Have you ever been so tired that your eye starts twitching? Besides an awkward wink that is potentially attracting the wrong people, it’s a telltale sign of fatigue. A good night’s sleep is a quick remedy for an uncontrollable eye twitch.
But what does it mean when you’re at the studio holding a shoulder bridge or a plank and your muscles start to shake? Does it mean your muscles are working overtime and you’re getting a better workout? Well, not necessarily. Before you shake it out here are the top three things you need to know about shaky muscles.
1. Muscles that Shake are Fatigued
Although a shaking muscle isn’t necessarily a bad sign, it could be a sign to slow down and take a break. Your muscles don’t shake naturally, so this is an indicator that all may not be well in the workout world.
Although many people think that the shaking they feel during a really intense workout is their body getting stronger, this may not always be the case. Like that awkward eye twitch, a physiological response to muscle fatigue in the body is represented by shaking muscles. This also is not necessarily a sign that muscles are in the growth process.
While working yourself to the point of exhaustion is never a great idea, the shake you feel is a good indicator that you have reached your maximum limit. Working your body to this point of exhaustion may help improve overall fitness, but working through that exhaustion is never advised. Oftentimes, elongated strain and fatigue are dangerous to the body because it could lead to serious injury.
2. The Signs to Watch Out For
While you may think you can work past the shakes, and keep going, be careful and consider the following: Are you dehydrated? Have you given your muscles time to recover from your last workout? Have you pushed yourself too hard this time? These questions are great to keep in the back of your head while working out.
Dehydration can affect your entire body, and make you feel fatigued faster than if you had drank plenty of water. Make sure you always have your water bottle handy. Your muscles are doing a lot of work, and giving them plenty of time to recover is crucial.
When (or if) you workout multiple days in a row, you will find that your muscles are closer to failure and this can definitely put a strain on your body. Working out back-to-back is a great way to stay in shape and keep a fit lifestyle; but be sure to take breaks and rest between sets. Rotations, such as changing class requests, are a great way to always be relying on new “unworked” muscles, rather than overworking a few of them. Just keep in mind that a “shaking” muscle is a muscle demanding rest.
3. Making the Most of that Shake
Your muscles are made up of fibers, and when a muscle is in motion and being used, not all fibers contract at the same time. Some may rest while others work. When the muscles are pushed really hard, this change of contraction can sometimes get a little irregular, resulting in shaking or quivering.
A fatigued muscle is a good sign that you have been working out to your ultimate max. Many people are afraid to push themselves too hard, and they often loose out on intense workouts with high calorie-burning potential. The trembling indicates how the muscles grab and release one other as they lengthen and shorten during the exercise. But that action will become smoother, and the shaking will stop, once the muscles become more used to the activities you're doing.
Oftentimes, an instructor may “wait for the shake” before proceeding to the next exercise. Working out until you feel that shake is a great sign of an incredible workout, just be sure to let your body recover by grabbing a protein shake and re-hydrating yourself after your workout.