Do You Have To Be Sore To Gain Muscle? Struggles For Muscles

Do You Have To Be Sore To Gain Muscle

Working out is a crucial part of many people’s lives, and most people jump into it without getting all the facts straight. 

This leads them to a situation where they have problems that everyone experiences, but they can’t get past them since they didn’t prepare mentally.

Working out for muscle growth is hard; the work is hard, and there is an aftermath that you have to be ready for if you are going to maintain the routine and achieve your goals. 

Do You Have To Be Sore To Gain Muscle?

Soreness is normal after a workout, but you don’t have to experience it; it relates to muscle damage, and muscle damage can cause muscle growth, but it is not compulsory. This means it is normal to be sore, but you don’t have to be sore after every workout.

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Understanding Sore Muscles

If you hit the gym regularly, then you’ve experienced muscle pain and stiffness that comes after an intense workout session. Many see this as a sign that the session was fruitful but is that the case?

Before we get into the details of this and what it means for your muscles, we need to understand how it happens to relate it to muscle growth. It comes up due to tiny rips in your muscles when you exercise.

Damaged cells need to repair themselves, which is the basis of muscle growth, but the idea is not that simple in muscle growth. 

When your muscles work harder than usual, it can cause microtrauma, especially when you do eccentric exercises.

Eccentric contractions refer to the situation when your muscles are contracting and relaxing simultaneously. 

For instance, by bringing a dumbbell down during a bicep curl, your bicep is relaxing, but it is still contracting to hold the weight.

This kind of movement will put pressure on your arms and cause tears which will cause inflammation. 

A combination of the swelling and tears activates neurons responsible for sensing pain, leading to soreness in the muscle groups.

Does Muscle Soreness Mean Muscle Growth?

It’s a standard idea in the bodybuilding society that the more soreness you feel after working out, the more effective your workout is. 

This often makes people feel like the workout wasn’t good enough if they don’t feel sore afterward.

But does soreness count when it comes to muscle growth? We need to understand what muscle soreness means and its causes to answer this question.

Muscle soreness is a response to the tears in your muscle fibers due to continuous muscle straining. 

Muscle soreness is crucial for muscle growth since muscle damage is one of the most significant triggers of muscle growth.

This doesn’t imply that muscle damage is the only thing that contributes to muscle gain, but it can boost the other factors. 

Soreness indicates muscle damage hence the assumption that more soreness indicates more muscle growth.

The correlation between the two factors is poor, and some muscle groups don’t get equal amounts of soreness as legs or biceps. These muscles aren’t prone to soreness, but they still experience significant growth.

This is to imply that soreness isn’t necessary for muscle growth; another example is getting sore after running a long distance. 

This happens, yet running does not lead to muscle growth; thus, it proves that being sore isn’t always an indicator of muscle growth.

Additionally, too much soreness can be a problem if it carries over to your next workout, and training while muscles are still sore can reduce activation of those muscles. It can also cut the muscle’s force capacity by 50% and interfere with how you recover.

Putting all these into account, you can see how too much muscle soreness can be counterintuitive. 

One good thing about soreness is it is a good guide on whether or not you activate the correct muscles with your workout routine

For instance, if you were doing a chest workout and felt soreness around your chest the following day, you know you did the right drills. 

If you don’t get the expected result, you might have to consider improving your form or changing the workout.

So pay attention to where you feel muscle soreness, so you know if you are activating the right muscles. 

You should take away from this article that soreness doesn’t assure muscle growth, but it indicates muscle damage.

There can be an acceptable level of soreness that suggests muscle damage happened, but it won’t affect your recovery process. 

If you get too sore, you should try reducing the volume and difficulty of your workout and ease into it.

If you aren’t sore, it is not a problem if you progress with your routine throughout the weeks. Progression will guarantee muscle damage over time, even without soreness. Getting products from will help increase your workout intensity.

You can potentially induce more muscle damage by changing your exercise or adding eccentric focused sets for each muscle group. 

The specifics will differ for everyone, so you must experiment and see how your body responds to the workouts.

Ways To Reduce Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness can indicate that your workouts are working, and you should expect muscle growth on the particular muscle groups. 

While it is an indicator of good things, it does not feel nice, and it can be harmful if it goes on for too long.

For starters, you will have a hard time carrying out your daily activities when your muscles hurt, so you need to find a way to get rid of the pain. 

Additionally, working out while your muscles are still sore will reduce the effectiveness of your workouts, so here are some tips to try;

1. Sleep

Try to get between 7 and 10 hours of sleep at night, and you need to time it correctly. It is better to sleep earlier and wake up early rather than sleeping late and waking up late. Every minute of sleep before midnight is worth 2 minutes after midnight. 

Sleeping will be a great way to allow your muscle to rest and recover from the soreness; therefore, you will have a better chance of recovering. 

Sleeping allows your muscles to relax, which helps relieve you from the pain and tension from training. 

2. Self-massage

You can use foam rollers, sticks, tennis balls, or other stuff like that to do massages around the sore muscle groups. 

This will help you relax the muscle fibers and eliminate knots that might have formed during the training session.

When muscles tense, you pressure your nerves, and you feel pain around those areas. Massages will help you get rid of most of the tension in your muscle groups which will get rid of your soreness and prepare you for your next workout session.

3. Stretching

Stretching is crucial before and after the workout to help you manage muscle soreness. Static and dynamic stretching is crucial for a workout session, and it can help get rid of soreness by going through ranges of motion.

Stretching will allow the muscles to stretch out, warm, and become more flexible, which goes a long way in helping reduce soreness. 

Heavy workouts can twist the muscles, and a good stretch will get them back in the right position; thus, you will recover faster.

4. Hydrotherapy

Turn the shower as cold as you can, take it for about 30 seconds, then take it back to hot, this contrast will help flush out any soreness in your muscles, and it works best after the workout session. 

Another choice is to use an ice bath, fill a bathtub with cold water, add some ice until the water is as cold as ice, then immerse yourself into the water for as long as you can, about 2 minutes, then get out and take a warm shower. 

5. Nutrition

What you put into your body and when you put it in can help you rebuild, recover and repair for the next workout session. 

When choosing a meal, you need to think about the water you lost during a workout, so you must replenish it.

Fruits like watermelons will be great for hydration, and bananas will help prevent muscle pulls since they have a lot of potassium. 

Proteins are also something to try if you want to add muscle mass; eat dairy products and eggs to give your body raw materials to build muscles.


You don’t have to get sore to develop muscles, but most people will get sore. Soreness results from muscle damage, and muscle damage induces growth, so it can signify that your routine is working and you are getting closer to your goals and will help.

This does not apply to everyone, and you might get soreness without muscle growth, for instance, after running a long distance. Too much soreness is also a bad thing, and it can cut down on your progress, so you need to find the best routine that allows you to recover before the next session.