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What Does DOMS Say About Your Training? Is it Good or Bad for Muscle Growth?

Delayed onset soreness aka. DOMS is not so much a good or bad thing.

Inherently it could be correlation of a workout that stimulated muscle growth, or it could be debilitating, interfering with subsequent workouts or even activities of daily life.

You cant consider it in a cause and effect way as a sign of a good workout or a sign that muscle growth is coming, only as a sign that muscle damage occured

That being said, I personally believe that a moderate amount of DOMS correlates with a good workout and muscle growth.

However, supporting factors are needed such as recovery, nutrition etc.

in other words getting sore is NOT a prerequisite for seeing muscle growth.

Your body adapts over time on a new workout, where you are sore after the first session and maybe a few that follow.

By the end of the cycle you're not getting sore on that workout anymore, but that doesnt mean its not working if you are still progressing.

This is why you should not use soreness as your sole indicator of effective workouts.

Plain and simple - a sign of effective workouts is measurable and visible muscle growth and strength increase, period.

In other words, chase results but dont chase soreness.

DOMS is more like a side effect of strenuous workouts rather than the goal of a workout.

Again, i will say that I think DOMS does correlate fairly reliably with good workouts at least in the hypertrophy / body-building realm.

This idea has been dismissed as myth or "bro-science" (what "muscle head bodybuilders" believe).

Also, it has been criticized by strength and conditioning coaches, who need their athletes spry and springy every day for practice and frequent workouts and games of course, and not limping around all week.

Interesting enough, the research on mechanisms of hypertrophy has continued to advance in recent years as well as be codified and organized into literature reviews and there is science behind this correlation that DOMS correlates with hypertrophy.

Thus, DOMS could potentially be a marker for or mechanism of hypertrophy, just like musccle tension and metabolic stress.

The main point is you do not have to be sore to have a successful workout.

It's important you understand the difference between soreness correlating with muscle growth or a good workout, not causing muscle growth.

To sum it up

I say DOMS is generally a good thing for the bodybuilder / muscle-size seeker, if it doesnt interfere with future training or daily life.



My name is Steven Goldstein

With over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, I have worked with clients of all ages and fitness levels. From professional athletes to individuals aiming to lose weight, I have helped countless people achieve their goals and improve their overall health through customized training and nutrition plans.

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Hundreds of clients of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities have put their health in our hands over the years and achieved truly remarkable results. 

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