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A Question About Soreness

A parent of an athlete who wanted to start training asked me about how soreness in training works

Soreness typically results from when a movement is introduced to an athlete that they’ve never done before, and the initial loading is too aggressive; or the athlete is using familiar movements but the volume in the periodization plan is either too high overall, or is taking abrupt jumps

A good periodization plan and appropriate dosage when introducing new movements ensures that soreness in training is rare, and brief and slight in nature if and when it occurs

There’s usually two camps when it comes to how athletes view soreness

Group One sees soreness as an important marker of progress, and think that if they didn’t get sore, they didn’t do enough

Group Two sees soreness as something to be concerned and worried about if it occurs

The answer of course is that neither group is correct

For Group One, soreness is a horrible indicator of progress, as soreness is wholly unnecessary to get results

You can get sore picking weeds. That doesn’t mean you got faster and more explosive.

If anything, soreness is a decent gauge you probably did too much, ESPECIALLY as an athlete

For Group Two, soreness if it does occur is not something to be feared. Soreness has no negative impact on performance

One of the reasons training has such a profound positive impact psychologically, is it develops confidence. You learn your body isn’t fragile or made out of porcelain, and it’s capable of much more than you realize.

A good attitude to have is not being worried whether some soreness may occur a little bit here and there, but rather: I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I’m excited to develop my physical abilities to the level God made it capable of!


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