I’ve always heard the phrase “No Pain, no Game.” While working out, I feel the pain, a few hours after, my muscles feel tired. The next day, I feel nothing. Should I increase my weights, my reps, or is this normal?
The phrase “No pain, no gain” has been around for many years and what it means is if you don’t feel muscles soreness (not joint pain or the pain of a muscle tear) in the days following a workout then you didn’t do enough to stimulate muscle growth.
While there is a degree of validity to this statement, you shouldn’t take it as gospel. There are a number of factors involved that can affect the level of pain you experience in your muscles and whether you have any at all.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) can last anywhere from 24-72 hours and is most likely the result of microscopic damage incurred by the muscles being trained. It stimulates a response from the body to repair the injury, hopefully bigger and stronger than before.
But don’t expect soreness after every single workout. Our bodies are highly adaptable and so it tends to be that more experienced trainers feel DOMS less frequently than newcomers. Also, it’s been found that eccentric (negative) movements tend to bring on greater DOMS than concentric (positive) ones do. So, know that DOMS means a job well done in the gym, but also that not experiencing DOMS doesn’t mean that your workout was equally productive.