gives you that you were an idiot and pushed it beyond it's ability to recover (both during the session and possibly after, depending on other stressors). Way to go, bucko.

Let's clear the air a bit and distinguish between soreness that leads to progress and soreness that leads to poop. (that's a technical term by the way.)

Most people, at some point or another, have experienced DOMS (the "Jaws" theme always plays in my head when I hear "DOMS"). DOMS is delayed onset muscle soreness. It usually manifests any where from 12-72 hours after a training session. There's a couple different theories on what contributes to DOMS  but for the most part, it stems from microtrauma (itty bitty tears) to the muscle fibers during movements. The body repairs these tears to be more resilient to tears in the future, thus the muscle becomes bigger and stronger. It's similar to forming a callus: the skin is sore and tender, but eventually toughens up to prevent future damage.

This type of soreness is the kind we want for it leads to progress. Think about when you first start training again after a break or introduce a new exercise, at first whoooo buddy! Your muscles are pretty tender, but after a couple more sessions, those same exercises no longer leave you incapacitated afterwards. Those who train regularly, be it lifting, running, lightsaber dueling, will rarely be sore after a workout. This is a sign of progress since the muscles are now more resilient to the training stimulus (and they're stronger to boot!). Do you see how gauging a good workout on soreness is a rather inaccurate measure? The opposite is in fact true: the lack of soreness (over time) is an indication that the training program has a stellar balance of tearing the muscles and repairing them.

In contrast, workouts that cause soreness (or, one step further, real pain) either during or immediately after, are NOT ideal. Immediate soreness/pain is an indication that the body has been pushed too far, and potentially incurred more serious damage to the muscles, joints, or tendons that in can recover from. Over time, if the body isn't allowed to fully recover between training sessions, this could lead to actual injuries. This is bad. Instead of spending energy to repair the microtrauma of the muscles, the body is going to direct resources to repair the more serious damage.

For example, let's say you do a workout of 100 burpees, 400 m sprints, and 100 pushups. Your muscles will incur the microtrauma mentioned above (the kind that leads to strength gains), but you probably also had some damage done to the muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulders, elbows, ankles, and spine. All of which the body will prioritize in healing before dealing with the smaller tears in the muscles. Overall, you're probably not going to get much out of this workout in terms of strength and/or performance gains as your body is spending it's time with emergency repair crews at the joints and tendons (which, from your body's standpoint, are more important).

 Therefore, if a workout that causes immediate soreness that's an indicator that the body has been pushed beyond it's limits (either at the muscles or joints or both) and will have a harder time recovering from the workout. As we learned from above, the recovery process is KEY to growing stronger and increasing performance. Thus, if recovery is impaired...fill in the blank, folks. (hint: progress is impaired)

So if you're feeling beat-up, exhausted, and shaky after each workout, I would say it's time to reevaluate your training. Sessions that lead to that are not sustainable over time. If the body can't recover, stress will pile up (even if you don't feel mentally stressed) the physical stress can actually inhibit your fitness goals by either a) cortisol, a stress-related hormone, is jacked up which hinders overall recovery (if it's too high. A little coritsol is part of the recovery process, but chronically high levels can eventually mess everything up). b) injury. Your poor body is just pooped. Bummer.

Take-Away:

1. Soreness is ok, especially in a new program or after a new exercise is introduced. Over time, the soreness will decrease and that's a mark of progress (the body becoming stronger and more resilient).

This is not to say that you should NEVER be sore; part of progressing is stressing the system a bit beyond what it's used to. There should be days throughout your lifetime of training that soreness occurs. But, it should not be....

2. Immediate soreness/pain, particularly around joints or the spine. This means the workout was perhaps more than the body could handle and, despite no actual injury you can see, the body IS injured and will require a longer recovery period. If that recovery time is absent, eventually injuries will manifest.

3. Basing the effectiveness of a workout on "soreness" or "tiredness" is not a fair gauge and often the wrong measuring stick. Instead, one should track progress by strength goals, clothes fitting (or not fitting. Growing some hamstrings can cause pants to be tighter), aerobic markers (such as, running a 100m faster, or the ability to rest less during a weight circuit), and other such performance markers over time.

A witty remark escapes me at the moment, therefore, just assume I said something that would be of a high caliber wit.