HOW MUSCLES GET STRONGER
Resistance training such as weight lifting improves musculoskeletal function by making muscles stronger. Muscles cells get stronger by thickening in response to injury. When we exercise hard enough we cause microscopic injury to muscle cells creating an inflammatory response followed by muscle healing. It is during the healing or recovery phase that muscle cells thicken and become stronger.
Soreness the day after strength training workouts (post-workout soreness) indicates that the muscles are in the inflammatory phase–in other words they are injured. Until the injury heals muscles do not become stronger. Post-workout soreness dissipates over 1-3 days as we transition to the recovery phase. It is during the recovery phase that muscles grow bigger and stronger. To build strength we need at least one day of feeling minimal to no soreness following a workout before we exercise the same muscles again.
TOO LITTLE OR TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING...
If you do not experience any soreness the day after a workout this means that you did not cause sufficient microscopic muscle cell injury to promote an increase in muscle strength. On the other hand, severe soreness lasting more than 3 days after a workout is an indication of excessive muscle damage. Workouts that cause excessive muscle damage can lead to more serious injuries of muscle, tendon, and joint tissues (strains and sprains). Strains and sprains take you out of your sport or workout routine–sometimes for weeks or months–leading to loss in strength, and repeated injuries of this kind weaken the musculoskeletal system by forming scar tissue. Scar tissue is weaker and less elastic than normal healthy tissues. Repeated strain and sprain injuries and the scar formation, calcification, and wearing away of tissue structures makes us stiffer and more prone to injuries and chronic pain as we age.
THE RIGHT WAY TO WORK THE CORE FOR STRENGTH GAINS
So, how often should you work your core? If you are in a strength-building phase, you will want to work out sufficiently hard to feel post-workout soreness lasting ideally about 1-2 days. When soreness is 90% reduced, it is time to exercise hard again. When you begin Kore Power Trainer, you will likely be working out three times per week with at least one day in between each workout for recovery. If you are not sore the day after a KPT workout, you should repeat it the next day and consider going a bit harder. Try moving your hips closer to the edge of the mattress to make the workout more intense. When you are able to work each of the four quadrants of the core for one continuous minute on KPT with your hips at the very edge of your mattress, you have sufficient core strength to maintain good back health.
Those starting with an already strong core but wanting even more strength in order to improve athletic performance or to get that very chiseled look, can try the advanced workout which uses more difficult techniques including added resistance using hand weights. Remember that post-workout soreness indicates that you are doing sufficient work to promote an increase in muscle strength but extreme soreness lasting more than 3 days means you are overworking the muscles and potentially causing permanent tissue damage (scar formation and calcification). Adjust your workouts accordingly . If you experience excessive post-workout soreness you should back off on the amount of resistance by using smaller hand weights, moving your hips further from the edge of the mattress, etc. If you are not sore the next day, bump up the weights, move closer to the edge of the mattress etc. Regardless of your current core condition, the best and safest way to build core strength is to workout sufficiently hard to induce 1-2 days of post-workout soreness and then repeat the exercise once the soreness has dissipated by 90%.
WORKING THE CORE FOR STRENGTH MAINTENANCE
If you already have sufficient core strength and are satisfied with where you are, KPT makes maintenance of core strength easy. 4 minutes of exercise 3-5 times per week is the recommended frequency of training. This means working your front abs, sides, and lower back, each for one continuous minute. If you can do this Basic Workout with your hips at the edge of the mattress without any post-workout soreness, your core is sufficiently strong for maintaining back health. If you are working through a chronic back pain problem, your doctor may recommend that you build further on this level of strength before moving to a maintenance routine. Regardless, maintenance work should be done 3-5 times per week in the absence of significant post-workout soreness.