Is Muscle Soreness a Good Indicator of an Effective Workout?

Delayed on set muscle soreness or otherwise known as DOMS is used by many as an indicator for a successful workout. But does a lack of soreness mean that your workout was a waste?

 

Soreness is typically caused when you perform an exercises your body isn’t used to. This is why as you consistently perform an exercise you become less sore over time. 

Think about it this way, the first time you do something new, you likely aren't the greatest at it. It takes practice to be good. Your body is the same way with exercise. The more you practice a movement, the stronger you become.

This increase in strength allows you to perform more reps at a higher weight and progressively overload your muscles leading to greater growth.


Now while muscle damage can drive hypertrophy and soreness is an indicator of muscle damage. You can still have muscle damage with out soreness.

 

Therefore soreness isn’t a great indicator for muscle growth or an indicator of a good workout. A better indicator would be an increase in strength, repetitions or tracking results through measurements.

Thats not to say you shouldn't change your exercises, working a movement pattern too often can lead to overuse and injury. Therefore it is recommended to change your exercises every once in a while to prevent injury.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21270317/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12617692/

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