You know the feeling of waking up the morning after a tough workout. Rolling out of bed is a struggle and walking is even more so.
You can feel the tenderness of your muscles with every movement. It hurts so good! You know that you worked hard and earned that soreness!
But should you feel sore after every workout? Does lack of soreness mean you weren’t working hard enough?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is caused by swelling in the muscle compartment that results from an influx of white blood cells, prostaglandins, and other nutrients and fluids that flow to the muscles to repair the "damage" after a tough workout.
However, there is little evidence to support that this damage to the muscle is a requirement for a muscle to grow.
DOMS is not an indication of a good or bad workout. Soreness is more of an indicator that your body participated in an activity that it was not used to, and connective tissues were aggravated.
Also, certain exercises produce more soreness than others. Eccentric movements or contractions are when the muscle lengthens under load or tension, such as lowering your arm in a bicep curl.
These are proven to cause more muscle damage and result in more soreness than concentric movements. Concentric movements or contractions are when the muscle shortens under load or tension. An example of this would be the upward motion of a bicep curl or running up a hill.
If you cannot rely on your muscle soreness to indicate a good workout and progress, what can you rely on? Depending on what you want to accomplish, there are various ways to measure success. Are you able to lift more weight? Has the number on the scale gone down? Is your mile time faster?
If you are sore the days following exercising, we recommend what is called “active recovery.” It is tempting to just lay down and rest when your muscles are aching, but this causes a lack of blood flow, which is not beneficial to your muscles. Instead, engaging in “active recovery” such as walking, swimming or yoga can help relieve muscle soreness. A massage or foam rolling can also help alleviate muscle tenderness and pain.
When you first begin exercising, you will probably feel sore after most workouts. But once your muscles get more fit and are used to being pushed, you might not have to deal with DOMS. However, if you’re not seeing improvement in the other ways you are measuring progress, it might be time to add more weight, miles, or try a new exercise routine.
Luckily, with your HomeFit trainer you never need to worry about becoming stagnant in your regimen. Each trainer makes sure you are progressing and achieving your goals by creating a workout specifically designed for your body.