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By John Litteral 1-5-23

I recently received a question from a friend on my BitChute channel concerning what to do about avoiding extreme soreness for a beginner to a back workout…

QUESTION: What do you suggest for starting to build your back to someone who has never done so and would most likely get extremely sore if they started?

ANSWER: Muscle soreness after workouts happens for various reasons. It most commonly happens when someone does an exercise for the first time or does an exercise that they have not done recently. Some soreness is a good sign that you have trained a body part effectively, but extreme soreness that hinders your ability to move around normally is not beneficial and has a negative impact. The slogan “no pain, no gain” is a manly way to suggest serious training, but it is not smart nor manly to annihilate your muscles to the point where it takes many days to lose the soreness, especially when you are just beginning. Muscle soreness does not necessarily equal guaranteed hypertrophy. That is a very common misconception. I have been guilty in the past of making myself so sore that I could barely walk for a week after training legs for the first time in a while.

As for training your back or any other muscle group, if you are just beginning, and you want to train without getting too sore, then you can adjust a couple of things in your workout. I suggest only doing one working set per exercise for your first workout session. A “working set” is a set that is after all warmup sets. I recommend doing a set with a rep-range of 5-15 reps. Whatever your desired reps are, for example 10 reps, make sure that you use a weight that is very challenging to get those 10 reps. It is not beneficial to do 10 reps with a weight that you could have done 15 or 20 reps with. It has to be challenging in order to be beneficial. Check out my article that I recently wrote on TRAINING YOUR BACK. I recommend those same exercises in that article, but modifying your amount of sets you start off with. Then, after you have completed your back workout, you may feel a little soreness the follow days but it should not be bad enough to hinder you from having a normal day. Then for your next training session, I recommend doing 2 sets per exercise. Then by the time you get to your third training session for your back you will be able to raise the amount of sets to 3 sets per exercise. Three to four sets per exercise is usually plenty and sufficient for the long term. There are not many exceptions that require you to do any more than four sets per exercise. Three sets are usually adequate in most cases. As for how often to train each body part and what your training schedule should look like, then I highly recommend reading my recent article on DEVELOPING A TRAINING SPLIT.   

Note: Getting sore after workouts will become rare after you have been training consistently for a while. I rarely get sore no matter how intense my workouts are. The only times that I get sore is when I do an exercise that I haven’t done for a while. I also get a little sore if I make a drastic change in an exercise just like what recently happened the other day when I did squats with a lighter weight than I have been doing but I did each rep slower and went down so low that my butt nearly touched the floor. Shocking the muscles like that can cause you to get sore. Or you can get sore by making a variation in an exercise that targets the muscles from a different angle than you are used to doing. But soreness from those kinds of circumstances rarely makes you extremely sore.

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