I recently had a new client come to me after a few weeks of training and say he was disappointed after our last workout because he wasm’t sore the day after, so he thought it was a bad workout.
If you’ve felt like this before or you still do think like this, don’t confuse yourself. You don’t have to be sore after every workout in order to make progress.
Why Do we get sore?
Direct Onset Muscle Soreness or (DOMS) occurs after a workout and is a common result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it’s used to, so usually when you start a new routine you will experience this. This is because we cause “Small microscopic tears occur in the muscle, when we’re lowering the weight, and when your body isn’t used to doing a specific movement it will experience the pain and inflammation.
So whenever you start a new routine or change up an exercise you’re going to experience DOMS for a few days.
Avoid These Mistakes
Because most people think if they’re no longer getting sore they need to push themselves harder.
If you’re going into a workout aiming to be sore every single time, trying to do something like wreck yourself in the gym, training extremely hard, and just feel like you’re completely tired, well you’re setting yourself up for really, really bad habits because, first of all, you could be risking yourself an injury.
Whenever you’re trying to push your muscles and body beyond their physical limits you’re bound to tweak something and you will wind up having to stop training altogether.
Another common mistake we make is thinking that we have to keep changing the exercises every week so that we’re always sore and “confusing the muscle”. The problem with this is that you’re not able to get stronger or better at an exercise.
If you’re constantly chopping and changes exercise and you have to use lighter weights because your body isn’t used to it, you’re not able to build as much muscle as possible.
In order for you to “confuse a muscle” you can do it by using a heavier weight, adding extra repetition or taking a shorter rest period as opposed to constantly changing the exercise.
What happens when DOMS stop?
So now that you know you will be getting sore after you perform a new workout for the first few weeks, it means that after you get used to the exercises the muscles will be used to the movement and won’t create DOMS. This doesn’t mean that the muscle isn’t working hard, this means that it knows how to perform the movement better and this can actually be better for you. Because you know how to do the movement better and your muscles are getting stronger this is going to allow you to use more weight.
When you’re able to use more weight and you get better at the exercise you’re able to do MORE damage to your muscle and help it grown more.
How Often Should You Be Sore
Every time you start a new workout routine (which should be every 4 – 8 weeks depending on how much progress you’re making) you’re going to usually experience muscle soreness.
Like I said that’s not a bad thing, I actually enjoy the feeling of muscle soreness because there’s just something about it where you feel good (i’m sure you know what i’m talking about)
A different mindset
What you want to be chasing instead DOMS is muscle growth, so soreness is not an indication that you worked your muscles hard. I know it’s a hard thing to think about because I used to always think about the same thing, but when you realise that as you get stronger at an exercise and can do more reps with more weight you’re going to make much greater progress than if you were just constantly coming in and doing a random workout to just get sore.
You should always go out of your workout feeling like it was an 8 out of 10. You should feel like “I pushed it hard it was a good workout, I had a little bit left in the tank but I didn’t completely blast myself”.
I guarantee you you’re going to make much, much better progress over time, you’re going to reduce your risk of injury and you’re going to enjoy the gym more because this is a long-term journey.
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