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Does Muscle Soreness = Great Workout?!!!

The short answer is no!

But we know you’re here for more than that, so let’s get into it!

DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)

DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is where you feel your muscles are sore and achy a few days after a workout.

It’s a very common phenomenon and can often suggest a good workout.

If, for example, you trained your chest and shoulders and then a few days later, you feel your chest and shoulders are sore, it gives you positive feedback that you did a good job, your training technique and form hit the intended muscle groups.

This can even help you develop your mind-muscle connection.

If you can feel the trained muscles more, you can feel how to contract them more effectively, you will be able to engage those muscles more effectively during your workouts to deliver better results.

On the other hand, if a few days later the only thing aching and sore after your chest and shoulder workout is your back, then this is immediate feedback that your training may have been off!

Perhaps you were over-arching your back, or your form was incorrect and as a result you over-strained a part of your body accidentally.

You can use this biofeedback to adjust your training and form at your next workout to hit your desired muscles more effectively.

So far so good!

So, what’s the downside?

There are various hypotheses but one of the most popular is that DOMS are due to micro-tears in your muscles at a cellular level and it is these tears which cause the soreness you feel.

You tear your muscles, they recover and then compensate by becoming stronger and possibly bigger.

Then rinse and repeat for ongoing results!

The problem is that some folks take it too far and they end up chasing DOMS, thinking no DOMS means no results!

Remember, as we’ve said many times before in our videos and other posts, always aim to train each body part twice per week for optimal results.

Now if you trained a body part, say you trained your legs so hard that when it came time to train your legs again, they still feel sore, then you’re training too hard!

The on-going soreness means the micro-tears in your muscles have not adequately recovered and by training a muscle which is still sore, you risk breaking it down further and instead of the muscle becoming bigger and stronger, you might end up with the opposite result or even end up with an injury!

If your DOMS are so severe that you’re still sore come time to train any body part again, then either you’re training too hard or you’re not getting adequate recovery.

You might need to look at your training program, how hard you’re training, your sleep and your nutrition to see where things might require more optimization.

The reality is that as you train and progress, as you become more accustomed to certain exercises, moves and weights, you will invariably feel less DOMS as your body adapts to the stresses being put upon it! That’s a good thing, it means you are getting stronger, fitter and making progress!

And if you’re wondering how to know if you’re making progress if you’re no longer feeling DOMS, well just take a step back and look at yourself!

If you’re lifting more than you used to, if you’re able to perform more reps than you used to, if you are seeing positive, visible changes to your body shape, if your body measurements (body weight, arm, waist, leg circumference, etc.) are all going in the direction you want them to, then you have a lot of ways to monitor your progress.

While DOMS can be a useful indicator, remember that if you no longer feel them as much, it can suggest you are getting fitter and stronger.

If you want to experience fresh DOMS, train harder but not so hard that that your muscles are still sore the next time you want to train that same muscle group because then you’ll likely be hindering your own progress!

DOMS or no DOMS – time to go get those results!

Laters folks,

Dr. Bobby Stryker


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