All about the stifness
“I don’t feel stiffness or any post-workout muscle pain for the last few months, am I doing something wrong? Should I add more training volume?”
The first thing that needs to be clear is that late-onset muscle pain (DMAT), better known as “soreness” is not essential for hypertrophy, in the sense that we could not say that if you do not feel soreness after training it is a sign that you are not growing.
There are simply certain parts of the body, certain muscle groups that are less prone to the onset of DMAT, this is something that happens to many people. For example, the muscle groups of the legs, tend to have a higher level of DMAT than the shoulders or dorsal muscles. Does that mean that the shoulders and dorsal muscles will have less potential for hypertrophy? Not necessarily. In fact, there will be many cases in which these two muscle groups are a much stronger point (in the sense of being easier to grow) than, for example, the quadriceps.
Therefore, there will be people who have great results without feeling DMAT and there will be people who also have results feeling DMAT in the days following their workouts.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOVERY
We must ask ourselves how our recovery is going, which will make things extremely variable.
At one extreme, we would have the person who does not pay attention to his recovery capacity at all and does not make things easy for his body to recover from training. For example, eating 1000 calories less than their basal requirements, eating all kinds of junk food and sleeping an insufficient amount of hours. It could influence your recovery to a point where you would not be able to perform adequately in training and therefore would not be able to produce enough stimulus to generate DMAT. So if our recovery capabilities are limited, we will also not be able to generate enough stimulus to generate muscle hypertrophy.
If we are in the middle, where recovery is in the middle, fine. It is good enough to have some progress in training, but as it is not as good as it could be, you continuously feel DMAT.
Finally, we could find ourselves in a situation in which the progress and performance in training are the same as in case 2 but the recovery is optimal, making us recover perfectly from the stimuli to which we subject the body in the gym, so we would not feel DMAT.
Therefore, we must understand that the degree of DMAT will not only depend on the stimulus to which we submit the body during training but mainly on the context in which we find ourselves, making it vary greatly depending on each person and how optimized their recovery capabilities are.
If we reach a point where the level of DMAT we feel is so high that it prevents us from training normally by interrupting the rhythm of our programming, the most intelligent strategy in the first place would be to manage the training load in a more efficient and appropriate way to the context, and we could also benefit from both caffeine supplementation and the use of foam roller as a release.
As a conclusion we could say that:
-The fact of feeling DMAT, in no case, will be a symptom of hypertrophy.
-The DMAT will be an indicator of when we can retrain a muscle group.
-As long as we are making progress and our performance increases in training, the less DMAT we feel, the better.