T Nation

Getting Enough Recovery


Hey guys, I just have a real quick question that I'd like some perspective on. It's regarding training a particular muscle group (shoulders and biceps in my case), resting but not feeling soreness the next day and feeling like I can train the muscle again soon.

So how do I know if I've properly stimulated and trained the muscle and it needs recovery? Is it a rule of thumb that if the muscle isn't sore I haven't targeted it properly and it won't grow?

Mind you I'm not some small dude - 6'3 240lbs, it's just a recent phenomenon I'm experiencing.

Cheers in advance.


I'm sure heaps of rah rah comments will kick in, but the simple way to see whether your muscle 'function' has been affected is do a strength test.


Do it strict, and legit, but strength test yourself.

If you see something like at least a 10% drop (pulling that number out of my ass), you've probably been affected and shouldn't go again till it at least gets back to normal (or supercompensates and bounces up a bit).

For biceps, a single arm preacher curl is a straightforward easy 1RM to do and see if things have dropped off.

The muscle being sore or not may not necessarily suggest anything, as muscle DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) could be from one of several quite disparate physiological mechanisms.

edit: if it hasn't changed (strength that is), then sweet, there should be nothing stopping you training again.


I half agree with GG, because I also do the "strength test" every once in a while with biceps. I don't think its realistic to do with larger muscle groups though.

My shoulders have never gotten too much DOMS, but I would never train them two days in a row because that would A) probably mess up my split and B) overwork my front delts because of chest day. Something that might help you decide if you are sore or not is during your standard shoulder warmup where you do arm swings and light plate raises (you know, the usual stuff before you bench), do them one arm at a time and with the non-working arm, feel and press on different parts of the shoulder while its moving, most of the time you should be able to feel tenderness.


You can do larger muscles like this as well, you just need to be a bit more creative and simplify things.

If you just did a heavy squat day and want to test out your quads, a strict knee extension will suffice (as long as you have a relatively recent idea of the 1RM). Same for hammies. Chest is easy, do a machine bench test, single arm it if you must.

This may get quite tedious to do regularly, but it could be done.


If you're not pissing blood, you're good to go.