T Nation

Newbie Question About Soreness

Hey everyone,
I am fairly new to working out and have what may be a silly question. Should I feel sore the next day after every workout? I feel like I am lifting pretty intensly and taking my sets to failure but I do not always feel sore the next day. Is the feeling of soreness a good measure of how good your previous workout was? Thanks

Not necessarily.
Soreness is not the sole indicator of a productive workout. The only time I truly get sore now is when I try a completely new workout.

I recently began Chad Waterburys Single’s club and having completed 14 sets of single rep squats at 90% of my one time max has left me with deeply sore quads. This is a radically different loading parameter than I was used to, so I felt it.

The more consistant you are though the faster your body adapts to a new stmilus so as your training age increases you will probably not experience that deep newbie soreness as often.

Jcv423, I’m 45 and began weightlifting at 33. Before discovering T-Nation I used to train twice per week. Then 3 times per week with only compound lifts,2/3 working sets, 3-8 reps. In 12 years my bodyweight raised about 30 lbs, my chest about 4 inches. So I got some results from my training without never feeling sore. Anyway the first time I felt sore was 2 months ago when I began ABBH, and during the first part of this program. Probably this happened because of the unusual (for me) sets/reps scheme. Certainly at the end of ABBH I got a body in better shape with pecs always full with stronger abs, calves and forearms. So don’t worry to much about soreness !

Well I tried to find you an article or two but failed in my quick little search.

But to give you a simple straight forward answer, NO. DOMS is not a sign of a good workout. The more you adapt the less likely you are to get sore, that doesnt mean you didnt have a good w/o though.

I am rarely sore anymore. When I am it is nothing to write home about either. Just train hard, with high intensity, and if your gains/goals slow it is time to change something up.Keep it fresh and keep your body guessing/adapting to new stimulus.

Another point is has your diet changed for the better. An improved diet can lead to greater recovery.

Hope this Helps,


One thing that no one addressed yet is the fact that you really do not have to train to failure. In the long run, by stopping short of failure you will make better gains because your recovery will be much quicker.

Thanks for all the great info. And no, my diet has not changed. I did start a new protien supplement for post-workout (switched from EAS Myoplex to IsoPure Whey Isolate packets) but my overall nutritional intake is about the same. Not sure if that would make a difference.

I did chest yesterday and expected to wake up sore but to my surprise my chest is not sore at all. I like to do pushups on my off days when i am no longer sore just to get some extra chest training in. Is this a good idea?

Your goal in training would be to stimulate the muscle’s of the body to supercompensate by getting stronger and or growing but not to overly stress the nervous system and glycogen system thus causing too long recovery periods. Use soreness as a gauge of muscle breakdown and analyze how quickly you rcover and see how well your body responds in the next workout. A muscle that is excessively broken down will not respond well to glycogen replenishment. It takes a little balancing to find the right amount of intensity and volume so it is ideal to keep your routine the same for a given number of weeks and then do the fine little adjustments as you progress. laters pk

When I first came to this site several months ago, I read an article on this. Cannot remember the name or who wrote it but I do remember a statement from it. It said, “I can hit you in the bicep with a pipe and you will have the same soreness as you did by overstressing it during a workout. You will not make your muscles any bigger by hitting them with objects.” It said something like that anyway and it made a lot of sense. I too thought the same way about needing to feel sore to gage my workout.

Oh, here it is:
4 Weightlifting Myths Dispelled by Chad Waterbury

Search for it. It gave me inspiration and hope! Good luck and train hard.


Here’s the link.

OK, so soreness is not a good measure of how good you worked out. What is? How do I know if I really pushed myself and caused some sort of muscle gain? Sorry if this sounds stupid but a feeling of accomplishment is a good motivator for me.

Use the mirror, strength levels (test your one rep max in the major lifts), and or body fat %.

If your scale weight goes up and your body fat stays the same, you have gained lean body mass.

If you have been flat benching for a month and your progress has stopped, switch to incline bench for a month. When you go back to flat bench you’ll probably find an increase in your 1RM.

Great info, thanks all!

I too am new to the iron game, and I’m wondering how long I should wait to lift again. I want to do a routine M/W/F, so here I am, my second lifting day, and I’m currently having trouble getting out of chairs. Yes, I’m a total DOMS puss. The lower section of my quads are stiff and sore as hell, and I don’t know wether it would be better for me to wait for a full recovery or work through the pain.

Any thoughts?

Thanks much!