T Nation

How far is too far?


So I got in and did a massive leg workout the other day, the first good on in a couple of weeks. I mean I nearly had to tape the weights onto the calf machine when I was using it. Of course, now it's the second day afterward and I'm limping around like I just pulled myself out of a car accident. In fact, somebody asked me if I screwed up my knee or something.

So that brings up my main question: How do you know when you've gone a little to far, and is such a thing even really possible.

Don't get me wrong, I love being sore because it reminds me that I worked my ass off, but every once in awhile it feels like I maybe did screw something up this time. Have I hit Nirvana or should I be backing off a little?


Calves get me every time. I dont have to work them generally. If I do, I limp for a few days. Cleans and snatches work them enough.

Maybe try some recuperative training. Without eccentric.

In faith,


I kinda like being so sore that I can barely walk. Call me a masochist.


A few ideas:

  1. Check your calories...not enough and you won't recover quickly enough.

  2. Check your water intake.

  3. Make sure you took your multivitamins. Vitamin depletion reduces recovery rate.

  4. Sleep...did you get enough sleep those few nights after your intense workout?

  5. Are you overtraining? If this soreness happens every once in a while (as is often the case for me), then hey, you just had a balls to the wall workout and congrats. But if every time you work out you feel that body part lingers in pain for a long time...you MIGHT be overtraining.

  6. Do you get massages regularly? They help reduce lactic acid buildup and increase bloodflow which really helps in your recovery.

Remember, being sore doesn't mean your training optimally. So don't let soreness be your guide to great gains. But hey, we all get those days where we can't move because of our workouts...sometimes it's enjoyable too.

Good luck.


The following is taken from Chad Waterbury's "Branding Iron" column from Testosterone Magazine:

Soaring Through Soreness

Q: Once and for all, should a person train through soreness or wait until he's no longer sore before he trains that muscle group again?

A: In order to accurately answer this question I must first quantify soreness. Here?s how I do it.

Level I Soreness ? This is the type of soreness that's only felt/realized if the given muscle group is maximally contracted. In other words, you don't feel the soreness unless you flex hard. Level I soreness should always be worked through. At this stage of soreness, supercompensation will occur.

Level II Soreness ? This is the type of soreness that's felt all the time. In other words, if any flexion induces feelings of soreness, you're experiencing Level II. This type of soreness can be worked through, but only for one or two workouts. If it doesn't subside with your given program split, then allow for an extra day of rest between workouts.

Note: For some of my clients who spend their days protecting our country and sleeping with loaded Glocks, it's important to train the muscles to work through a state of Level II soreness. If you're merely trying to get big and strong, refer to my previous recommendation.

Level III Soreness ? If you're often heard screaming and cursing while brushing your teeth, opening your car door, or just moving through everyday life, you have Level III soreness. This type of soreness causes pain sensations even when your clothes are rubbing against the muscle!

This type of soreness should never be worked through unless it's an extremely light, high repetition, active recovery exercise. In fact, active recovery is a must at this point. Just remember what you did to cause this type of soreness and don?t do it again!

So to recap, subsequent strength training workouts should be performed as follows with regard to soreness of the given muscle group:

Level I ? Always

Level II ? Sometimes

Level III ? Never

Simple enough?


That brings up a lot of different responses. I lean to the side of doing less, more often. Why? I train to better the quality of my life. That I have to limp around for two days, and then if I do chest and back, limp around while not being able to scratch my ass, or steer a car, or walk, or whatever, is simply not a higher quality of life for me. There isn't a correlation of more damage = more remodeling ad infinitum. I may be lucky, but heavydeads, heavy power cleans, power snatches do plenty for my calves. I do no direct work. I am not sure that the only do today what you can exceed tomorrow (next training session) can be disproved and is a healthier and more successful approach.


jpdubya, congrats on your findings.

Now refer to Muscle & Fitness, they'll be much to your liking I believe.