Workout of the Day

But What If I'm Sore?


If you joined us yesterday for Memorial Day Murph, I can almost guarantee that you’re a bit sore right now, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be a bit more sore tomorrow. If you’ve never done a workout like Murph before, this may even be the sorest you’ve ever been. So what should you do? Bed rest? Sit and wait it out? Come in to the gym and move?

The short answer: come on in and let’s move a little.

Let’s part the curtain a bit and take a look at what we’re doing for today’s training. After all of the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats in Murph, we’re probably looking at some sore lats, triceps, chest, and quads. Our goal today is twofold:

1) Get in an additional training stimulus - Having trained hard yesterday isn’t a good reason to not train today. Assuming adequate recovery measures (sleep, hydration, nutrition), we have no reason not to take today as an opportunity to get fitter. We’re going to take this opportunity to train movement patterns/muscle groups that weren’t heavily taxed in Murph (core, posterior chain) by focusing most of our work on challenging abdominal and hamstring/glute movements. We can still get stronger, build stamina, etc. when we’re fatigued.

2) Aid recovery and alleviate some soreness - It may seem counter-intuitive, but performing movements the same as or similar to the ones that made you sore is one of the best ways to alleviate DOMS by flushing blood to the area and interrupting some of the pain signalling with movement. Yes, the first reps will be rather painful, but I’ve yet to meet someone who does not feel some relief from DOMS after working through some of the same ranges of motion that made them sore in the first place. We’ve chosen to use variations that use similar muscle groups -- split squat will use the quadriceps and glutes, ab-wheel roll-outs will get the lats involved, shoulder taps for isometric contractions of the triceps and pecs, etc. -- but have stayed away from the exact same movements that we hit hard yesterday.

We’ve talked before about relative intensity, and this is a perfect opportunity to look at this idea again. Relative intensity accounts both for your “chronic” condition (your physical conditioning and preparedness in the longer-term view) as well as your acute condition (your physical conditioning and preparedness right now, accounting for all short term fatigue, etc.). In the same way that the 23-year-old collegiate soccer athlete and the 55-year-old first-time exerciser will be working at a very different absolute intensity but the same relative intensity, someone who did Murph yesterday will be operating at a very different absolute intensity but the same relative intensity as someone who is coming into today’s training without any fatigue. Today is probably not your day for personal records or maximal conditioning stimulus, but it’s a day to move at the capacity that you’re bringing today and take one more step towards better.

See you in the gym.

- PS


  • Dumbbell rear foot elevated split squat - 3x5/leg

  • Ab-wheel roll-out - 3x5

  • Glute ham raise - 3x5

  • 10 min AMRAP

    • 20 KB swings (53/35)

    • 20 sit-ups

    • 20 shoulder taps (10/side)