It is a common joke among the CrossFit crowd — some body part or muscle is always sore. Whether it be legs from squats, arms from pull ups or chest from push ups, functional movements in hypertrophy ranges break down muscle to build it up. Soreness is the bi-product of that breakdown. But when is soreness a source of concern? Here are ways to gauge if your muscle groups need a break:
1. Your muscles are painful to the touch. Deep tissue is one thing, but if your muscles are sensitive to everyday light touch like hugs, for instance, rest.
2. You can’t perform daily functional tasks. If it’s hard to lift your arms to wash your hair, put on your pants, even sit on the toilet, rest.
3. You dread the workout even though it is movements you love. We all have our favorite workouts, but if the thought of performing 100 air squats after maxing out your squat the day before seems like torture, rest. (Note: Badger avoids programming this way, of course.)
It’s important to remember resting doesn’t give you permission to skip the gym all together. Instead, it gives you a focal point toward other muscle groups that aren’t sore.
In Part 2 of our Sore Series, we’ll discuss ways to effectively recover from soreness.