Does Soreness = Muscle Growth?
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a lot of us come from the school of thought that if there’s no pain then there’s no gain if we’re not getting sore or if we’re not in a little bit of pain during a workout then we’re not getting stronger we’re not growing from it I want to address that in this video and I have to you know be honest I mean I talked about stressors a lot and I talked about things with fasting or things with workouts then if you’re not exposing yourself to a little bit of stress and you have nothing to adapt to right you have to always be pushing yourself to a little bit of a stressful point if you want to grow from it but does that mean that we really need to be getting ourselves brutally sore in order to grow from a workout does soreness equate muscle growth or gains well let’s break it down in this video you are tuned into the Internet’s leading performance nutrition and fat loss channel new videos every single Tuesday Friday and Sunday at 7 a.m. Pacific time and a bunch of other videos peppered in 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results right you’re getting results well that may not be the case you see there’s a couple of things that people think delayed onset muscle soreness is number one they think that it’s just the cellular trauma right it’s just the fact that we’re breaking down muscle fibers and we’re getting sore because of that well that could be the case but signs are certain to show that’s not really what’s happening the other thing that people address a lot is well it’s a lactic acid accumulation ok when we workout you feel that lactic acid burn right like if you were to go and you were to run a bunch of stairs your quads might start to burn that’s lactic acid and all that really is is causing a pretty acidic environments causing an influx of hydrogen ions that are making your muscle pretty acidic and what ends up happening is eventually your body has to neutralize that that doesn’t make you sore for the long term that makes you have that soreness and that burn temporarily and the body flushes it out and that lactate goes to the Cori cycle and gets reconverted back into energy and you’re back to square one so that’s not really the case either but there is some evidence of hydrogen ions along with reactive oxygen species which are just like free radicals and things like that contributing to a small degree of muscle soreness but nothing to really write home about some of the other theories behind muscle soreness are going to be cellular membrane damage like we’re actually damaging a cell you know we’re tearing down muscle fibers but we’re really actually damaging a cell and that cellular damage is causing a little bit of a painful response okay I mean that’s a decent theory and that makes sense and there’s some science to back that up and then of course there’s the actual inflammatory response Theory where we are literally triggering so much damage to an area that we are causing cytokines to trigger inflammation to one specific part of the body we’ve all had those workouts before where like you actually feel swollen in a given area like you went out and you ran a bunch after you haven’t been running for a long time and suddenly your legs are swollen you have some localized edema and swelling that could definitely contribute to some overall soreness but the fact is a lot of us don’t know where delayed onset muscle soreness comes from but there are some interesting studies that are coming out that show that it doesn’t necessarily constitute progress with your overall strength and size so this first study that I want to reference is published in the journal physiology took a look at eight subjects again these eight subjects they had them conduct 210 repetitions with their leg with a voluntary movement on one leg and electrically stimulated or electrically induced contraction on the other leg so basically with one leg they did leg extensions the other leg they were connected some kind of electrical device that caused a contraction and ‘center contraction basically caused the muscle to flex and relax so what they wanted to determine here was what kind of cellular damage would actually occur given each situation and which one had soreness and which one didn’t well the results were pretty darn interesting so they saw that cellular damage occurred in both groups but there was more specific cellular damage in the electrically induced contract group but when you start diving into the data even more you found that only the electrically induced contraction group actually had pain so then when you cross-reference everything you look at the different kind of cells that were broken down and the damage that occurred you found that the electrically induced contraction group ended up having damage to the cells in the connective tissue in between the muscle fibers so we have these long muscle fibers in our muscles right well they kind of bind together parallel with each other but there’s actually connective tissue that binds these together so we think of connective tissue is just the tissue that connects a muscle to a bone or a muscle to a muscle things like that but the fact is like in between the individual muscle fibers we have connective tissue and believe it or not the nerve endings where we actually have that nerve response in that pain response is actually in that connective tissue so what they found is that there was actual cellular damage inside the connective tissue in between the muscles and that is what was leading to the pain you see the overall cellular damage to the outsole muscle level was about the same between the two groups but it was different with the electrically stimulated group because they are actually able to damage the connective tissue probably because there wasn’t a psychosomatic effect you know for example if you’re voluntarily doing an exercise you have a mental aspect that’s gonna shut you off before you go too far right whereas with an electrically stimulated result you’re not going to have that control like that’s just electrically contracting your muscle beyond your brains control so it’s like if someone goes and they take a supplement that’s gonna allow them to push it beyond their mental threshold they have a higher likelihood of getting sore but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the muscle is growing which leads me into this next research piece so this study was published in the Journal of strength and conditioning research you wanted to take a look at more of a high frequency training regime versus a lower frequency training regime so essentially what they did is they said okay one group of people is going to go ahead and they’re going to train one muscle group per day so basically at the en
d of the week they will have obliterated their chest one day their shoulders one day their back one day etc etc the other group they said we want you to hit every single body part every single day but at a lower volume okay so every muscle group every day versus one per day but at the end of the week they had all done the same amount of reps in the same amount of sets it was just one group did a little bit every day in the other group just demolished one muscle group every single day so here’s what they found okay the group that demolished individual muscle groups was significantly more sore when they went in and they demolished their chests and did ten sets of chests or whatever it is they came out really really sore however the group that ended up touching on the muscle groups just a little bit every day ended up having virtually no soreness they didn’t really feel pain at all but here’s where it gets crazy at the end of the study what they found was that there was no difference between the two groups in terms of their gains like they both had the same results so whether they ended up training one muscle group per day or all their muscle groups per day they ended up having the same strength and size gains this is phenomenal stuff because this proves that the group that ended up obliterating themselves in getting super sword didn’t have any better results than those that just touch on the muscle groups a little bit at a time see there’s different stressors that we have to take into consideration but maybe the post workout delayed onset muscle soreness pain stress is not what we should be focusing on you see if you go into the gym and you focus on just blasting your chest you’re adapting to some level of stress but it’s localized at the chest right if you go to the gym and you’re stressing your full body you’re adapting to a different kind of stress a different kind of hormonal stress and enzymatic stress because you’re taxing the whole body so you see it’s not like it’s a wimpy ER workout to not obliterate one body part it’s all about perception in fact I would argue that the systemic overload that you get is probably better with the full-body workout so at the end of the day all you need to be focusing on doing is modulating inflammations that your body can recover at its best regardless of what you’re doing but don’t ever focus on soreness as your goal all that is going to do at the end of the year is make it so you have less chances to train because you’re going to be so sore if your quads are so sore from doing squats that you’re not able to do your cardio I don’t care who you are you’re not going to be as well-rounded of an athlete or a fit person as the person that hasn’t recovery to still get a good workout in either way so as always make sure you’re keeping it locked in here if you have ideas for other workout videos or exercise physiology videos make sure you put them down in the comment section below so that we can review them and get to work out I’ll see you in the next video
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Does Soreness = Muscle Growth? – Thomas DeLauer
Muscle Growth Misconception/Cause(s) of DOMS
Even well-conditioned athletes can get DOMS, if they train harder than usual – but as muscles get familiar with a specific stress, they quickly adapt and react much less strongly
Causes of DOMS
There is some evidence that hydrogen ions and reactive oxygen species – both of which increase in concentration during exercise – may contribute to DOMS
Metabolic stress during exercise can cause changes on a structural level at the cell membrane (sarcolemma)
That is, what you think is “muscle soreness” is at least partially (if not more) “connective tissue” soreness
A study published in the The Journal of Physiology had 8 untrained males (22-27 years) perform 210 maximal eccentric contractions with each leg on an isokinetic dynamometer, voluntarily (VOL) with one leg and electrically induced (ES) with the other leg
Assessments from the skeletal muscle were obtained prior to exercise and at 5, 24, 96 and 192 h post exercise – muscle tenderness rose in VOL and ES after 24 h, and did not differ between groups
In contrast, a significant disruption of cytoskeletal proteins (desmin) and a rise of myogenic growth factors (myogenin) occurred only in ES
Intracellular disruption and destroyed Z-lines were markedly more pronounced in ES (40%) compared with VOL (10%)
Likewise, the increase in satellite cell markers [neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) and paired-box transcription factor (Pax-7)] was more pronounced in ES versus VOL
Finally, staining of the intramuscular connective tissue (tenascin C) was increased equally in ES and VOL after exercise
Demonstrating that in human muscle, the delayed onset of muscle soreness was not significantly different between the two treatments despite marked differences in intramuscular histological markers, in particular myofiber proteins and satellite cell markers
“An increase in tenascin C expression in the mid belly of the skeletal muscle in both legs provides further evidence of a potential role for the extracellular matrix in the phenomenon of delayed onset of muscle soreness”
In other words, it demonstrated that at least some of the pain of muscle soreness stems from the connective tissue holding muscle fibers together, not from the actual fibers themselves
That is, what you think is “muscle soreness” is at least partially (if not more) “connective tissue” soreness
**Nerve fibers that transmit pain are located mainly in the connective tissue found between muscle fibers, as well as the junction between the muscle and tendon. In other words, the source of the pain appears to be the connective tissue that helps to bind muscle fibers together, rather than the actual muscle fibers themselves**
Study – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Researchers found in this study that both high- and low-soreness programs lead to similar gains in muscle strength and size
2 different weekly frequency resistance training (RT) protocols over 8 weeks on muscle strength and muscle hypertrophy in well-trained men. 23 subjects (average age of 26 years) were randomly allocated into the two groups: low frequency or high frequency
The LFRT performed a split-body routine, training each specific muscle group once a week
The HFRT performed a total-body routine, training all muscle groups every session.
Both groups performed the same number of sets (10-15 sets) and exercises (1-2 exercise) per week, 8-12 repetitions maximum (70-80% of 1RM), five times per week
Results showed that both groups improved muscle strength [LFRT and HFRT: bench press = 5.6 kg and 9.7 kg and squat = 8.0 kg and 12.0 kg and lean tissue mass [LFRT and HFRT: total body lean mass = 0.5 kg and 0.8 kg with no difference between groups (bench press, p = 0.168; squat, p = 0.312 and total body lean mass, p = 0.619)
They compared training a muscle once a week with a full-body workout performed five times a week, Monday through Friday
Both groups did the same exercises and the same number of sets, with one key difference
The once-a-week group did two exercises per workout for 5-10 sets per exercise, while the full-body group did 11 exercises for 1-2 sets per exercise.
Subjects in the group that hit each muscle group once a week reported a much higher level of post-exercise muscle soreness
However, the researchers found no significant differences in terms of strength or size gains between the two groups
In other words, both the “low soreness” and “high soreness” training programs increased muscle mass and strength similarly.