T Nation

'The Burn' and Large Muscle Groups


So something I read recently got me thinking about the burning sensation/tightness from lactic acid buildup. And I realized that I really only get that sensation in certain smaller muscle groups (mainly forearms).

I never really get any feedback that says I've hit my pecs or back or glutes particularly hard. I work them hard, but there's no burning, no tightness, no soreness.

Why is that? I mean, strength and size gains are ultimately the goal, so that should be the measure of progress, but I was curious.


Do you train your forearms directly and get lactic acid build up or do you get lactic acid build up when you are just generally holding DBs and BBs in exercises not intentionally hitting your forearms?

When (I hardly do) I train forearms directly it is the only time I ever get a pump or a really tight feeling in my foreamrs. A POSSIBLE reason could be with the type of contractions.

With just holding DBs and BBs in other workouts you are generally in a isometic contraction where the muscle is active but there is no movement of the insertion and origin. However, when training directly, there are more concentric and essentric muscle contractions leading to increasing tension on the muscle in a larger range of motion.

Or you could be not very strong in your forearms.


I do work my forearms directly, because they're a weak point for me. They're a limiting factor in my DLs, for example. But let's say I'm doing 5x5 db bench press at ~90% 1RM. There's a good chance I'll miss one or more reps. I'm obviously pushing myself to the point where the muscle simply cannot do what I'm asking. And yet I feel... nothing.


Muscle soreness the next day is NOT an indicator of growth. Lack of soreness also doesn't mean that you never pushed yourself enough.

There's a simple reason for this (your lack of "soreness") - it's the rep range you use. I find reps under 6 per set cause less soreness the next day. Usually it takes around 8+ reps/set before I get proper lactic acid/soreness.

This is probably why you feel it in your forearms, because you likely use high rep sets for them.

Take squats for example - you could use 90% of your 1RM (e.g. 270lbs) and do 8 sets of 3 (and hardly feel sore the next day), then next week you could do 75% of your 1rm (e.g. 225lbs) and do 3 sets of 8...yet be almost crippling in pain the next day (despite lifting less weight).


i get sore from plyos and other jumping stuff, HIT cycling, not from weights.


Just to be clear, we're not talking about DOMS, right? We're talking about burn during the exercise.

I've actually gone so far as to break down my muscles by whether or not I get a burn in them while working out.


No burn:
Upper and mid-back musculature
Glutes (exept glute med which burns like a mofo)

I'm not sure about calves and forearms as I don't do direct work for them.


Right, not DOMS. Your list actually looks remarkably similar to mine, except swap lats and traps.