Perhaps the most famous phrase in bodybuilding, or any high-intensity workout, is “no pain, no gain.” We all love this phrase because it encourages to push ourselves just a bit further, and it also serves as a little reward for our efforts, even when that workout goes from fun to grueling. But is there any fact behind this phrase? Are sore muscles really the sign that you’re working out effectively? As some of the leading researchers of sports nutrition, Axis Labs will dissect this idea further.
Muscle Soreness And Your Workout
For many who are new to working out regularly, or are changing the way they work out, they often get stuck on this connection between muscle soreness and their workout. The pain they experience becomes the metric by which they measure the intensity of their exercise. So when they finish a set of exercise and don’t feel any pain immediately afterward, or even hours, or days later, they start to wonder, “Why am I sore after some workouts and not others? Are some workouts not as effective as others?” While this is a common line of thought, it’s not always a healthy one.
So, Sore Muscles Mean Better Workout Right?
The short answer is no.
Sore muscles are not a great indicator of the quality or quantity of your exercise. Sore muscles the day after an intense workout session don’t mean that you’ve added strength or mass to your muscles, or burned any more fat. Simultaneously, not having sore muscles after a workout doesn’t mean that the workout was any less intense as other exercises. Simply put, sore muscles tell you nothing beyond the fact that your muscles are sore.
If that’s the case, why do muscles get sore?
Sore Muscles Are The Product Of Change
Basically, your muscles get sore when you ask them to do something new. Let’s say that you are a regular gym-goer. You can bench like a boss, and your squats are the stuff of legends. But one day, your friend invites you on a hike. If barbells can’t stop you, then surely nature can’t either. But the next day, your legs are on fire, your calves are tight and tense, and even your toes hurt somehow. What causes this pain? It’s because you’re utilizing different muscle groups in different ways than you’re used to. But if you were to continue to go hiking, that post-hike soreness would fade with time.
As our bodies become accustomed to an exercise, we feel less and less muscle soreness. Eventually, you’ll be able to conduct that exercise with no pain after at all. So this doesn’t mean that these exercises are any more or less effective, it just means that your muscles are becoming used to that exercise and kind of stress.
But Some Exercises Can Leave You More Sore Than Others
Even the best of us still have a few exercises that leave us feeling a little queasy when we think about them. They might be hard to do, or leave us feeling wrecked the next morning. But why? In some cases, it’s because these exercises add some sort of stretch to them. These exercises force your muscles to flex and stretch simultaneously. But a general answer is because everyone’s body is unique, and our muscles and tendons will respond differently to exercises than our friends and family members.
What Is the Measure Of A Good Workout?
If you’ve gotten to this point, and you’re scratching your head, wondering “Well, if sore muscles don’t mean I’ve been working out enough, what does?” Fortunately, there’s a really simple answer to this question: results. If you have been hitting the gym for a month, and an exercise you struggled with at the beginning of the month is easy at the end of the month, that means that you’re working out effectively.
So, the next time you hit the gym, don’t workout expecting to feel pain the next day unless you’re trying something new. Workout to build and develop different muscle groups, and measure your progress by the number of reps you can do, the pounds you shed, and the muscles you tone. Of course, if you do hit a new exercise hard, and you don’t want to experience that muscle soreness the next day, you can take advantage of our comprehensive line of recovery products, designed to get you back into the gym faster