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https://muscularstrength.com/article/Should-I-Workout-When-Im-Sore

Today I want to answer a question that I get asked all the time.

“Should I workout when I’m sore?”

I actually saw a video on this topic the other day by another YouTuber and it blows my mind the amount of misinformation that is out there. In the video I watched this person answer the question by rambling for a while, throw in some fancy words here and there and for some reason everybody believed what he said!

In the end, the stuff he said didn’t any make sense or really amount to any conclusion at all. This is what really gets to me Nation. You all need to be able to tell the difference between real life experience and research knowledge versus people who know how to ramble and babble about a topic for 10 – 15 min, but never really give you any concrete information.

But enough venting and back to the topic at hand.

Today we are going to talk about DOMS, which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Let’s say you hit the gym ultra-hard or just came back to exercising after being out of the gym for a while and about a day to three days after your workout you start feeling sore. This feeling of pain is what we call DOMS and it is caused by all the microtears and inflammation that happens to your muscle tissue as a result of your workout.

The process of repairing your muscles is what causes them to grow in size and get stronger, so this is all normal and a part of the process.

But should you go back to the gym if your muscles are still sore?

The answer is: It depends on how bad it is.

Are You In Uncomfortable Pain?
If you’re in a lot of pain and it feels like something is wrong, obviously you should not go to the gym and you should go see a doctor. Most of us know our bodies well enough to know when something is not right. But this is not what I want to focus on.

Are Your Muscles Sore To The Touch?
If you didn’t injure yourself but the muscle is very sore to the point that it hurts when you touch it or causes you to not have full range of motion, than my answer is:

Wait another day to work that muscle group.

The key point here is do not train the muscle group THAT IS SORE. I’m not saying skip the gym, I’m saying let this specific muscle recover and focus on another area for that day.

For example, if my legs are killing me I still train that day but I will adjust my schedule to work something like biceps. There is no need to rush the process because if you’re experiencing DOMS and can’t perform full range of motion on your exercises, you’re not going to have the most productive workout anyway.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your muscles are working on repairing the tears you’ve inflicted on your previous workout, creating more tears and damage will only disrupt the recovery process.

So the bottom line, rest THAT area a little longer.

Do You Have Light Muscle Soreness?
If you’re feeling reasonably sore, but it’s not as drastic as the situation described above, it’s actually a good thing to go to gym and get the sore muscles moving again. Just be sure to take it easy on the weights!

This is not the time to go hardcore and try to hit a new personal record. What you want to do is hit some aerobic exercises and do some light lifting.

Activity in this case is good because it will increase the temperature in the area which increases oxygen flow and the flow of much needed nutrients to help heal the damaged area as well.

This blood flow is also good because it will help to take toxins away which were produced by the tears and subsequent inflammation of your muscle tissue.

So no excuses nation! Even when you’re extremely sore, you should still go to the gym!

It’s just a matter of figuring out how bad it is so you can decide if you can train the same area again or if you have to come up with a plan B to workout another part of your body.

Conclusion
Now knowing this, you might be thinking, if I workout but I don’t get sore, does it mean I’m not going to grow? Absolutely not! But I am going to talk about that in more detail in a future article!

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93 COMMENTS

  1. For my personal experience, I gained an inch in my arms by doing an everyday biceps workout. I trained it on my 70% 1rep max for 10-15 reps for 3 sets of different bicep exercise every day. I felt the soreness on the 3rd day and still doing the same intensity and volume with no decrease in strength and number of reps. I do really gained more than an inch (measured after the swelling gone – not pumped – measured on the 4th day of rest after the 5 consecutive bicep days) I did it for the purpose of experimenting myself.

    BIG BIG BIG DOWNSIDE:

    I got a right wrist injury and it really hurt so bad and it lasted for 4 months until it's gone and it made me switch from straight barbell bar to an ez-bar. I do continue to do biceps exercise after a week of rest from those 5 consecutive bicep days but only using light weights and ez-bar.

    And to answer this question, training while on DOMS will not stunt the growth and the recovery, but the problem if you do it to the extent that you are going to mess up your joints then indirectly it is a NO NO.

  2. I asked Google this question and started reading and then remembered you existed and stopped myself and came straight here. I love your videos. Always solid straight forward answers. None of the crap. Thanks Scott!

  3. I only experience DOMS when i haven't worked out for a long time and i hit the weights. Usually it lasts for 3-4 days before i start to get better. For example: i didn't get to workout for two months, so when i went back to the gym and worked on my legs, i was sore for whole week. I know when i hit the gym next week, i will be fine. It shouldn't be this sore again.

  4. My biceps sore but not sore to the touch cause I did a lot of reps with light the last time I did it and they look bigger I guess I grew? Idk tho but I’m doing biceps again but with light weights I’m going easy

  5. The people who disliked your video. are most likely people who don't even work out. I workout even when I'm sore and to be honest it goes away and I feel better instead of me just sitting my ass at home sore.

  6. Your video by far is the most cut to the chase video I have watched. Thank you for breaking it down in dummy version by not throwing in fancy words and making things more complicated than it is. Simple, workout your sore to keep it moving if it's not restricting and or do lighter weights or cardio. Sometimes beginners like myself feels that the sore will not go away for about a week and get lost on what we should do about the soreness, in turn, will rest for too many days. But this makes sense to not use the soreness as an excuse to not workout and definitely know your body

  7. I need your help.
    I am a man of 39 yrs old. I used to train lightly but after I trained hard for 2 months (lifting), I became exhausted and got muscle soreness 24/7 up to now even after one month off the gym; and I am still off the gym and I still feel exactly the same! So, what has happened???
    Thank you

  8. Lol my abs are still hurting after four days, looks like I can’t work them for a while. I really worked them wayyyy too much; probably gotta wait a week or something.

  9. So I do karate training.. And on Saturday my group and my sensei trained for about 3 hours …I felt fine …then woke up the next day and I have Dom's and it hurts when I touch my muscles …..what should I do ?PS its almost my whole body …shoulders,calves,thighs,back and biseps…also if I go for a light walk with my dog …will it help?

  10. Back in high school i used to do extreme endurance trainings for martial arts. Every day i had a specific group of muscle wich caused agonal pain when changing positions. I trained in this state anyways. I could do 6kg dumbbell biceps curls full motion infinitely without stopping (usually between 1000 and 5000 reps, usually not more because its time consuming). Have not gained a pound of muscle tho, i just was extremely ripped. Now, after few years of no training at all i still have hemoglobin levels like professional cyclist.

  11. My core is sore. I did some intense cardio, but I played basketball the day before and it’s sore to the point I can’t laugh or get up from my bed normally. What do I do?

  12. Even my ass hurts right now, I mean I guess I deserve it because I stopped working out for like a month and I was just eating like Cheetos and shit luckily I didn't really lose any weight

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