Sunday, September 9, 2012

Feel The Burn!


The burning sensation you feel in your muscles during a workout is necessary if you want results. The more you are able to tolerate this pain the better your body will be at responding to your exercise. The burn is an indicator that you have actually reached your anaerobic threshold and it will be heightened in recovery due to adaptation. The anaerobic energy pathway is a way your body turns chemical energy, from the food that you eat, and converts it to useable energy to perform movement.

Your anaerobic threshold is reached when your body cannot restore energy at the rate you are expending energy. Think of your anaerobic threshold as the point at which your body cannot tolerate stress caused by applying a constant force against resistance. Everybody has a different anaerobic threshold. People who are trained and train hard have a higher anaerobic threshold than people who do not train or just go through the motions. 
During intense training or training for the first time your muscles accumulate lactate. Lactate is a byproduct your muscles produce during a sustained contraction at a high intensity. When you have reached your anaerobic threshold, lactate accumulation will limit your contraction. Lactate build up also results in the burning sensation you feel which makes you want to stop the exercise or slow down. Lactate is a natural defense mechanism your body produces to prevent further damage to your muscle tissue while also restoring energy.
To prolong lactate accumulation during exercise you must train to failure consistently. Training to failure will allow you to always exceed you anaerobic threshold causing your body to adapt and gain efficiency in replenishing and restoring energy. More stored energy and faster recovery will also lead to high amounts of available energy for force production and more work that is able to be done pre-exhaustion. Training to failure also means that you have to “feel the burn!” If you are not feeling this burning sensation or micro-trauma that you are causing to your muscle fibers, then you are just going throught the motions. Every workout must be an overload. Your body adapts fast to the stresses you place on it. 

Within a well structured periodized program there must be progression whether in complexity and dynamics, intensity or volume. Continual progression through challenging your muscles and “feeling the burn” will prove to you that exercise does have a medicinal purpose. The constant stress and pain you cause to your body through resistance training, with proper prescription, will lead to a honorable addiction to exercise medicine.


  1. Hello,
    I have a quick question about your blog. Could you please email me?
    - Jim

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