I have noticed that I fatigue and develop a swollen or "tight" feeling in my muscles from doing too many reps. The amount of reps defined as "too many" is any over about 5.

I notice that even if I'm just squatting without any weight (using only my bodyweight) I get the same effect ... tightness, swollen feeling, fatigue, and usually DOMS if I continue sets like this.

What I want to know is: why is this? I mean I tend to almost always stay in the 1-5 rep range, but that's for strength building. I don't have a serious regimen, but that shouldn't explain why any amount of reps causes this sensation.

Say I squat 135 lbs. for 3 ... sure, it takes decent work, but if I were to do 3 reps without the weight, I'd still get that swollen, tired sensation.

Are my muscles just lazy (is that possible)? Am I unconditioned for reps so bad that any endurance is off-tracking for my nervous system?

I don't care for many reps, but I am just wondering why I get this aftermath from simply trying a few more reps here and there with varying weights.

PS: Yes, even after stretching of any kind it's the same problem. I try to get several days between workouts, but that "tired, aching" sensation lasts for days or even weeks.

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    The first question I'll ask is have you seen a medical practitioner about it? Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 21:14
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    No, I virtually never see "medical practitioners." I certainly wouldn't waste time to see one for such a menial concern over fitness. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 21:16
  • I haven't seen/heard about such a condition before. But I'll research it and see what I come up with. But I think people'll still advise you to obtain a medical clearance first (at least to be sure that it's not a symptom of something serious) Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 21:26
  • I agree with @Kneel to consult with your doctor. Generally, these descriptions fall out of the norm: "tired, aching" sensation lasts for days or even weeks" with "3 reps without the weight, I'd still get that swollen, tired sensation." I don't think it would be a waste of time to have a check-up to make sure this isn't an early warning of something else. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 22:20
  • Yes. This kind of fatigue is not normal. Consult your doctor. They won't see it as a menial concern, that's what they are there for Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 22:24

2 Answers 2


What aerobic exercise do you do? What exercises get you heart rate within target range for 20+ min. My guess would be a lack of general fitness. If your heart and lungs aren't strong enough to get oxygenated blood to your muscles, then you wont be able to build strength as effectively.

No, I virtually never see "medical practitioners." I certainly wouldn't waste time to see one for such a menial concern over fitness.

For the love of god I hope this is a joke. Doctors aren't just for the sick. See a doc in order to keep yourself healthy and safe. Be thankful if the visit is a "waste" of your time, because it means that you don't have more serious problems looming over the horizon. Go see a doc, go see a doc, ......... go see a doc.


Just to rule out worst-case scenarios, do you have any issues with eye movement as the day goes on? There's a nasty auto-immune disease called Myasthenia Gravis where the primary symptoms are loss of muscular control with use. Almost always, it's characterized by often-used muscles such as the eyes and the jaw, but there are rare cases just involving major muscle groups. The signature field test involves having the person being tested do a squeeze test about 4-5 times in a row with the diagnosis coming if the person's strength consistently falls with each squeeze. This is sounding dangerously similar. I would definitely recommend seeing a doctor. Yes, it is an investment of time and money (when you consider lost wages, even with health insurance, the average medical visit costs a cool $100 for many professions), but the amount you'll save if this is something major is enough to justify the cost.

  • This was my first thought. It's a disease that occurs in all ages, but is more prevalent if there is a family history of auto-immune diseases. If you are reluctant to see a doctor, then you can draw blood and check for antibodies for the acetylcholine receptor; if the test is positive, there is a high probability you have the disease. Whatever the result, I also recommend a visit to the doctor. Commented May 11, 2014 at 21:15

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