Owww! I think I’ve discovered — in my body anyway — that metabolic stress causes much more post-exercise soreness than load. That is, I can make myself a lot more sore by doing a bunch of body weight squats than by doing a few heavily loaded ones. More exactly:
- I do squats frequently (> 1wk)
- I mix it up with the load/reps ratios. In fact, I mix it up in all ways. Variety is baked in.
- I haven’t actually been quad-sore for months.
- But I have had two recent cases of particularly intense workouts with both higher-than-usual loading and higher-than-usual reps … but only one of them made me sore (the reps) and it has made me super sore.
So I reasonably speculate that metabolic stress may be more of a soreness-maker than high loading. (Could there be other factors? Oh, quite possibly.)
Another interesting detail: this is also not the only time I’ve recently done a whole bunch of bodyweight squats specifically. In fact, only about three weeks ago I did even more of them in one session, probably about 25% more (200ish as I recall), and had no problem at all. But there was one difference: pacing. Last time: regular 1-2 second pauses, so a little less burn. This time: almost continuous contraction for 160 squats, strong burn!
Update: I have done some more testing and confirmed that exhausting myself with the heaviest possible loads I can lift a few times makes me no more than slightly sore.