Exercise science

Do I need to be sore to after a workout for it to be effective?

By February 10, 2019 September 27th, 2019 No Comments

The answer is NO.

Muscle soreness is purely an indicator of muscle fibre damage. However, muscle fibre damage doesn not mean the session was good nor productive. It means just that.

What is an indicator a good session? Well if we are taking about muscle growth, there is 3 mechanisms by which it happens. Good program will account for one, or preferably, more of them, to maximise the popular ‘gains’.

The 3 mechanism of hypertrophy are:

  • Metabolic stress
  • Mechanical tension
  • Muscle fibre damage

It’s important to say the out of these 3, the third one, one that we are talking about – IS THE LEAST IMPORTANT.

 

Muscle fibre damage occurs in the following scenarios:

  • Loading the muscle in the stretched position
  • Doing something we haven’t done in a while
  • Doing slow eccentric contractions

 

So, as we see, damage is one of mechanisms of hypertrophy, which can indicate a good session, but does not inherently imply one.

Another downside of this mechanism is the fact that it requires more recover, so your next session for the particular muscle group is going to have to wait. This is a bad thing, for example girls that are after glute gains. Glutes require frequency and being sore will prevent you from doing so.

There is another downside with muscle fibre damage, and this is the fact that ,severe muscle fibre damage actually interferes with the Glut 4 (glucose transporter to the muscles) which means that the particular muscle group will not be able to absorb glucose to replenish glycogen storages quickly, so you won’t be able to benefit from your post workout meal as much.

 

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

Muscle soreness is not an indicator of a good session, so stop worrying about that, and start worrying about using the right technique, applying progressive overload and have sufficient nutrient consumption.