Last week, Dr. Anthony Falco discussed how you can decipher the differences between pain and soreness, and when it may be appropriate to see a physician. This week I want to give some strategies that can be used in order to deal with muscle soreness and promote recovery after high intensity bouts of physical activity. Essentially, you now know you do not need to see a physician, so what is next? Once I give you a full breakdown of what makes cardio recovery focused I will give some methods you can use in your own programming.
The Different Energy Systems of The Body
Essentially, there are three main energy systems:
For the sake of this discussion we are going to focus on the aerobic (oxidative) energy system as a means of promoting recovery. While the aerobic energy system is utilized to promote recovery between bouts of anaerobic (alactic) activity, we are going to focus on its role in recovery and assistance in dealing with soreness/fatigue. With this being said, it is essential to perform training in a range of 60-75% of your max heart rate (220-age). This range will ensure you are aiming to stimulate the recovery process.
How To Perform Aerobic Recovery Training
As I mentioned, it is imperative to ensure that you are performing lower intensity bouts that have longer durations when trying to recover. This can be done in a multitude of ways.
The important thing to remember when utilizing the aerobic energy system for recovery is to be cognizant of the intensities. Recovery can only occur if the work being performed is done in a 60-75% window of intensity.
Whether you are starting on a new exercise program or if you are someone who exercises regularly, it is important to understand the difference between soreness and pain. Similarly, athletes who are competing need to know when their muscles are sore due to the exertion of their sport or when they are dealing with pain that needs further attention.
When exercising, we put our body under physical stress. This physical stress breaks down our muscles and tissues. By adapting and recovering from this breakdown we get stronger and are then able to take on more physical stress. For example, if I regularly walk a mile in 15 minutes 3 times per week, over time it will get easier for me to complete the mile in 15 minutes. After a few weeks of adaptation and recovery from this amount of exercise I may then be able to walk a mile in 13 minutes. If I continue to challenge myself I can continue to improve by walking a mile in a shorter period of time. This holds true for aerobic exercise (walking, biking, running, etc) and strengthening exercises (lifting weights, bodyweight exercises, etc)
The process of muscle breakdown due to the stress of exercise is what makes us sore after a workout. After a workout that includes squats and lunges our legs and hips may be sore for a few days. This is a normal part of exercise and we call this soreness DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This soreness in the muscles is a sign that we have stressed our body and will generally subside in a few days or with a light recovery workout (something less stressful).
Pain is different. Pain can occur in the muscles or the joints and may not subside after a few days like DOMS will. Pain generally will not feel better with a recovery workout like a light jog or bike ride. If the feeling of pain does not subside with rest within about a week it is then a good idea to call your physical therapist or medical provider. Often when pain is addressed early it is easier to get back to the activities you enjoy without pain more quickly.
Below is a table that can serve as a quick reference to better understand the difference between soreness and pain.
Soreness vs Pain
Type of Discomfort
Soreness: Tender when touching muscles, tired or burning feeling while exercising, minimal dull, tight and achy feeling at rest
Pain: Ache, sharp pain at rest or when exercising. Pain with movement.
Soreness: During exercise or 24-72 hours after activity (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
Pain: During exercise or within 24 hours of activity
Soreness: 2-3 days (can be longer)
Pain: May linger if not addressed
Pain: Muscles or Joints
Soreness: Stretching, following movement
Pain: Ice, rest
Soreness: Sitting still
Pain: Continued activity
Soreness: Resume offending activity once soreness subsides
Pain: Consult with medical professional if pain is extreme or lasts >1-2 weeks
Source: adapted from http://www.moveforwardpt.com/resources/detail/soreness-vs-pain-whats-difference
Not sure if you are dealing with muscle soreness or pain? Or do you have questions about beginning or how to progress your physical activity/exercise program? Our physical therapists can help you by recovering from any aches or pains you may be experiencing and helping design a plan to return to your desired activities. Check out our website or give us a call to schedule an appointment and get back to the activities you enjoy pain free. Our 15 Corporate Drive and 2025 Hamburg Turnpike locations in Wayne are open Monday through Friday.
Next week Gerry DeFilippo will outline some of his favorite strategies to address DOMS when he is working with his clients and athletes.
Dr. Anthony Falco
Baseball Players and thoracic Rotation: Three Exercise Progression To Build Ultimate Rotational Power!
Last week Dr. Anthony Falco broke down the biomechanics involved in both swinging and throwing in baseball and the role these movements play in the development of a misaligned pelvis and hip injuries. This week, I will break down the importance of rotational power related to both movements along with a three exercise progression to not only develop better and more efficient rotational ability, but proficiency in weight transfer and additional power development.
The Role of The Core and Thoracic Spine
As Dr. Falco stated last week:
“The core is essential for generating and transferring force during the powerful and asymmetrical movements that take place in baseball. For the purpose of this discussion we are going to define the core as: the abdominals, the erectors (muscles that run parallel to the spine), the pelvic floor, and the hips (the glutes, groin muscles, and hip flexor muscles). “
“When throwing a pitch, the core muscles maintain stability of the low back and hips allowing force generated through the legs to be transferred through the core to shoulder complex and ultimately to the ball. This transfer of force takes place in less than 0.2 seconds! The core is essential to maintaining proper mechanics through all phases of delivering a pitch. Any imbalances in flexibility, strength, or coordination at that high rate of speed can lead to decreased performance and injury.”
With that being said, we must also acknowledge the role of the thoracic spine in conjunction with the core. After force is transferred from the lower half to the upper half and shoulders via the core, the thoracic spine (mid back), must be able to rotate and the hips able to clear in order to square the body to both the target when throwing or the ball when swinging. Lack of rotational power can severely limit velocity potential and swinging power. That is, an extremely strong base at the legs or shoulder may not see full potential utilized if a player cannot rotate at a similar rate.
The Planes of Motion Involved In a Swing or Throw
Many people would state that a pitching delivery or swing is performed in the transverse plane (plane which involved rotation). While that is correct, I like to break down these movements in two phases because there are movements that take place prior to the rotation that occurs. As a result, I like to explain each motion as a frontal plane movement followed by a rotation (transverse plane).
Three Exercise Progression To Develop Rotational Power
The following exercises progress from simple thoracic rotational focus to then include both frontal and transverse movements with a weight transfer, and lastly a more advanced progression that builds excess power prior to the movement.
Interested in recovering from a rotationally related injury or developing more rotational power? Stop by one of our two locations in Wayne, give us a call at 973.368.4907 or email us at staff@performancePTSC.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow us on social media to see how we can help you!
1 - Seroyer ST, Nho SJ, Bach BR, Bush-Joseph CA, Nicholson GP, Romeo AA. The
kinetic chain in overhand pitching: its potential role for performance
enhancement and injury prevention. Sports Health. 2010 Mar;2(2):135-46.
2 - Coleman SH, Mayer SW, Tyson JJ, Pollack KM, Curriero FC. The Epidemiology of
Hip and Groin Injuries in Professional Baseball Players. Am J Orthop (Belle Mead
NJ). 2016 Mar-Apr;45(3):168-75.
Gerry DeFilippo: ISSA CPT- CPPS, AAPS. Founder/Owner: Challenger Strength.