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Muscle Growth and Pain


Muscle Growth and Pain
Posted on: 2013-09-25 15:34:38 Ft.

Do your muscles need to be sore after a workout to grow? Nope! Here’s why.

In a recent study performed in Northern Arizona University, researchers had two groups take part in a rigorous 8-week training program. However, before the groups started, Group 1 performed 3 weeks of “gradual” training to help them “ramp up” for the 8 weeks of intense workouts to come. Group 2 did nothing during these 3 weeks.

During the entire study, both groups did the same amount of total work (sets X reps X load). That means Group 1 spread this over 11 weeks with the first 3 weeks being a little easier than the last 8. Whereas Group 2 spread this over 8 weeks and hit it hard right from the get-go. In other words, Group 2 had it much tougher during their training. 

At the end of the study, Group 2 had higher markers of muscle damage than Group 1 in their bloodstream (over five times more). Group 2 also reported higher levels of muscle soreness and exertion than Group 1. In spite of this, muscle size and strength gains were equal in both groups.1 Therefore, while muscle soreness may indicate you did some damage in the gym, it’s not the “end all, be all” to building bigger, stronger muscles.

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1. Flann KL, et al. 2011. Muscle damage and muscle remodeling: no pain, no gain? J Exp Biol. Feb 15; 214(Pt 4):674-9.