Various Pains and Discomfort

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KenDowns
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Various Pains and Discomfort

Post by KenDowns » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:26 pm

As a beginner, I'm experiencing various pains and discomfort, and I was hoping for some feedback on whether I am interpreting them correctly.

My overall question in raising these details is, when do we go to the doctor (because the forum is not for medical advice), and when might we be experiencing the normal effects of adaptation and other things.

BEFORE I WAS WORKING OUT - RESTLESS MUSCLES

About a year ago I used to get leg discomfort around bedtime. A doctor friend told me there is an actual syndrome called "Restless Leg Syndrome" that the doctors do not understand but which is reported here and there.

Not to get all mystical, but inasmuch as we ought to be able to listen to what our bodies are telling us, it seemed my legs were saying, "Heavens, we haven't had any fun since we were 20, PLEASE take us out for some exercise!" So I started doing Good Mornings and it went away. That was part of the chain of events that led me to a real exercise regimen, exrx.net, and this forum.


MUSCLE SORENESS

As far as I can tell, this is a Good Thing. DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness seems to mean you did the right thing exercising, the workout was intense enough to tear down the muscle so it's telling you something significant happened.

It also seems this is a great way to judge how many rest days you need. Instead of deciding in advance "I will always do x days of rest", I can just wait until the soreness goes away. If I repeat the exercise on the first day of no soreness (so far never more than 3 days), I've always been able to do a more intense workout the next time around.

So is this all around a Good Thing?


MUSCLE PAIN THAT RESTRICTS MOTION

This I'm pretty sure is always a Bad Thing, and has so far happened to me only once. Way in the beginning, around week 3, I sat down to do my dumbbell shoulder press, and my upper left back said, "No way!" As soon as I initiated the lift I got a stabbing pain in my upper left back.

I wish I could say why it went away. I went to lateral raises for a couple of exercise days, did more general back, and it just plain "magically" went away.

Should I have taken this more seriously? Should beginners expect this once or twice, and is it as simple as just switching things around and re-focusing on form?


JOINT PAIN THAT RESTRICTS MOTION

This seems to be a Bad Thing and means you are doing something wrong.

I've had this happen twice, in my elbows and knees. For the elbows it would begin during a Triceps exercise and remain for days afterward. I wish I could say I knew why it went away, but my only clue was that I carefully observed my own motions and realized I was rotating my elbow near full extension. After concentrating very hard on not doing that, it went away and has never come back.

For my knees, it seems to have been simple form on any kind of squat, I was sending my knees very far forward past my toes. When I stopped doing that I got a more intense feeling in quads and glutes, and the knee pain went away.

So once again, it seems to be all about form, no?


CONNECTIVE TISSUE

I'm nowhere near enough knowledgeable to be able to distinguish pain in ligaments, tendons or other connective tissue, so to me it is all "connective tissue".

The only place I have this is the inside of my elbows, after any pulling motion. Stretching seems to help (unless that's all a myth and psycho-somatic), but here in Week 15 I still feel most of the time as if I wish I could stretch my arms out to about 3 times their normal length and somehow get this weird inner elbow feeling to go away.

I have no idea if this is good, bad, or indifferent, so that's what I'm curious about. Is this something to worry about? Is this a fit topic for the forum or a "see your doctor" topic?


BONE PAIN

OK, laugh at me here, I don't know what else to call this. I have no idea if we can really feel our bones, or if it just feels like that is where the pain is coming from.

The first time I tried the various intense leg exercises I got this searing pain in my left shin. A doctor friend said it was very likely shin splints, caused by improperly putting weight on your toes during leg exercises. So I've pulled out Calf Raises and, as always, refocused on form. The pain is now much less during actual exercises, and seems to be diminishing, but is also mildly present when not exercising.

So my guess here is any serious pain that does not restrict motion but does not go away is most likely an injury shaping up or already full blown. Make sense?


PAIN DURING LIFT

This is something I ran into at about week 10, and I believe is some kind of "end of innocence" thing. In short, as a skinny guy with no experience, my early weeks were blissful easy regular increases of weight and a sort of, "gosh this is easier than I thought" type of experience. Doing one set to fail was easy because somewhere around 12 or 13 reps it just wasn't going to happen.

But somewhere in there as the weights got heavier, without realizing it, I began to stop when I felt worn out, not even aware I had shifted my definition of "fail" from the muscle group to an overall feeling of being worn out. What do you know, the progress stopped.

Once I realized this I started pushing past that feeling to keep doing reps until the muscle group would fail. This was, in short, agony, and remains that way. It's this overwhelming mental pressure to put down those heavy weights and stop doing this insane and unnecessary exertion.

Is this the "no pain no gain" feeling? If so, then this is a Good Thing. It's strange because it is far more intense and non-localized than any of the pains listed above, but seems to be necessary to keep making gains. Am I out on a limb here, or is this what is supposed to be happening?


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Post by Immortal » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:05 pm

if you have all theses types of pain take a week off.. and judging your recovery purely on if your sore or not is a really abd idea. A muscle that has gone through an intense workout usually takes 5 to 7 days to fully heal and recover. Not only that, even if your msucles do heal in time, your bones, nervous system, and serious tissues need to recover still for they take longer to recover.

THe only reason why you were making gains that fast before was because

A) you were using light weight so it wasnt as intense

B)you were a begginner, anyone just starting to lift will get bigger gains then someone who has been lifting for years even if they both have the same routine.


Also, you have to change up your diet if your still skinny. Skinny guys that start lifting need to add a serious amounts of carbs and fat to their diet to help them recover better, you are what is called and ectomorph, google ectomoprh body type

So all in all, make a workout routine that gives your muscles more rest and have a set routine. WOkring out simply because your not sore anymore is just not a good idea.

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Post by Immortal » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:07 pm

better yet, my suggestion to you is take a week or 2 off, reset your body, and look up the stickys here

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Post by nygmen » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:27 pm

Immortal wrote:better yet, my suggestion to you is take a week or 2 off, reset your body, and look up the stickys here
Maybe I'm mis-reading the OP, but why would you take 2 weeks off on purpose?

I'm not a fan of the scheduled week off I hear people talk about as it is, but 14 days, on purpose? Why?

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Post by KenDowns » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:36 pm

nygmen wrote:
Immortal wrote:better yet, my suggestion to you is take a week or 2 off, reset your body, and look up the stickys here
Maybe I'm mis-reading the OP, but why would you take 2 weeks off on purpose?
I'm also a little puzzled. I did not mean to imply I am experiencing all of those aches and pains right now and all at once, though perhaps I was more verbose than required.

At this point I find intense workouts lead to 1-3 days of DOMS, and for an intense workout I must always push past the exertion pain, that feeling that this is no longer fun and easy and why don't we quit and watch TV instead? If this is normal I would feel I was on the right track. If it is not normal then I'd be worried that I was doing something wrong.


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Re: Various Pains and Discomfort

Post by nygmen » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:41 pm

KenDowns wrote:

MUSCLE SORENESS


So is this all around a Good Thing?
At your stage of development? Yes.

But what it means to me and will to you soon: You haven't done that lift ever or in awhile and/or you aren't eating enough to recover from what you are doing.
MUSCLE PAIN THAT RESTRICTS MOTION


Should I have taken this more seriously? Should beginners expect this once or twice, and is it as simple as just switching things around and re-focusing on form?
If it's gone, be careful and forget about it.

As a newb you are going to obsess over every little ache and pain. I know I sure did. So just don't be a dumbass and move forward.

Keep your form tight until you are comfortable with the movement, and once you feel good, feel free to find "your groove".
JOINT PAIN THAT RESTRICTS MOTION

This seems to be a Bad Thing and means you are doing something wrong.

I've had this happen twice, in my elbows and knees. For the elbows it would begin during a Triceps exercise and remain for days afterward. I wish I could say I knew why it went away, but my only clue was that I carefully observed my own motions and realized I was rotating my elbow near full extension. After concentrating very hard on not doing that, it went away and has never come back.

For my knees, it seems to have been simple form on any kind of squat, I was sending my knees very far forward past my toes. When I stopped doing that I got a more intense feeling in quads and glutes, and the knee pain went away.

So once again, it seems to be all about form, no?
Yes and no. I have elbow issues, that well, are never going to pass if I work my arms. I want big arms so i work them...

Some people just can't do tricep work or a lot of pressing without messing up their elbows. You can try avoiding lockout.
CONNECTIVE TISSUE

I'm nowhere near enough knowledgeable to be able to distinguish pain in ligaments, tendons or other connective tissue, so to me it is all "connective tissue".

The only place I have this is the inside of my elbows, after any pulling motion. Stretching seems to help (unless that's all a myth and psycho-somatic), but here in Week 15 I still feel most of the time as if I wish I could stretch my arms out to about 3 times their normal length and somehow get this weird inner elbow feeling to go away.

I have no idea if this is good, bad, or indifferent, so that's what I'm curious about. Is this something to worry about? Is this a fit topic for the forum or a "see your doctor" topic?
lol, if you get this after curls or certain rowing, it is totally normal and nothing to worry about.
BONE PAIN

OK, laugh at me here, I don't know what else to call this. I have no idea if we can really feel our bones, or if it just feels like that is where the pain is coming from.

The first time I tried the various intense leg exercises I got this searing pain in my left shin. A doctor friend said it was very likely shin splints, caused by improperly putting weight on your toes during leg exercises. So I've pulled out Calf Raises and, as always, refocused on form. The pain is now much less during actual exercises, and seems to be diminishing, but is also mildly present when not exercising.

So my guess here is any serious pain that does not restrict motion but does not go away is most likely an injury shaping up or already full blown. Make sense?
I have the same problem. I solved it with 30min walks every morning.

Put your dog on a leash and walk him around the block a few times every morning.
PAIN DURING LIFT
, but seems to be necessary to keep making gains. Am I out on a limb here, or is this what is supposed to be happening?
This one sounds like progress to me. Which makes it all sorts of good pain.

Figuring out good v. bad pain is tough, but most people can do it. Trust your instincts. I'm going to assume your just being a bit paranoid as you sound just like me a year or so ago.

Worst case: deload for a couple sessions, but in all honestly I think you are fine based on what I read. But I'm not a doctor, nor should this be taken as medical advice.

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Post by nygmen » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:00 pm

Immortal wrote:if you have all theses types of pain take a week off.. and judging your recovery purely on if your sore or not is a really abd idea. A muscle that has gone through an intense workout usually takes 5 to 7 days to fully heal and recover. Not only that, even if your msucles do heal in time, your bones, nervous system, and serious tissues need to recover still for they take longer to recover.
5-7 days? No way.

Every person, and every muscle is different. My traps don't need 5-7 days. But then again I can't squat and deadlift twice in one week, assuming I do them separate days.

Diet plays a huge role here.

And I don't see the need for a week off, not at all.
Also, you have to change up your diet if your still skinny. Skinny guys that start lifting need to add a serious amounts of carbs and fat to their diet to help them recover better, you are what is called and ectomorph, google ectomoprh body type
Please God don't google those terms. Don't cloud your mind with those types of details that don't matter.

As I learned from Tim, this really is as simple as Eat, Lift, Sleep. Day in and day out.

Want to get bigger, eat more, smaller, eat less.

Simple.

And you forgot about protein above.
So all in all, make a workout routine that gives your muscles more rest and have a set routine. WOkring out simply because your not sore anymore is just not a good idea.
No offense, but you should be wary of giving out advice at this point. Because you know enough to be dangerous. I agree with most of this last bit, but not for the same reasons you are posting it.

You don't need a set routine, particularly as you learn your body and as you become more and more advanced. Now people love to follow %'s and the periodization type stuff and that is fine, but you don't NEED one to make progress. It helps a lot of people to have a set routine, but not everyone will benefit from it.

Using DOMS as a recovery indicator is a bad idea for someone with time under the bar, because you are often able to hit a muscle again even though you are still sore. Someone who is still a beginner would be better served using DOMS like this if only for the experience of listening to their body and learning it's responses to different stimuli.

The last thing you need is some newb who's bench form stinks to high heaven hearing that DOMS isn't a good way to judge recovery and goes in and Overhead presses the day after bench and tears his anterior delt.

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Re: Various Pains and Discomfort

Post by KenDowns » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:53 pm

nygmem:

Thanks for the detailed reply. My big take-homes here are to eat more and do that 30 minute walk. I'll try that for a couple of weeks at least before posting any more questions.

I also got a kick out of the comments on being paranoid about every ache and pain. I tell myself I'm being careful and conscientious, but paranoid describes it just as well.

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:39 am

KenDowns: I think the reason that you have not gotten very many people involved in answering you is that your original post was very long and detailed. The first time I saw it I didn't take time to read it. You inspired answers from 2 guys, one a relatively inexperienced but very enthusiastic lifter, the other a very experienced, successful lifter who tends to have some unique approaches, though he is smart enough and experienced enough to pull it off for himself.

So it would be nice if a few others jumped in. I just want to comment about DOMS. It's neither good or bad, it just is. You get it when you do a lift that is new for you or that you haven't done for a while, or when you do a lift with a big increase in intensity. It is not an indicator of either effectiveness nor of danger. Many successful lifters make progress for long periods of time without ever experiencing it. It usually shows up in the first 24 hours after lifting, and is usually gone by 48 to 72 hours after. It's probably not wise to lift while it is still strong, but there is no need to wait until it resolves completely.

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Post by KPj » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:11 am

With the elbow pain, it can also simply be too much too soon.

I decided a couple of months ago to start training my arms, and all of a sudden I had elbow problems. They hurt doing pretty much everything. So I dropped the arm work, and all of a sudden it went away.

Throughout the week I had added at least 3 exercises for Tri's, and 3 for Bi's. Ranging from sets of 5 to sets of 10-15. So, for example sake, take a middle ground and go for 6 arm exercises, 3 sets each exercise, for sets of 8. That's a total of 144 reps. I think the smallest load i used was about 25lbs, so, again for example sake, lets take a big underestimation and assume every rep used 25lbs. That's 144*25lbs. So, all of a sudden, I added an extra 3600lbs of volume onto my elbow joints. That's on top of heavy pressing and rowing, and that number is also an underestimation.

So no wonder I had elbow pain. I actually can't believe it confused me at first. I'm not saying this is definitely the problem anyone here, but it's worth considering.

When my pain went away, I started consistently adding push downs and light curl variations, mostly hammer and reverse, because they felt like the easiest on the joints. I never pushed it, just put them into the end of my upper body days as a means of "easing" myself in.

So far so good, the last 3 weeks or so, i've done an extra day, where i'm now doing what I done before, and have no pain whatsoever. It's one of the most basic rules of lifting - the law of adaptation. If you pile loads of volume onto any joint, regardless of form, it's most likely going to hurt.

A similar thing happened to a training partner. He set himself a goal of getting 50 reps of pull ups everyday, in however many sets it took. He done this before he started a bulk. I think he lasted 2 weeks or so before his elbows gave him problems. He dropped it, pain went away. He then added "a set" of pull ups every day back in to his program. Now he's doing 3 sets every day, and it doesn't seem to cause any problems.

Also, fwiw, I tend to find the following - If you have elbow pain when pressing/doing tri's, then do some light, high rep, low/moderate intense reverse curls. If it's rows/curls, then do the same with push downs. Just fill it up with blood, basically, and it seems to make a big difference to the pain.

KPj


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