Are Sore Muscles The Day After a Workout a Positive Or Negative?

Sore muscles the day after an intense workout ... we've probably all been there at one time or another.
But is this soreness a positive or a negative?
My answer, neither. A workout should not be judged on whether or not the muscles you were targeting are sore the next day. Instead, it should be judged by training adaptations (strength gain, lean mass gain, fat loss, flexibility gains, etc.).
But I think it is helpful to understand this soreness a little better, and why it may or may not happen. So, here is a little crash course:
  • Post-workout muscle soreness is typically referred to as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
  • Each person experiences DOMS differently.
  • DOMS usually occurs 24-72 hours after a training session.
  • Intensity varies by person because everyone's muscle fiber is constructed differently.
  • It's the tears in muscle fibers that can cause DOMS (not lactic acid like many assume).
  • Beware of too much soreness - especially if it lasts more than 5 days (approx.).
Remember, if soreness is making you immobile, it counteracts with routine goals of training!

Tony Muyco
Functional Elements Director of Training