T Nation

Sore Muscles: Bad or Good?

Sometimes after a workout on the next day the muscle group I worked on the previous day is sore, but sometimes I don’t feel anything at all next day.

Does it mean that I didn’t provide maximum overload during a workout or does it mean that I recovered properly?

I do MAX-OT 5 day split with Sat and Sun off.




You are referring to DOMS: “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.”

“DOMS” is thought to be a result of tiny microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers. It also seems that the “eccentric” motion (lowering the weight) causes more soreness the next day than the “concentric” (lifting the weight) motion. By the way, the eccentric movement is also thought to be at least twice as important at producing greater strength and size gains! The old timers were instinctively aware of this that’s why they did negatives!

DOMS usually peaks between 24 and 72 hours after a training session. If it takes longer than that you really over did it!

When you are not feeling the soreness the next day that does not mean that you are not building muscle. I have to go out of my way at this point in my life in order to feel any soreness the next day. This means I must change up movements regularly and push a bit harder if I want to feel sore the next day (personally I like the feeling, for many reasons…but then that’s just me :).

Actually, as long as you are training regularly, training hard and eating properly, I would not worry about soreness the next day.

Take Care,


Make sure you don’t judge the quality of your workout on whether or not your muscles are sore, (i.e. just b/c they are not sore, does NOT mean you did NOT have a good workout). Changing into a new program, (intensity, new exercise(s), volume etc. etc.) may make you sore. Poor nutrition and sleep can slow recovery. So once again, just b/c you are sore/not sore doesn’t mean it was or was not a quality workout. However, if you are ALWAYS sore, there’s a good chance you are working in an overtrained state, or on your way to overtraining. I often times get sore the first day of drastically changing up the program, but usually by the 2nd time thru (week 2) my body has adapted enough and the soreness has greatly decreased. Also, for most people, (definitely myself included) it is more common to get sore from performing an excerise when the muscles are in a stretched position…RDL’s/Incline Curls/Skull Crushers etc.


It’s neither good nor bad. The feeling of soreness is just result of an overreaction of the immune system, and shouldn’t be used as an indication of how well you stimulated the muscle to adapt.
Hope this helps.