Am I doing something wrong?
These two questions were asked of me tonight after I finished a small-group training. They were followed up with “we feel great! We can move and feel stronger lifting,” but my ladies were concerned that they could move and weren’t sore to the point of not wanting to move after the work-outs I put them through.
I told them it’s because I’m good at what I do. I program warm-ups and cool-downs appropriate for the movements in the work-outs. I stress proper form and rest periods between sets instead of constantly upping the weight and speed.
I told them I’ve worked with trainers who are of the mindset that if their client is still able to walk out of the gym, they didn’t do their job right. I’ve been coached by a trainer who wanted to see me in pain at the end of the session to feel like they knew what they were doing. That’s how people get hurt.
The long and short of it is this: I’ve used myself, a few family members, and a few friends as guinea pigs for how I design work-outs. I don’t ask my clients to do anything I haven’t done. Since I need to be able to move to function as an EMT, I worked and studied hard to be able to train myself and clients efficiently but not leave everyone in physical pain. Moms can pick up their little ones. Firefighters can still climb ladders. Dads can still fix their kids vehicles.
That’s not to say you’ll never be sore. If you start working a muscle you forgot you had, you’ll probably get an unpleasant reminder that muscle does exist. If you max out, like on a deadlift, you’re asking a lot of your body and using a lot of energy. I speak from experience when I say that first, you will not want to move because you have just used so much energy for that single lift. Second, you will soon realize that you need food, and a LOT of it, to get that energy back. Then, and it might take a day or two, but the soreness will kick in because you just asked/ordered your muscles to move more weight than your brain thinks is possible. If you change the style of your work-out, like switch from endurance training to power lifting, you’re likely to feel a little sore after the first several work-outs. If you never work on flexibility, your range of motion may be limited which affects your muscles. Dehydration can increase muscle pain.
To summarize: if your trainer tells you that you should be in physical pain after a session and for several days afterwards, you may want to look for a new trainer. I always advise my clients that they may feel sore after a work-out especially two days after that training session, but stretching again when they get home and staying hydrated can reduce or eliminate that soreness.
And then they are all ready to train again!