Do you know about the term ” Delayed onset muscle soreness ” ( DOMS )? How often do you experience muscle soreness after the workout? Do you consider it as a sign of a good workout? Do you think your body grows more when it happens? Well, let’s see what the best bodybuilders have to say about that and let’s break some myths about muscle soreness.
What is muscle soreness?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) , also called muscle fever, is the pain and stiffness that you feel in your muscles after unaccustomed or hard workout. It’s thought to be caused by eccentric exercise which causes micro trauma to the muscle fibers. It’s usually most intensive 24 to 72 hours after the exercise but it can last even longer, especially if you workout for the first time. The pain is felt when you stretch and contract the muscle and it can be very intense.
About muscle soreness
Muscle soreness hits all the beginners. When you start to workout you can expect pretty strong soreness after first few workouts. That’s perfectly normal process until your body gets used to weight training. I know many of them who actually gave up after the first training session and decided to leave the gym. But if you can’t stand some pain your place isn’t at the gym, that’s for sure.
Muscle soreness also appears when you add some new exercises in your routine. Let’s say you’re doing chest: your common routine is to do 4 sets of bench press, than 4 sets of incline bench press, 4 sets of dumbbell presses and finally 4 sets of dumbbells flys… Now, when you decide to add some other exercise, or replace it with one from the above ( example: machine press with bench press ), you can expect your muscles to be sore the very next day. This may happen again until the muscles get used to the new exercise.
Also, after a very intense workout, when the muscles get under a greater stress than usual, they react and they get sore.
So is muscle soreness a sign of a good workout?
I like that feeling when my muscles get sore after a workout. For me is a sign of a particularly good day at the gym. I must admit I love that feeling. Is soreness a sign of a muscle growth? Not necessary. Some body parts get sore more frequently than the others but that doesn’t mean they grow more, right? In my case, legs and chest are the body parts that get sore more often, but they aren’t any bigger or less proportional compared to the other body parts. As a matter of fact I consider chest as my weakest point.
SO YES, MUSCLE SORENESS CAN BE A SIGN OF A GOOD WORKOUT, BUT IT CERTAINLY CAN’T BE A SURE SIGN OF MUSCLE GROWTH.
Few days ago I’ve run onto an article in “Muscular Development” magazine where some top pro bodybuilders gave their views on this particular topic. So let’s see what they say about muscle soreness :
Dennis judges soreness as a sign of a good or bad workout, so if you get sore that means you did good, of course. But also if the soreness gets too intense, it’s a sign you’ve pushed too hard, so that’s not good either. He also says that soreness doesn’t always mean growth as his shoulders ( considered as his strongest body part ) almost never get sore. On the other side, his legs, chest and back get sore all the times.
Branch doesn’t pay much attention on muscle soreness . “I’ve had awesome workouts where I fully expected to be crazy sore the next day, and I wasn’t. At other times, I’ve had workouts that I didn’t consider to be anything special where I did get really sore.”, says Branch. He likes to go by the pump, and considers it as the main showing of a good workout.
Evan claims that soreness isn’t necessary an indicator of growth. Also if you make a muscle so sore that it hurts for five days or so, you’re not going to grow. The proper stimulation is the key of getting big – it’s not the same to do 100 reps using some very light weight, or 8 – 10 reps using very heavy weight. Although you can get sore in both cases, only in second case your muscle can grow. So his advice is not to chase the soreness doing too many forced reps or drop sets, it can lead to over training.