No Pain No Gain?
We've all heard the saying "no pain, no gain", but is it true? Is soreness the only thing that equates to a good workout? The short answer is no; there are various reasons that you may not be sore from a workout, and it has to do with your training history and recovery.
What Causes Soreness After a Workout?
When people think of muscle soreness, they typically associate it with lactic acid. Although this can be a factor, it is not the direct cause. The direct cause of soreness is due to micro-tears in muscle fibers. These micro-tears stem from a progressive overload of training volume.
Training History, Hydration, Nutrition, and Recovery All Affect Soreness
So, can you still get a good workout without feeling sore? Absolutely! The relation between soreness and a good workout depends on the goal of that workout and your overall goal of training. Extensive training history combined with proper hydration, nutrition, and recovery, are all reasons why a training stimulus may be a great workout, but you may not feel sore. This is because you know how to properly recover, and the training stimulus is something your body has recovered from in the past.
Advice for Working Out from a Personal Trainer
If you enjoy variety and want to mix it up, try a type of training, sport, or movement that you haven't done before, or include a different "tempo". Try including a three-second pause in a squat; this will function as a form of progressive overload starting from 0. Starting from 0 is important because your body isn't used to performing movements required for this new training modality.
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