Is Muscle Soreness After a workout An Indicator of A Good Workout?
People always tell me if they were sore after a personal training session or group class. Many post on social media about how sore they were after their workout. There are memes all over the Internet about not being able to walk after leg day. It is almost like a badge of honor for some, but is soreness an indicator of a good workout? Is a workout still effective if you aren’t sore the next day?
In short, yes, your workout is still effective even if you aren’t sore! When you first start a new workout, your muscles are not used to the challenge and you will probably feel it the next day or so. However, after a period of completing those exercises, your body adapts to the movements and you most likely don’t feel soreness. Muscle soreness is just telling you that you changed something, overdid it, or did something your body wasn’t used to. So how do you know if you are getting results if you aren’t sore? By measuring your progress in other ways such as a workout log, measurements, pictures or by how you feel. So how do you get that progression without being sore?
To improve your strength and overall fitness you must progress your routine. Doing the exact same thing over and over for months won’t result in improvement after a period of time. Your body will adapt to your movements and needs a change every few months to challenge your muscles. You can do this by altering your exercises, increasing your weight and/or changing the number of repetitions you do. Some slight soreness is expected after you first make these adjustments, however, excessive soreness may occur when you make too large of an increase. For example, if you have been using a 5 lb weight for bicep curls for weeks and then start using 15 lbs.. Or if you have never run over 2 miles at a time but go and run a half marathon (13.1 miles). Without slowly increasing your weight or your miles in these examples, you are going to be super sore and are risking injury. Gradually making adjustments to your fitness routine will challenge your body but will only result in possible minor soreness right after you make those changes. You can progress effectively without intense discomfort.
Some muscle soreness is normal after making a change to your routine. However, it shouldn’t be all of the time and doesn’t have to be extreme. Don’t use soreness as an indicator of a good workout. Measure your results by using a workout log, measurements, pictures or by how you feel. The key is to gradually and sensibly progress your workouts. This can be done by understanding your current levels of fitness and strength and applying small and frequent increases in intensities or volume according to where you are now. You can avoid muscle soreness and still achieve great results.