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Do muscles retain water after strenuous lifting?


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I did some seriously intense squats with the bar and weights yesterday, lots of bench and arm work, and running. It was my first time lifting in two weeks, and I was up two pounds from yesterday. Now, I know I didn't eat 7,000 extra calories, so it has to be water. I was wondering if when you do lifting and strength training, especially after a hiatus, and it is intense, do your muscles hold water? Does that help them repair?

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I'm not sure of the logic behind it, but I do know that your muscles do indeed retain water after a good workout.  I bet your weight will be back down in no time.

they will retain fluid for a day or two... stretching helps too and/or low-intensity workout (like a walk or something) will help.

Yes, and yes.  When I started seriously lifting, I "put on" about 3 pounds of water weight.  Several weeks later, it all dropped off again. 

From what I have heard, the extra fluids help your muscles heal, since strenous workouts result in tiny tears (which is why they are sore).  That is also why you need to rest the muscles for a day or two between workouts.  Oh, here's an explanation from melkor - the resident muscle guru.

Original Post by melkor:

Fluctuations in weight is pretty common in the initial stages of lifting - water retention in muscles, increased plasma blood volume to carry more nutrients now that you're using more of them and increased glycogen stores. It usually normalizes within a few sessions/week once your body's adjusted to your work load and exercise selection, and reoccurs when you make drastic changes in training parameters ;)

That's really helpful - everyone has been really helpful. Thank you. I'm so sore today and I'm surprised because after I started doing squats and bench, armwork and butt work I would be sore two or more days after, but I don't know if its because I jumped right back in with a lot of reps after taking time off or what. My legs, butt, thighs and ankles are wildly sore!

Good for you for jumping back in!

Doing lightweight repetitions of those exercises helped me tremendously when I was sore from weightlifting.  Warming the muscles helps the fluids flow and gets the chemical that causes soreness (I forget what it is called) out.  A hot bath (if you can stand it in the summer) and stretching also helps.  And there's always ibuprofen....

Original Post by puh8suwrux:

Warming the muscles helps the fluids flow and gets the chemical that causes soreness (I forget what it is called) out.  A hot bath (if you can stand it in the summer) and stretching also helps.  And there's always ibuprofen....

I think you are referring to lactic acid.  Stretching definitely helps!  I also like to use epsom salts in my baths - my husband swears it does nothing, but it does seem to help even if it's just placebo effect :)

YES. WATER HOLDS ALOT OF WEIGHT EXSPECIALY WHEN YOUR WORKING OUT BECAUSE YOU BODY IS IN NEED OF FLUIDS.

Is it possible then that muscles will retain water if you do a lot of hard exercise (like running) but then don't give muscles time to heal?

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