Muscle soreness is NOT an indication of a good workout. You can have an excellent workout and feel little or no muscle soreness in the days following.
Tweetable: “Muscle soreness is a sign that you 1) did something NEW or 2) pushed your body beyond its current ability. It is NOT proof of a good workout” @WStrengthNation
A weeeeee little bit of muscle soreness in the 1-2 days after a strength workout does give you feedback that you challenged yourself. Therefore, if you are strength training right, you should see some muscle “fallout” from your workouts every now and then. Once or twice per week you should wake up the next day (or two days later) and say: “Ooooooo, riiiiight, I worked out yesterday!”
That muscle soreness should almost never be intense, and we all have different definitions of “muscle soreness.”
At least once per week you should feel something in your body that reminds you that you worked out. That feeling might be stiffness, tightness, ache, pressure, or fatigue. All of these symptoms point to the fact that you challenged your body and the muscles have some fallout.
If you rarely or never feel soreness (or the symptoms above) it might be time to step up your game during your workouts!
For the most part, the ONLY reason muscle soreness occurs is:
- You did something new or have restarted your workouts. Any time your muscles do something new at a challenging level, they risk getting beat up a little. This is normal! If you try a new move or new workout, or, are just getting back into the gym after some time off, you can expect to see some muscle fallout. Stay consistent and the post-workout soreness will disappear.
- You pushed yourself beyond your body’s current ability. This is good! That’s the whole point of the workout. In a perfect world, your muscle soreness should almost never go beyond a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 represents no muscle soreness at all, and 10 represents you…on a couch…because you can’t walk. If you find that you are SUPER sore, most likely it is because you just pushed too hard in the last workout. HOT TIP: One of the biggest culprits to this is caffeine. Extra caffeine before a workout can often mean extra…enthusiasm…in your workout, which leads to pushing yourself a bit more than you’d be inclined to without the buzzzzz.
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“We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.”
Stay strong, friend.