Does “No Pain” Really Mean “No Gain”?

“I’m not really getting sore from my workouts anymore. Does this mean I’m not getting results?” Well, potentially… if you’re fluffing around lifting sooky little weights, rushing your reps and not giving your sessions 100% (you’ll know if you’re not). But is soreness really a sign of an effective workout?

It’s a common misconception among gym-goers that muscle soreness is a symptom of muscle damage, which is needed for hypertrophy, and is therefore a good indicator of #gainz. Current research has actually failed to find any direct correlation between muscle damage and hypertrophy. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that muscle damage is not needed for muscle growth to occur at all. Furthermore, even if muscle damage WAS necessary for hypertrophy, soreness is not a reliable indication that muscle damage has even occurred.

Bottom line: Stop judging the success of your workouts on how closely you resemble a baby giraffe the day after.

As a general guide, you want to feel sore enough to remind you that you trained hard, but not so sore that you need a wheelchair to get around. Remember back to how you felt after your first one or two sessions – THAT sore? Well imagine feeling like that after every session? How could you possibly improve performance when you need a week to recover between each session? You certainly couldn’t train frequently enough to produce any sizeable results.

While it’s normal to feel some DOMS from your workouts it shouldn’t be your main goal. Getting stronger IS. So if your strength is improving, you’re feeling good and performing well, then the fact you aren’t getting as sore only shows that your body is adapting well and recovery is improving. That’s a GREAT sign!

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