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Been training with too many machines!?

A50#

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I haven't taken a full week off from training in such along time. Its just what I do and part of who I am. I was planning on taking a week or two off since my gym is closed but dug out all my iron and set my home gym back up. The last couple days I have been using free weights and DB's and man am I sore today. I can feel every body part I have hit. I use a lot of machines at the gym these days over free weights and DB's and while I get good workouts and decent gains I haven't been this sore in quite some time. I think I'm on to something here and point proven that sometimes change is a good thing.
 

saudades

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The theory is that when you use free weights, other muscles are recruited to stabilize the movement because we aren't able to quite keep it in a straight line (or arc). When using a machine, those extra recruitments seemingly don't happen because the machine dictates the movement, and we get lax in form. I usually use a lot of machines myself because I don't have a training partner to spot me in most cases. I've only lately been trying to get back to free weights myself (before the gyms closed), and it's definitely harder to do. Flat and incline bench are a couple I've been working on, and even light weight make me very sore right now.
 

Tom

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But is soreness an indicator of muscle growth? If I recall correctly not necessarily. At my age 65 I use a lot of machines as well. My feeling is that as long as there is resistance and muscle contraction there will be a response. The soreness may just be a response to doing something very different to what you were used to. Oddly I recall if I added in a couple of light sets of dumbbell flyes after not having done them for a long time I got sore despite working chest with free weights in other movements. Just an observation.........
 

A50#

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But is soreness an indicator of muscle growth? If I recall correctly not necessarily. At my age 65 I use a lot of machines as well. My feeling is that as long as there is resistance and muscle contraction there will be a response. The soreness may just be a response to doing something very different to what you were used to. Oddly I recall if I added in a couple of light sets of dumbbell flyes after not having done them for a long time I got sore despite working chest with free weights in other movements. Just an observation.........

I have no idea if soreness equates growth either but enjoy it in a weird kinda way and its made me realize I need to mix my routines up a little more frequently and not just get caught up in one method of training.
 

Elvia1023

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Soreness is definitely not an indicator of muscle growth but it's only a good sign and a change is always good. It's great to rotate methods of training occasionally. It's not just a great physical boost but can also be a mental one as well. Just using free weights and going back to the basics will probably be great for you. I think not having gym's open for many could be a good thing as long as they put 100% effort into their home workouts. I have minimal equipment so will be doing lot's of high intensity bodyweight movements with minimal breaks so it will only improve my cardiovascular fitness and get my body primed for when I have gym access again.
 

USMuscle9403

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If I go back to movements I haven't done in a while, even light weight will give me DOMS. Funny, though, ever since I started gear (December) I don't think I've been sore once. I actually miss DOMS :( Soreness obviously isn't an indication of growth, but I can't lie, I do get a strange sense of satisfaction out of it.

I think Tom hit it on the head with stabilizers, as well.
 

A50#

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The theory is that when you use free weights, other muscles are recruited to stabilize the movement because we aren't able to quite keep it in a straight line (or arc). When using a machine, those extra recruitments seemingly don't happen because the machine dictates the movement, and we get lax in form. I usually use a lot of machines myself because I don't have a training partner to spot me in most cases. I've only lately been trying to get back to free weights myself (before the gyms closed), and it's definitely harder to do. Flat and incline bench are a couple I've been working on, and even light weight make me very sore right now.
There has been some debate lately about this being one of the reasons physiques look so much different today then in the past. That hard grainy, deep lines and striated look hardly exists like it did in the 90's and even earlier. You see a lot of the top 20 guys training primarily with machines and perhaps not activating those stabilizer muscles like free weights do. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we see something lacking in development these days?
 

jeffy96

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There has been some debate lately about this being one of the reasons physiques look so much different today then in the past. That hard grainy, deep lines and striated look hardly exists like it did in the 90's and even earlier. You see a lot of the top 20 guys training primarily with machines and perhaps not activating those stabilizer muscles like free weights do. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we see something lacking in development these days?
Interesting... Chris Aceto said the same thing on the Mark Bell Podcast
 

Anabolic_Beast

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I hear ya and feel ya about that soreness! I am used to heavy free weight compound based exercises (Which I always religiously performed the same way at the same days..never switched it up)..it was actually getting to the point where..even though I was smashing my own powerlifting records week after week..I almost never felt sore anymore) and now with the gyms being closed..I did bodyweight exercises for the first time in a long time. Man..just doing 12 sets of 10 reps of super strict dips..has me SO MUCH MORE sore than doing heavy benchpresses, inline presses, db presses..you name it). I could literally feel my ENTIRE back dead sore.my traps..my chest..my upper quads, my shoulders..my neck..my freaking abs..even my freaking GROIN (LOL) super sore from those dips..more than a combination of any of those heavy compound movements ever did for me!
So YEAH brothers you are right about one thing...we aint switching our exercises enough...and we should be!
 

xpoc

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Soreness and muscle growth might be a bro-science thing, but honestly, I still believe in it. Just like I believe in fasted cardio working better than doing it after a meal. I believe in studies, both have been proven to have no greater or lessor impact one way or another. Anecdotally after 35 years of training I still believe in both. The best example I can give is my upper/inner chest. Like just about everyone, I would like mine to be more developed. Occasionally I will set the incline just right and get into a groove. The next day I feel soreness right on the spot I want to improve. Did it really grow? Studies will say the soreness was not an indicator of anything. But I feel very satisfied I stimulated exactly the area I was trying to. So, I for one, welcome soreness and I do believe it is (somehow) and indicator of hypertrophy.
 

weedle

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I always use machines and cables when working chest. Today I used DBs and I couldn't believe how unstable I was when pressing. It took 4 sets until I found my groove. The pump was good.
Curious to see how I feel tomorrow.
 

alfresco

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My opinion . . .

Muscular soreness is not an indicator muscular growth. We know to induce it and we
know how to avoid it.

If you take an elevator to the top of the tall building and walk down your legs will
be sore within 48 hours or less; maybe that night or later that day (me), perhaps the
nest day (most common) but they will get sore. Conversely, it you walk to the top of
a tall building and take the elevator down your legs will not get sore; fatigued and
tired, yes. But not sore.

An eccentric movement is primarily responsible for muscular soreness (think lowering)
and muscular strength and growth. While a concentric contraction (think pushing) will
produce little to no muscular soreness. A isometric / static 'contraction' (holding) will
induce almost crippling muscular soreness but will do little if anything in the way of
promoting muscular growth.

(I can remember long road trips in the Spring when I was rock climbing in Yosemite or
Joshua Tree. The first 2 - 3 days of climbing my forearms would be brutally sore; sore
to the touch. And all I did was hold a static contraction; sometimes, many times longer
than I wanted. :( )

Some exercises will make you crazy sore (me, squats), some exercises will induce zero
muscular soreness regardless of how you preform them (everybody, leg extensions).

Muscular soreness does not indicate or is responsible for certain portion of a muscles
growth. It will provide soreness to a particular area that is under stress as in doing
'preacher curls' which will most definitely make the lower part of your biceps sore
but will not result in any muscular growth localized to the lower biceps. So do not use
muscular soreness as a means of determining the 'effects' of an exercise, believing that
that both the location and the degree of soreness is valuable for evaluating an exercises
productively.

Below some interesting thoughts on muscle soreness by Arthur Jones. (And don't shoot
the messenger.)

"Nobody really knows anything about muscular soreness apart from the fact that it is
misnamed. The working part of a muscle, the contractile tissues, do not have the type
of nerves required to either record or transmit pain; so, in a very real sense, it is not
the ''muscle” that feels pain. But, as we all know, “something” damned sure can get
sore as a result of exercise. It has been suggested that it is the connective tissues that
experience such pain, but that is pure guesswork at best. It has also been suggested
that such soreness results from damage to the muscle fibers; but that suggestion is
wrong for two obvious reasons: one, muscle fibers cannot feel pain; two, while it is true
that a hard exercise performed after a long layoff usually will produce muscular soreness,
it is also true that an equally hard exercise performed the following day will reduce
the degree of soreness.

So, if one hard exercise produced “damage,” then two hard exercises should produce
more damage and thereby make the soreness worse. But that does not happen.
If, after a long layoff from exercise, you perform a hard first workout on a Monday,
then 24 hours later you will have If, after a long layoff from exercise, you perform a
hard first workout on a Monday, then 24 hours later you will have “some,” but not
much, muscular soreness; and 48 hours after the workout it will be a lot worse;
and the degree of soreness will increase day by day for a period of five to six days,
eventually reach a peak, and then gradually go away. Assuming, that is, that you
perform only one exercise and then quit. The soreness from that one hard workout
will not be entirely gone for at least a week, and may last for ten days.

But if, instead, you perform a hard workout every day for three or four days in a row,
then the resulting soreness will not be as bad as it would have been from only one
workout, and it will go away faster. Thus it is obvious that the first workout causes
the soreness but that following workouts tend to reduce and remove the soreness.
so I believe we can scrap the theory about damage to the muscle."

The full article here: http://www.arthurjonesexercise.com/First_Half/49.PDF
 

TheOtherOne55

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Dr. Scott had a good talk on his Muscle Minds Podcast discussing how training soreness is completely unique to the person. Some guys spend 80% of their BBing career pretty fucking sore. Other guys don't get any soreness unless they add 20 sets to a leg day.

I myself are on the almost never sore spectrum. I get FATIGUED and light soreness but nothing where its bad at all. I progress in loading...and for whatever reason that progression doesn't make me sore at all. If I progressed in volume, I'm sure i'd get crushed some days. My legs are sore as hell now because I just started my new garage gym leg works and I added in new movements AND new volume. I was hit hard.

for the guys who do get sore, are you following a plan? Same volume very week, working toward failure? Seems to me like DOMS is a sign of new stimulus.
 

hogan86

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periodization... Changing routine, rep range, weight, and of course exercises is basic... I thought everybody did that?
 

Tom

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I have no idea if soreness equates growth either but enjoy it in a weird kinda way and its made me realize I need to mix my routines up a little more frequently and not just get caught up in one method of training.
Agree 100%!!!! I like the soreness from switching to something new and mixing it up is important to busting out of a rut and keeping the workouts interesting!
 

prodaf

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I haven't taken a full week off from training in such along time. Its just what I do and part of who I am. I was planning on taking a week or two off since my gym is closed but dug out all my iron and set my home gym back up. The last couple days I have been using free weights and DB's and man am I sore today. I can feel every body part I have hit. I use a lot of machines at the gym these days over free weights and DB's and while I get good workouts and decent gains I haven't been this sore in quite some time. I think I'm on to something here and point proven that sometimes change is a good thing.
It's just the effect of the change in training, it's good for you :)
 

jeroendebleser

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When I was doing Scott Abel's Innervation training, every workout would be different to the last in terms of exercises and rep ranges. I don't think he did that specifically to get more soreness out of you but he sure did believe in variation.
 

lookslikesausage

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i no longer do powerlifting so although i still do try to maintain some level of strength in a few lifts i'm not married to certain set and rep schemes anymore. more often than not, i have access to zero machines and am limited in exercise selection due to injuries. what i'm getting at is that a lot of the "work" for me now is based around volume. i have found that when i really up the number of sets my level of soreness seems to increase. it should go without saying that for my working sets, i don't hit failure but often struggle on my last rep on the last few sets usually.

For example, on incline press 3x8, not very sore. 4x8, maybe sore maybe not. 6x6, usually pretty sore. Pullups, 30 reps total no problem. more often than not i try to get 50 total in my workout and i often stick to sets of 5-6 and if 50 is my number i usually will get sore. more recently, i did a leg session and i chose to do 100 lunges per leg followed by deep squats on a slant board (hams to calves), quads very very sore. I was more sore from that session than when i did 8 sets of Hack Squats with reps ranging from 12-20 oddly enough.

TLDR...i personally find soreness to be more relative to volume than anything else.
 

Durro

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I’m pretty much sore somewhere on my body all the time. Sometimes more than others.
When I take a week off from working out (I do that every 3-4 months) by day four I’m not sore anywhere and my body feels weird from not being sore somewhere!
 

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