Feeling extra soreness doesn’t mean muscle growth. No soreness also does not mean that today’s training has no effect.

Soreness indicates that exercise intensity or duration exceeds the body’s current exercise capacity. But the good news is that as you get used to the pain, your athletic ability, strength, and endurance will improve.


Muscle soreness

Why Do We Feel Muscle Soreness after Exercises?

Muscle soreness is divided into two types:

  1. One is that occurs during or immediately after exercise, which can be called acute muscle soreness.
  2. The other is delayed muscle soreness (DOMS), which is the most important type of pain discussed in this article.

Acute Muscle Soreness

The cause of this muscle soreness is lactic acid. It leads to a decrease in the contractility of your muscles and curbs the energy supply of your system so that you can no longer complete the next standard action through muscle contraction.

Our bodies are prone to produce lactic acid when we engage in strenuous exercises, such as high jump, hurdle and sprinting.



But lactic acid is usually completely clear from the body an hour or two after stopping exercise, so acute muscle soreness does not last long.

Delayed Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

The eccentric muscle movements are the most common cause of this kind of muscle aches and pains. This kind of soreness usually reaches its peak within 24 to 72 hours after your workout, and some people even have pain for more than 5 days, and the pain usually disappears after 5 to 7 days.

Take the dumbbells for example, when we pull up dumbbells, we are doing concentric training, which means that we’re shortening the muscle with tension.

Put the dumbbells down

When we lowering and stretching, we are doing eccentric exercise. So what happens is, you’re getting micro-tears and damage in your muscle fibers when you do eccentric training. That’s where our soreness comes from.

No DOMS, No Gain?

See, when you work your muscles harder than usual, it can cause micro-trauma or microscopic tears. We know that building muscle does involve minor damage and healing. But it isn‘t totally clear if muscle soreness and growth use the same mechanism.

question mark

Especially because researchers have found that feeling extra soreness doesn’t mean that you are growing more muscle. Either way, though, the next time you work out should be easier thanks to the so-called, “repeated bout effect”.

Since muscle soreness mainly comes from exercises your muscles that aren’t used to, after a while, they’ll start to adapt and you won’t be in as much pain.

More is better?

Muscle soreness can help indicate the effectiveness of your workout to a degree. However, its not the more muscle soreness you experience after your workout, the more your muscles will grow.

This often leaves people disheartened when they dont experience muscle soreness after their workout. And they convince themselves to do anything they can to achieve the muscle soreness that they once felt.

Muscle Soreness Muscle Growth

One anecdotal example and something that is supported by the literature is that some muscle groups like the shoulders don’t experience muscle soreness to the same degree as other muscle groups, like the legs, or the biceps for example.

But since these muscles that are less prone to soreness still experience growth, it indicates that soreness is not necessary for muscle growth.

Another good example is that studies have shown the presence of muscle soreness after a long-distance running which many of you can probably relate to, but since running is not associated with significant muscle growth.

It once again indicates that muscle soreness is not suggestive of muscle growth.

If you are still exercising throughout the week, whether the pain occurs or not, this process will lead to muscle damage, which means that it can increase more muscles.

Want No More Muscle Soreness?

The comprehensive action of many factors leads to DOMS.

Therefore, it is difficult to remove it by a single method. However, in terms of basic prevention and preparation, we should make the warm-up activities fully before vigorous exercise. 

If you can touch somewhere in the actual muscle and feel the discomfort, more than likely it’s going to be because of your workout, and that’s a good thing.

  • Supplementation. High-grade protein, have the nutrients in place to be able to help the repair process. Especially when the repair process kicks in the most: when you are sleeping. And I think most people will ignore the supplement before going to bed.
  • Stretching. Do it before you go to bed. Stretching has a positive impact on flexibility over time by increasing muscle and joint elasticity. Thus increasing the depth and range of motion that you can reach.
  • Getting enough sleep. This is the simplest and most comfortable method.


The faster you recover, the quicker you can get rid of muscle soreness. The right supplements can easily improve your rate of recovery.

And if you can improve your rate of recovery, the rate that you can get rid of muscle soreness, the faster you can come back and train hard again.

Should I Workout When I Feel Muscle Soreness?

Now if you didn’t hurt yourself but the muscle is very sore to the point that it hurts when you touch it or causes you not to have a full range of motion.

Then my answer is waiting another day to work for that muscle group. Creating more tears in damage will disrupt the recovery process. Rest that area a little longer now if you’re feeling reasonably sore.

Get some rest

And do some light lifting activity, in this case, is good because it does not damage muscle tissue.

And it increases the temperature in the area which increases oxygen flow and flow of much-needed nutrients to help heal the damage. This flow is also good because it helps take toxins away.

Bottom Line

So in general, both lactic acid and DOMS make our muscles feeling sore. Muscle pain indicates to some extent that the current exercise intensity exceeds our body’s ability to recover.

But no matter whether we feel pain or not, as long as there is exercise, our muscles will have a “tearing” process. And the basic principle of muscle growth is the cyclic process of muscle fiber tearing and excessive recovery.

Our bodies will repeat the process of “excessive recovery”. In this progress, if we can provide adequate nutrition for our physical recovery, then our muscles will become stronger and stronger.