You give it all you can, but you aren’t getting sore after your workouts? Or did you in the beginning and now the soreness just doesn’t happen? Let’s see if you have to panic.
Not Getting Sore Anymore?
Many of you know the feeling: you did a workout that is about 9 on the 10-point “how brutal was my workout” scale, but next day you feel nothing.
Or you are used to that sweet soreness in your chest after a bench press session, yet now your chest seems to ask, “did we do anything?”
Relax, because due to its nature, muscular soreness is no reliable indicator of making progress or not:
Is Muscle Soreness Actually Not Good At All?
There even is another school of thought: getting sore actually is bad. It’s the philosophy behind the heavy high volume training some lifters do. According to those guys, getting sore shows that your muscles aren’t getting used to being worked. They again and again have to start this process, instead of maximizing strength gains and growth.
Is that true? Well, the research on the “repeated bout effect” (the “preparation effect” I talked about) is still rather limited (PDF). So far there is no sign that avoiding soreness gets you more muscle growth.
Forget Soreness, Concentrate On Results
But that is academic. What should count for you is what I hinted at in the video: making progress or not. If your bench press increases, who cares if there was or was no muscular soreness two days afterwards?
Therefore keep track and the best way to do that is a workout journal. Write down how many reps with what weight you did and when. You’ll get a pretty neat overview about what works or not.
Picture courtesy of Kenny Louie.