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First Time Deadlifting Soreness

I am back In the gym after about a 3 year health related break and last week I deadlifted(actually they were snatch grip rack pulls) for the first time. Im have lost practically all my gains and back when I was training I never deadlifted and had just a little development in my spinal erectors from doing landmine/t-bar and cable rows. 8 days ago I did about 5 sets of 12 reps of snatch grip rack pulls slightly below the knee with 3 plates on each side. I felt good and didn’t snap my sh*t or anything but as soon as I woke up the next day my erectors were extremely sore and stayed that way for two or three more days. The soreness got better and now its been 8 days since and I tried to do the rack pulls again but I can still feel a little soreness and am therefore not nearly as strong as last time so I skipped them. Is it normal for DOMS to last this long? Because I was an athlete in the past and I am certain that the pain I felt was not an injury and was simply soreness. Or was it?

I’m not thibs but bro. You took so long off and then came back HARDDDD!! 5 sets of 12 would probably create DOMS for most trainees even with out a break. I’d imagine you’ll be sore for a while working out like that until you get used to it again.

Anytime I took a long break I always would ease back in. Lighter weights, fewer reps and sets, just to keep from having such bad doms.


For real. There’s no mystery here, my friend. I’m a little sore reading this.

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  1. When you are coming back from a long layoff your intramuscular coordination will be really bad, which leads less coordinated fiber actions which itself leads to more muscle damage and more soreness.

  2. Extreme workouts can lead to extreme soreness. My personal “record” was getting my vastus lateralis (outer quad) that I couldn’t squat down lower than a quarter squat for 14 DAYS and it took 21 days until I could squat the same weight as prior to the workout. 8 days is a lot, but it’s not unheard of. It was simply an excessive workout for the physical preparation level you were in.

I understand that getting your muscle back is an emotional issue. You want it back as soon as possible. And I fully support training hard. But extreme workouts (for the state you are in) will not help you progress faster. In fact, it is quite possible to create so much muscle damage that you actually lose muscle. Not to mention that if you are sore for 8 days it makes it impossible to have another productive workout for that muscle.

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Thanks a lot for the reply coach. About what you said regarding too much muscle damage potentially causing muscle loss, wouldn’t that be temporary until the body is in an appropriate state to recover that tissue? And even if there was continuous muscle damage being caused to a muscle due to frequent training wouldn’t that damage accumulate and wouldn’t the body eventually compensate and recover(given it does not get injured in the meantime)?
I do however understand your point about easing in on the training and I try to react appropriately to feedback I get from the trained muscles.

On a side note, I recently stumbled upon your newer youtube videos which I found very informative and I was wondering if you were planning to continue the best exercises series or generally keep uploading any videos? Greatly appreciate the free knowledge and advise, you are spoiling us!


The problem is that protein synthesis is elevated for only 30-36h after a training session. After which it comes back down and is equal or even slightly lower than protein breakdown. Muscle damage that was not repaired during that initial 30-36h period is likely going to result in muscle loss. That’s actually the main reason why people lose muscle when dieting down: they are afraid of losing muscle so they increase training volume quite a bit and cause more damage than the body can repair (especially in a caloric deficit state).

As I explained above, your body is in a state to add muscle tissue for 30-36h after a training session. That’s the time you have to repair the damage caused and adapt by building new tissue.

If you cause an amount of damage that takes the whole 30-36h to repair, you likely won’t add new muscle (but you will not lose any). If you cause so much damage that after 36h it’s not all repaired, you will likely lose muscle.

As for frequent training leading to an accumulation of damage, if that happens and there is too much damage to repair during the period of increases protein synthesis you will not be building muscle and you can lose some.

That’s why when you train a muscle more frequently you must reduce volume or use methods that cause less muscle damage.

Not sure. I don’t have much time to film videos now that my seminars have resumed.

Ok, thanks again for this. I was aware of this window where the protein synthesis is elevated and I have also come across it in many of your writings, but I had always assumed that it mostly applied to other methods that stimulate hypertrophy like lactate accumulation/mTOR. It seems strange that muscle damage on muscle fibers, which are fixed and neurologically active, would fail to be repaired after this period…like, what would happen in the case you described to muscle fibers that were not repaired? Would the tissue just undergo necrosis?Kind of like what happens in rhabdo?
(You don’t have to answer since these are many questions. Is there any article/study I can find on the web which dives into all this that you could refer to me)

So, in your case with the 14 days of quad soreness what would have been your body’s response to the training you did? Would you not say you recovered/added muscle tissue from that workout?

It’s mostly just losing protein structure. What happens exactly I’m not sure. It could be that the body uses muscle protein structure to repair the damage. I’ll do more research on it. There is plenty of evidence that it happens but I’m not sure if there are studies showing the exact mechanisms.

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No. As I explained, even once soreness subsided, it took me 7 more days (3 squatting workouts for me at the time) to get my squat strength back up to where it was before that excessive session.

Another practical example is how a lot of people end up losing muscle when they try to get ripped, even if they are lifting hard (as I explained, the muscle loss might actually happen because when you are dieting down your body’s resources and capacity to repair and rebuild tissue is decreased and people train too much for their repair capacity).

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This is an interesting paper. Although it talks about muscle injuries, it provides some clues as to what could be happening when we lose muscle through excessive training.


Chris Beardsley (which is the go-to guy to get the best vulgarisation of the literature related to training) wrote this which can further help us explain the phenomenon.