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Is Shaking While Strength Training Normal?

Is Shaking While Strength Training Harmful?

We all want to feel the burn when working out, but what about the shakes? I'm not talking about feeling dizzy from not eating enough or from coming up too fast after doing a forward bend. When your body is working really hard, either holding a challenging position or toward the end of a set, your muscles start to unintentionally quiver.

Kristina Marcussen, a doctor of physical therapy and a certified strength and conditioning specialist, says there is no reason to worry. "Shaking muscles is not dangerous! It's a different level of muscle twitch that usually indicates intense work that challenges the neuromuscular system," she says. "I see it as a good sign as muscles that are hard to target and are often neurologically weak tend to shake. Bring on the shake — you're activating your entire system!"

In essence, the shaking indicates that you're demanding more from your body than it's normally capable of doing. It's not a bad thing, but you can expect to be sore the next day since you're making tiny microscopic tears in your muscles. As the muscles repair themselves, you'll become stronger. So the more you work on those exercises that make you quiver, the stronger you'll get and the less you'll shake.

Just a reminder — you never want to push yourself too hard, so if you find that you're shaking from your first overhead press trying to lift 10 pounds, then you should drop down to a lighter weight.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios
Join The Conversation
Jeremy14411526 Jeremy14411526 4 years
i cant tell you how bad this gets in me I just 1 upped my brother making it 11 pull ups (without wriggleing like a worm) the look on his face priceless
melissaS melissaS 7 years
Thanks for this post I was worried about my quivering muscle. I had my first yoga lesson today and my muscles were shaking in positions where I had to lift my leg or do a lot of stretching
longhorn_sugar longhorn_sugar 9 years
great post! happens when i do ab stuff, i'm quite the dough girl = )
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
I remember having a trainer for the first time and her having me do some wacky sit ups...and I was all shaking! It was so embarrassing. lol.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
I get the shakes doing yoga & pilates moves that don't seem like they should be nearly so hard!
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
My arms do this during yoga after lots of strength training. Mostly in my wrists. I love rock climbing!
GrapeBubbleGum GrapeBubbleGum 9 years
I always feel like a wimp when I shake, but I'm glad to hear that it's not so bad. I started a circuit class today after not lifting weights for 1 and a half weeks (not THAT long of a break, but it DOES make a difference!) and I was shaking like crazy.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Now I know why I'm so sore today. Thanks, Fit!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I shake sometimes when I get to the end of my reps...not too much, just a little bit. And yeah, then I get sore the next day! A good sore, though...I've never overdone it (yet!)
syako syako 9 years
I love it when the shaking starts - especially in pilates class like holding the V position like the woman pictured. It feels great!
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
good to know! When the shaking starts is usually when I start making weird faces too haha
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I always wondered why this I know...
smellen smellen 9 years
i just upped weights for my arms last night & could feel this a bit. also, when i do tricep dips from a weight bench, i do find that to be a problem (maybe b/c i am pretty weak & trying to get stronger!).....
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