Last Updated on July 24, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
I’ve always wondered why my muscles shake when ever I flexed. For example, my arm would vibrate if I tried to show off my bicep for longer than five seconds. As I continue to exercise and rebuild myself, I’ve come to realize that shaking is an indicator of weakness. Let me explain…
When Muscles Shake…
According to an article by the Huffington Post, muscles shake during exercise as a sign of fatigue. The more effort you put in to maintain a flex, the more it quivers. This is a perfectly normal response from the human body, especially if you’re as out of shape as I am.
This exhaustion can also come in the form of sleep deprivation. Obviously a lack of sleep is going to make any physical and mental work much more difficult to complete. Sleep is vital, and not just because it will help those yawns when sitting in a classroom or in your office first thing in the morning.
Muscles will also shake if you’re dehydrated. A lack of water reduces the signals that are transmitted through the body. Think about it…your body is constantly sending electrical impulses to do everything from flexing muscles to breathing. Imagine water as the superconductor it is and realize low content reduces the body’s ability to work correctly.
Hypoglycemia can also lead to shakiness, but this feels much different from simple muscle fatigue. When I go into hypoglycemic shock, the vibrations are much faster and I often feel light-headed during the process. This doesn’t mean that you’re suffering from hypoglycemia if you start to shake during a workout, though. But if you do experience something similar, it may not be a bad idea to see a physician…better safe than sorry.
How to Avoid Vibrating Muscles
You have a few options for combating shaky muscles. Unfortunately, I cannot say with absolute certainty which will be the best option for you. After all, everyone’s physiology and needs are very different. However, these are the methods I use to reduce the shakiness as I continue my workouts.
1. Regular Exercise of the Particular Muscle Group
This is the number one method I use to reduce how often I shake during exercise. The more effort you put into working out those particular muscles, the less fatigued they become over time. This is because the muscles are becoming more acclimated to constant use than before.
Case in point: I experienced a great deal of shakiness when trying to do a plank for 30 seconds for the first time. Almost immediately after I would start, my muscles would start to tremble violently. However, the shakiness subsided the more often I did the exercise. Now, I can plank for more than 90 seconds before the vibrations kick in.
If you want to improve muscle fatigue, you need to use those muscles regularly. Think of it as training for yourself. Nothing is more embarrassing that arm wrestling a person and knowing he or she can feel you tremble. You know they’ll take it as a sign of fear, which really isn’t the case.
2. Keep Hydrated
Making sure you have enough water throughout your day improves many different aspects of your health. In this instance, it will keep you lubricated as well as improving impulse transmissions within your muscles.
How much water should you drink? Unfortunately, that is something currently up for debate. Traditionally, experts agreed you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. Some now attest to some convoluted calculation regarding your weight, height and other factors.
I personally strive for the 80 ounces. This new formula would require that I drink more than two gallons per day…which is not going to happen. I’d never leave the bathroom.
3. Eat Well and Know Your Body
Improper eating before extensive workouts can easily sap your energy and cause your body to experience a range of issues. For me, I am prone to hypoglycemia. During a 45 minute exercise routine, I can easily exhaust myself and go into shock. This is usually because of my eating habits before a workout.
Sometimes muscles shake because they are not getting the components needed for physical activity. Of course the foods you eat will be a factor determined by what you’re doing. A lot of body builders will load up on carbs and proteins to turn it into muscle density and burn as energy for a prolonged workout.
Today, I will bring a Nutrigrain Blueberry bar and snack at around the 20-minute mark. This has made a profound difference in my experience and eliminates the issues I have with hypoglycemia. It’s the 12 grams of sugar that keep my insulin levels in check during extensive workouts.
Will protein supplements help curb trembling muscles? That depends on your physiology. For untrained people, protein supplements like drinks and bars have less of an impact on muscle density and energy than someone who is experienced in fitness. However, studies suggest that prolonged exposure to exercise and protein supplements does benefit the workout in the long term. This means you shouldn’t expect instant results.
It’s Not an Instant Fix
Muscle fatigue is not going to be something you can fix overnight. Well, unless you’re suffering from a lack of sleep or hypoglycemia. If you tremble because you’re using muscle groups that you don’t often work, it will take time to eliminate shaking.
It’s all about getting your body accustomed to using those muscles on a regular basis. Just be careful, though. If you shake too violently, you could wind up hurting yourself such as pulling a muscle or hurting a joint. I remember once when I was doing a plank that I shook so hard that it actually caused a great deal of discomfort in my shoulder.
Take it nice and easy. Fitness isn’t a race, and you’re not going to do any good if you cause damage to yourself trying to reach unrealistic goals for your own physiology. Find your limits and work on self-improvement.
It’s Good When Muscles Shake
Don’t be worried too much when your muscles shake during a workout. This is often your body telling you that certain groups of muscles are not as defined as they should be. In reality, it’s a way to determine which parts of you need improvement. The more you physical activity you get, the less your muscles shake from fatigue.