A common question people ask, does muscle soreness mean muscle growth.
So do you remember the first day you went to the gym you did some random stuff you weren’t even doing anything programmed and the next day your arms your legs they hurt so much and you were like ah this is the worst?
The next day it got worse You’re like I’m never going to the gym again.
But a few months later or a few years later you’re addicted to it and you can’t see your life without going to the gym.
So the question is what actually causes soreness of the muscle?
There are some myths about this in the past. We thought that it was due to lactic acid building up during the workouts.
When you’re pumping muscles, lactic acid builds up and the lactic acid is what causes muscle soreness but this is just not based on good research and it’s not true and a lot of people still believe this.
If you talk to someone and you say my muscle are some someone will say well it’s just it’s just a lactic acid in there that’s just not true.
Micro-tears causes muscle soreness
So a lot of the muscle soreness that we experience is from micro-tears. When you go to the gym you break down your muscle.
You’re basically tearing your muscle down and then afterwards you eat food, you sleep and protein synthesis occurs and when that rate of protein synthesis outweighs that rate of protein degeneration and break down muscle hypertrophy or growth will occur given a consistent period of that happening.
So those micro tears may be responsible for a lot of that soreness and you can fill them.
If you work out your bicep, you work out your back, you work it out really hard, you might feel that soreness the next day from breaking down that muscle tissue.
But a lot of the research is actually showing that it’s not just the micro tears and and and sometimes it’s not even them at all and it can sometimes be because of the connective tissue between muscles that causes muscle pain.
Your workout frequency effects muscle soreness
Another factor which is going to be really important in terms of muscle soreness is going to be the frequency of which you work a certain muscle.
If you continuously work your legs may be the first few times you try and do squats your legs are going to be really sore, but if you continue to do that day after day that soreness is going to go away.
Is it even logical if you’re not getting sore?
Soreness is what’s associated with muscle breakdown and muscle breakdown is needed for muscle growth. Then if you’re not getting sore from your exercise are you just wasting your time?
The answer is no.
You do not have to be so to build muscle, but it is a good indication that you’re doing the right thing.
There are also other factors involved in determining whether you get delayed onset muscle soreness which is basically what sore muscles after a workout.
These factors can be age, if you are older you may get sore more easily if you’re new to workouts you may get sore more easily if you’re doing the form and the technique of the movement differently you may get so easily or less easy your genetics play a big role.
There are many factors that indicate muscle soreness and growth
Some muscles just don’t sore as other’s shoulders.
Sot of people don’t get sore matter how much they workout, but for a lot of people legs get sore very very easily.
So it depends on your muscle as well.
Don’t rely on soreness as an indicator of progress, growth and progression.
Your indicator of progression should be your ability to progressively overload your muscles.
If you’re continuously getting stronger week to week, you’re continuously resting less between sets and exercises, you’re training more intense you’re better than you were the last week, the last month and you’re not getting sore at all then seriously you don’t have to freak out.
Muscle soreness depends on the type of workout you do
It also depends on the type of exercise you’re doing.
If you do 50 repetitions of a lightweight and you do that for bench press and you really focus on squeezing your muscles you may very well get super sore from those 50 repetitions the next day.
You could also be doing low reps and very heavy weight and not feel soreness at all but get more benefits and growth out of those low reps and high weight, so it’s completely subjective.
Soreness in and of itself isn’t a good indicator to base your growth and progression of
Some research also shows that eccentric parts of the movement are also going to produce more damage which means they may be good for hypertrophy and potentially more soreness.
So the eccentric part of the movement has been showed to be more involved with breaking down more tissue.
so the eccentric part of the movement on a bicep curl, for example, is when you’re going out it’s that negative portion of the movement then concentric is when you’re going in.
Eccentric parts of the movement are responsible for more breakdown of muscle tissue which is why it’s important to take your time on the negative parts of a rep.
If you love pull-ups, but when you come down from the top of a pull-up don’t just let go, come down slowly and controlled because that controlled part of the movement is doing just as much if not more damage to the muscle.
Micro tears aren’t necessarily responsible for the soreness
Muscle soreness had much more to do with connective tissue right and that can be a reason.
If you don’t train that frequently if, you train once or twice per week and you train very hard on those days for 40 minutes you may get very sore on those days.
But if you train 5 or 6 days a week and you do similar workouts to a similar intensity you may not get a saw but you may progress quicker.
More frequent workouts to a certain extent have been shown to be more beneficial.
So that in itself shows that muscle soreness isn’t an important variable to focus on.
Muscle soreness is just an indication that you’re new to a certain exercise
Your body isn’t that used to it or your training infrequently or that’s just your genetics and you get sore more easily than other people.
Focus on progressive overload, focus on getting better, stronger, resting less, doing more, training more frequently and all these factors are going to be much more reliable indications as to whether you’re growing as to whether you’re retaining your strength and your size while you were trying to get ripped and lose fat.
Ways to get rid of muscle soreness
Something you can do to potentially help to alleviate inflammation and soreness after a workout is to take an ice bath or to take a cold shower.
These things may help to alleviate a bit of the pain but honestly, I think you should learn to enjoy it.
Just don’t take cold showers or expose yourself to very cold temperatures straight after a workout.
Research has shown this blocks anabolic signalling and that’s because although inflammation can be bad when chronic, acute meaning short-term inflammation is a positive response that you need after a workout and that’s important for protein synthesis.
So if you take cold showers after a workout you may be hindering your ability to grow and retain muscle.