T Nation

Burning Biceps

After doing bicep exercises, if i keep them contracted (not flexed) for a minute or so, they feel really SORE for a long time afterwards!

Is this helping or hindering my muscle growth?

the soreness is lactic acid build up. You definitely increase the recovery time between sets because it is a metabolic waste product. Lactic acid does not make muscles grow. tearing muscle down and providing enough protein is what builds muscle up and your body overcompensates by making the muscle bigger. laters pk

If your biceps are sore for the next half hour or so then it could be lactic acid. If they’re sore for days then you’ll have to seek out another possible cause. Lactic acid clearance takes minutes not days.

Thank you T-men!

So…lactic acid “burn” does NOT break down my muscle more?

Is it better to shake-out my arms after doing bicep work?

shonder.

Keep them flexed.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Keep them flexed.[/quote]

zeb you think that flexing your muscles after you just finished a set would help with dissipating the lactic acid in the muscles. I thought the opposite would be true while applying some light massage. When you flex a muscle it is contracting so you are need of an energy source. Can you explain your reasoning. laters pk

[quote]pkradgreek wrote:
ZEB wrote:
Keep them flexed.

zeb you think that flexing your muscles after you just finished a set would help with dissipating the lactic acid in the muscles. I thought the opposite would be true while applying some light massage. When you flex a muscle it is contracting so you are need of an energy source. Can you explain your reasoning. laters pk[/quote

You are taking a position that lactic acid is bad?

part of anaerobic training is to get efficient at getting rid of lactic acid produced during glycolysis. but as far as the lactic acid itself is concerned i don’t think it helps for it to be in the muscle on your subsequent sets because it causes muscle tetany, inability to contract, because of the lack of ATP. Now the lactic acid can be used with oxygen in the aerobic pathway but this is not what i think most people are doing with the given force productions of weight training. laters pk

What about the theory that lactic acid buildup promotes release of growth hormone… helping with eventual repair and recovery?

When I was a stupid kid in high school, I got this great idea that if I put Ben Gay on my biceps before doing curls, it might increase blood flow, and help increase the size of my biceps.

This was a very bad idea.

[quote]vroom wrote:
What about the theory that lactic acid buildup promotes release of growth hormone… helping with eventual repair and recovery?[/quote]

i believe that theory, but to what extent in turms of how much lactic acid produces that effect. laters pk

The more lactic acid you can generate the better.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
When I was a stupid kid in high school, I got this great idea that if I put Ben Gay on my biceps before doing curls, it might increase blood flow, and help increase the size of my biceps.

This was a very bad idea.
[/quote]

Last week I put Ben Gay on my knees before doing squats, because they were sore. The vapors traveled right up to my nut sack.

This was also a very bad idea.

Last weekend I was stoned and while sitting there I decided to cover my entire legs with Ben Gay.

This was a bad idea.

Not to mention my friend was sitting next to me and I applied Ben Gay to his arm, for what reason I am still unsure of (I think because I didn’t want to be the only one covered in Ben Gay).

He thought it was a very bad idea.

When a muscle is contracted it is not impossible for lactic acid to escape. It is more likely that the rate of appearance of lactic acid (from the contraction) is greater than clearance (into the blood). The greater amount of acid results in a burning feeling.

After you relax the contracted muscle the rate of clearance will exceed the rate of appearance and the burning will go away. Shaking the arms out will have little to no effect. Blood flow will clear the acid. As an aside, lactate (what remains of lactic acid after the hydrogen breaks off) can be used as fuel by other muscles.

The growth hormone release during training is relatively small and brief. Compared to dosages used by bodybuilders the increase in GH is negligable. I wouldn’t suspect that this has very much of an effect on muscle mass. There certainly isn’t any science to back this up anyway.

Lactic acid is a good thing…