This Is Why You Get The Muscle Shakes During Intense Workouts

why do my muscles shake when i workout

Unsplash/Scott Webb

We all know the minute it happens. We’re 85 percent of the way through that final set of glute bridges when every muscle in our legs starts spazzing out. WTF is going on? Why must our bodies make us look and feel like newborn giraffes on the gym floor no matter how strong we are?

This reaction, friends, stems from working at your absolute maximum. During tough workouts, your muscles push and push, according to what you request of them, until they reach a state of fatigue. And when you continue pushing beyond that boundary, overloading the muscles to encourage growth, they can start to shake.

The shaking itself has to do with the connection between your nerve cells and the muscle fibers that are working. When you exercise intensely, you deplete those little chemical messengers that create those important connections. But because all cells don’t fire at once, you experience earthquake-style trembling rather than just collapsing entirely out of the exercise you’re performing and falling to the floor in an exhausted heap.

why do my muscles shake when i workout

Unsplash/Maria Fernanda Gonzalez

Even if you think you’re the only one trembling through the plank series in barre class, know that shaking muscles are entirely normal. There is nothing wrong with you or your body. You’re just seriously pushing yourself. (And we find that isometric, static holds and tiny pulsing movements are what make us shake the most, TBH.)

The only time the shaking can really increase your risk of injury is when you’re lifting physical weights that are on the heavy side (and by heavy side, we mean too heavy for you). If you start shaking early on in the set but continue working, you risk more than overloading the muscle — you can cause actual problems like larger rips, pulls and tears. So if you find that shaking is a pretty consistent occurrence at the beginning of your workouts, it might be time to reduce the intensity and weight amounts a little bit.

This is just another one of those things that require listening to your body. You’ll definitely know what a good muscle shake feels like and what an “OMG I’m about to hurt myself” muscle shake feels like. So stay mindful during your workouts, and you won’t have an issue. If anything, you’ll build strength that much faster.


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