How to manipulate muscle soreness for growth (#3)


When your aim is to build muscle as an older guy, it happens ONLY when everything (!) is correctly in place. One of these critical concepts that must be in place is given sufficient time for the muscle recovery and growth cycle to complete after each training session. If this criteria not met for the older guy, NO MUSCLE GROWTH WILL OCCUR.

Muscle soreness is a given if you train hard and intense. It is something you cannot escape on your transformation journey.

That muscle soreness is because of micro muscle fiber damage that occur during an intense training session. The pain is your body signaling that you need some time-out to allow the body recovery time for that particular muscle.

Just a note here: This soreness is a good sign (and should be welcomed in training) because only when the muscle is pushed to its limit (where this kind of damage occurs), only then does the brain instruct it to actually grow. If there is no need for it to grow (with moderate or light training) then the brain will never send growth signals to the muscle – thus intense heavy training is critical for growth!

So, what is the problem?

Training a muscle while it is in the recovery (repair) phase is unwise. You will just inflict more micro-fiber damage and NO GROWTH will occur! Growth only starts after the recovery cycle is complete. You always want a growth cycle window of a few days after recovery has finished, otherwise all your hard work would be for nothing while the muscle just go back into recovery phase skipping the growth cycle.

Thus, hitting the muscle before you allowed the soreness to heal, means you will never reach your goals and the muscle will struggle severely to grow. The more you interrupt the recovery/growth cycle for a muscle group before it is finished, the less growth will occur. Less important for younger guys (due to higher HGH and Testosterone levels) but critical for older guys with especially lower HGH levels.

Muscle Recovery & Growth cycles

Let’s look at how long the recovery and growth cycle typically lasts:

Recovery cycle for a muscle

  • Light workout = 24 hrs recovery time (to be avoided, especially in BUILDING Phase)
  • Moderate to challenging workout = 2-3 days recovery time (your aim)
  • Very intense workout = longer than 3 days (to be avoided)

Growth cycle for a muscle

  • Growth cycle starts only AFTER the recovery cycle is completed.
  • The growth cycle of the muscle (depending on the rest/sleep you get in) can last 2 to 6 days after the recovery of the muscle has completed.
  • However, ABS and CALVES are exceptions and have got significant quicker recovery and growth durations.
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Approach required for the older guy

If your goal is to increase muscle size, you need a very specific training approach that functions within these parameters. A daily (3 or 4 day a week) “whole body training” approach is OUT! You will experience very limited or no growth on such a training regime. “Whole body training” sessions do not allow sufficient time (especially for the older guy) for the recover/growth cycle before you hit the muscles hard again. What is a better approach is to target only certain muscle groups (2-3) on certain days (4-5) and ensure you train a muscle group only once a week (except calves and abs). This is one of the only viable solutions for optimal muscle growth for the older guy. The older we get the longer both the recovery and growth cycles durations lasts!

My coaching

Just a couple of reminders…My coaching system for the older guy ensure that everything (including the recovery/repair cycle) is correctly in place. It incorporates all my teachings in my videos into a customised system for your body, goal and age. Signup here:

Donation request

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Wish you all happy training!

Gert Louw

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