Weight and Resistance Training - Small Muscle Soreness

View Full Version : Small Muscle Soreness

04-14-2008, 02:23 PM
DH and I were talking about this so I thought I'd run it past you folks.

When I lifted at home, my soreness was always in big muscles. Quads, gluts ... Our PT Tracey has us on a plan of small to large muscle groups in a full-body workout. DH and I have both noticed that only our smaller muscles ache later.

Do you have any thoughts, reasoning .... ?

04-14-2008, 03:16 PM
Sounds like her small to ... plan is working!
Are you aware of doing very different range of motion exercises?

04-16-2008, 02:48 PM
Ya know I read that response sooo many times and was about to post that I didn't understand the question when BINGO! I do now.

Yes, the gym is all machines which would be different range of motion than the free weights I use at home, right?

04-16-2008, 04:13 PM
I wonder if you're getting enough of a workout for the larger muscles, though? (I have no idea, so that's really an honest question, lol)

04-16-2008, 05:26 PM
Yup, that's what I meant. Maybe your motions are different/ ?more precise on the machines than when they weights are hand held. I'd love to know what your PT says.

04-17-2008, 01:02 AM
OK, I'll try to remember to ask her tomorrow evening.

04-17-2008, 10:17 AM
Let me see. Your trainer has taken someone who is experienced in free weights and using compound movements and given them a program built primarily around machine-based, small-muscle isolation movements.

I'd be quite interested in hearing her program design theories as they run counter to everything that I have seen in the past.

04-17-2008, 10:57 AM
I have a notion that in our teeny tiny town, the teeny tiny gym has programmes small, medium and large ;) And a pretty green trainer.

But don't worry about that. I'm not as advanced or strong as I'd like people to think. I'm actually glad of the chance to progress thru a real live programme.

04-17-2008, 12:16 PM
I have a notion that in our teeny tiny town, the teeny tiny gym has programmes small, medium and large ;) And a pretty green trainer.

Yeah, this is what it sounded like. Get 'em on the machines. A circuit of machines is very cost efficient for the facility. I'm not sure whether or not the trainer actually believes in this program or is just following company guidelines.

But don't worry about that. I'm not as advanced or strong as I'd like people to think.

Well, you sure had me fooled! It's hard to gauge someone simply on a bunch of internet forum posts, but I still suspect you are stronger than YOU think. Of course, I, by default put nurses on a level somewhere between superheros and angels until proven otherwise.

I'm actually glad of the chance to progress thru a real live programme.

In this program, at what point do we get to the progression where they have you doing compound movements with free weights.

04-17-2008, 01:46 PM
I'm not sure.

I've seen the gym owner working with our PT Tracey and they use free weights. That's probably one level above 'large'.

I would imagine that if you are building up a gym from scratch in a small town 1) cost efficient is very important and 2) odds are most folks will rotate out on a NewYears basis and the chances of them outgrowing your establishment are very slim.
Sad but true?

04-17-2008, 02:17 PM
:chin: Susan, I'm not certain that it is necessary to conquer machine exercises before beginning free weights. Sometimes it can be a nice option to do something different and that's okay. But really, you may want to consider speaking with your PT about working your program around free weights.

There are so many reasons we have recited here before about why the free weights are more efficient but one of the things that we sometimes forget is what happens when we travel and would like to get a workout in a new place. Everyplace has different kinds of equipment all with their own quirks. Free weights are free weights everywhere. If you have a couple of programs arranged around your free weights you can walk into any gym with a decent free weight section and look like a pro.

I also understand the small town thing. But ya know, you could set a trend in your new gym. The more people see you lifting the more it will occur to them that maybe they should walk on over there and pick one up too.

I just know that there is so much core strength and stability to be gained from using free weights. Since you already have some experience with dumb bells I just hate to think of you sitting on a piece of equipment somewhere working in just one plane of motion.

And speaking of small to large muscles. First thing I learned was that in a program you work the large muscles first and then work the smaller muscles. It takes a lot to fatigue the larger muscle groups so you are going to go a lot heavier with those weights. Secondly, when using free weights you will automatically call upon stabilizing muscles to complete the movement. Often enough those small muscles act as stabilizers and really don't need to be isolated in another exercise.

Bottom line: Some strength training is better than none. If you feel more comfortable with the machines at this point then continue. But, if you are just putting your trust in a carbon copy new member program directed by a new trainer then maybe you might want to speak up a little bit. Chances are the new PT might learn something too.

Just a thought.

04-17-2008, 08:49 PM
Ditto what Lydia and Depalma said!

Your analysis of the life cycle at a gym is spot on. If you were already lifting with free weights, other than for some variation or working around an injury, I can't think of any good reason to go to machines. Even then, there are always so many alternative. The only client I ever had use machines pretty exclusively was a woman who couldn't hold dumbbells of more than 5 pounds due to repeated carpal tunnel surgeries.


04-18-2008, 01:18 AM
We use dumbells for hammer curls.

The exercise she gave me for my back, hurts me. I have to think hard, really watch my breathing. Tracey would happily replace it with something more comfortable if I insisted.
Maybe I could get her talking about what other substitutions she'd suggest. Maybe they'd use more free weights.

04-18-2008, 09:57 AM
I'd say about 90% of what my personal trainer has me do uses free weights. I'd recommend asking for more free weights. :) You are the customer after all, so don't be shy. If there is a reason she prefers machines for you, she'll let you know. And then you can decide if that reason makes sense to you. Or not! Don't be shy about asking!

04-18-2008, 10:03 PM
I agree with what everyone else has said. I use the weight machines when I'm doing strength training on my own. I see the primary advantages to the machines being that (1) there is built in circuit to them (I don't have to think of an exercise to do, I just go from one machine to the next and do what the machine says) and (2) the machine pretty much keeps my form in line.

But if I'm paying a trainer to help me work out, I don't need either of those advantages. Both of them are things my trainer should be doing for me. So with my trainer, I expect that we'll be using more free weights. He has a few favorite machines that we'll use maybe once every couple of weeks, but otherwise, just about everything we do is free weights, resistance bands, or using my own body for resistance.

04-18-2008, 11:46 PM
Most of what I do with my trainer also involves free weights. We mostly only use the machines for lateral pulldowns, which I understand. There is NO WAY that I could use my bodyweight as resistance for my week little arms. I giggle at the thought.

I would also consider the possibility that she has you working on the machines because she thinks that the machines are where you want to be. Having her switch you to free weights might be as easy as mentioning that you'd like to. All of the women in my gym who actually strength train (not many to begin with) use the machines. She might just be giving you what she expects that you want based on past experiences.

04-19-2008, 10:37 AM
Ah ... there are trainers andd there are trainers!!

Tracey set up our plan, we can get hold of her almost any time we'd like, but she's not there with us on a regular basis. There was a gal there but I didn't know her so I didn't ask. I just did 'back' like I wanted to ... feels wonderful today btw ;)

There was a shoulder thing I could only do with the pin out and I 'got' that last night too. Did 12 reps with the pin in 15 lbs. Feels far more accomplished.

If increasing the weight as I familiarize myself with the machines doesn't work and/or Tracey doesn't want to switch me to free wights for at least somethings. I'll go at quiet times and do some quads and gluts with free weights myself.
I watched a guy do squats off the rack .... oooeee ... I'd like to try that!

04-19-2008, 01:46 PM
The big problem with increasing weights working with fixed range or motion machines comes after you feel you are ready to transition to free weights. You have increased the strength of the prime mover but have not strengthened the stabilizers and often times the synergists received less work as well. So, when you step off the machines, your prime movers may be saying, "Yeah, I can lift this weight," but your stabilizers are saying, "Hey! I can't support this amount of weight. You've never asked me to do anything close to this before." Best case scenario, you quickly realize (hopefully without getting pinned) that the same weight for a BB Bench Press is not the same as for a machine chest press and quickly regress the amount of weight used. (Note: Most people realize that a machine leg press does not equate well to a Barbell Squat. For those who think they can step off a leg press machine and go over to the rack and do the same max weight for a squat, please put me as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy because I do like easy money). Another too common scenario, you wind up injured due to a vast jump in weight for the previous unworked stabilizers. Basically, after spending a host of time on machines, you are going to have to drop weight drastically and train in your own proper, biomechanically determined range of motion and not the machine's. You are basically going to have to relearn everything from scratch starting out with lower weights. In other words, much of the time spend on the machines will have been wasted.

There is a time and a place for machines. Rehabilitation or used alongside free weight movements in a bodybuilding type program for instance. However, in my opinion, any trainer that starts a healthy person off with machines under the auspice of developing the strength to "graduate" to free weights has it totally backwards. Develop the stabilizers with free weights, bodyweight, and a significant amount of core work first. Then, if some isolation machine works fits your goals or desires, then you can throw in some machine work.

Also, when I rant about machines, I really mean fixed range of motion machines. Cables, free motion machines, functional trainers, etc that allow free weight type movements can be great additions to a program.

04-19-2008, 02:08 PM
Would you mind giving some examples of free motion machines and functional trainers?

04-19-2008, 02:37 PM
Free Motion Machines (http://www.freemotionfitness.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10002&top_category=10009&categoryId=10010)

Functional Trainer


Functional Trainers are great. They can train in natural ranges of motion as well as in all planes of motion and you can do a lot of exercises that really challenge the stabilizing muscles.

The free motion, circuit machines are much better than fixed range of motion machines. However, many of the seated circuit machines still have the drawbacks of not working the stabilizers enough.

04-19-2008, 06:58 PM
I watched a guy do squats off the rack .... oooeee ... I'd like to try that!

Oh Susan, you can and you should! It is so empowering! Really. I was a watcher in the beginning too and longed to be able to do this. When I hired a trainer I made a list of all of the lifts I wanted to learn. This was one of them. It was the best money I spent that summer. :D Go on and ask! She may start you off with bodyweight squats and she should have you doing some core work because there is core and balance involved as well. Okay, a lot in my opinion but I don't want that to intimate you. If she doesn't supply you with some core training ideas let us know. I'm certain we can help. ;) YouTube has a lot too. ;)

You CAN do this. Trust me, if I can do this so can you! It took me years to learn to tie my own shoes. :lol3:

I also recommend the Free Motion equipment. If you have them at your gym then insist to be introduced to it as well. I began my strength training with these cable machines and swear that my easy and may I say seamless transition to free weights were because of this equipment. Every once in a while I'll hop on this stuff again and it can still wear me out.

I'm so excited for you Susan. There is so much ahead of you to experience as you begin to incorporate dumbbells and barbells into your workout. Go Susan Go. :cheer:

04-19-2008, 10:41 PM
So I have free weights and a universal station machine at home. I started with the machines, came here and learned from the masters ;) and bought my free weights. Now, I only use the machine to add in some variety bc it's there. I do my whole routine on free weights, but add in a lateral pulldown and a tricep pushdown variation because my station has a high pulley bar. DH rolls his eyes never having wanted this Weider monster in the house, but it's an evolution I tell him. We learn as we go along.

I would def make an appt with her, tell her you have some experience with free weights, and that just from what you've heard, you think you'd like that to be your primary method. I'm sure she's probably just being cautious sending you to a machine thinking it will be less easy to get yourself in trouble that way.

04-20-2008, 10:21 AM
Hah! Love your new avatar Fran! Best one yet. Just look at that beautiful face. :hug: Barefoot and lifting huh, yeah, I'll be sending you some steel toed boots too. :p

04-20-2008, 11:40 AM
:rofl: my reaction EXACTLY, Lydia!

Fran-You are beautiful! Keep you toes and put on some shoes :)

04-20-2008, 01:51 PM
Thanks guys, I've been doing this for years though (knock wood) so I'm not too clutzy. I do more damage going to the bathroom in the middle of the nite.

I got another cool book from the library yesterday. It's the Men's Health HOME Workout Bible (written by no other than Lou Schuler). It's humorous once again and covers the 4 different worlds of working out at home -- dumbbells, barbells, pulleys, and weight stations. Gives good reasons for doing both and gives a REALLY good explanation for why you don't want to tie yourself down to your weight machine, Susan. You can get it for as cheap as $11 on amazon if your library doesn't have it. But it's truly a resource for home or those at the gym w/o a trainer available. Explains a ton. I like how it not only gives a suggested beg/inter/adv workout for each environment, but if you have access to all or are in a gym, it also provides 3 different workouts for fat loss, visible muscle building, or strength. I don't want to mislead anyone, it's not new, but new to me, circa 2002.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517H4SYWNGL._PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_SL110_OU01_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1579546579/ref=s9sips_c2_img1-rfc_g1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=16MN1Q98MSG29H77JQ16&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=279530701&pf_rd_i=507846)