Muscle Memory

7 May

It’s weird how muscle memory works. Last week, I did some strength training for the first time in probably 2 months. And I felt it…I was SORE for like 4 days after. Note to self: don’t stop strength training regularly because otherwise it will be painful.

How I felt for 4 days last week.

I used lower weights than what I had built up to, because I was trying to avoid soreness. It was a little disheartening to use less but it’s my own fault for letting lifting fall to the wayside (it’s hard to balance both lifting and running during half marathon training).

Anyways, I went back to the gym yesterday (1 week later) to do the same lifting routine. Surprisingly, I was able to use heavier weights around what I had been using prior to half marathon training AND I am not sore today at all!

So what is muscle memory? Here’s a cool description I found by a Professor at Ohio State University:

Once actions are memorized by the brain, the muscles must be trained to act in a quick, fluid manner. This can be done in the gym, on the court, or other playing field. When athletes complete strength training exercises, they enhance the synapses in their muscles which increases the speed impulses travel from the brain through the nervous system to the muscles. This is key because it lowers the time between when the brain decides to complete a movement to when the muscles actually start to move.

So it seems that last week, my muscles were re-learning the movements. Isn’t it crazy how in just one session (and one week later), I am back to “normal” in terms of strength training. The same thing has happened with me with running. At first, it’s a little tough, but this half marathon training season, I was back up to running 5-6 miles as easy runs so quickly. And the long runs definitely did not feel as hard as the first time around with training. The body is truly an amazing thing!

Have you ever gone back to something after taking a break but were able to pick it back up quickly? Were you super sore like me?

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2 Responses to “Muscle Memory”

  1. seefranrun May 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Muscle memory is a weird thing! I quit figure skating a few years ago (because of injuries) and usually only go every couple months or so for fun. My body just picks up the movements like I had never taken a break (other than not having some of my skater muscles anymore).

    • reach-yourpeak May 8, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      I tried replying to this but I don’t think it went through so sorry if this is a duplicate…but that’s awesome about the ice skating! I have never been…my bf keeps trying to get me to do it but I’m scared of twisting my ankle!

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