The idea that “if your muscles aren’t sore, they aren’t growing” is a common misconception in the world of fitness. While muscle soreness, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), can be a sign of muscle damage and repair, it’s not the sole indicator of muscle growth.
Muscle growth, or hypertrophy, occurs when you subject your muscles to progressive overload, which means challenging them with resistance that exceeds what they’re accustomed to. This can be achieved through weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, or resistance training. When you overload your muscles, they adapt and grow stronger.
Soreness can be a byproduct of this process, especially when you introduce new exercises or significantly increase the intensity of your workouts. However, the absence of soreness doesn’t necessarily mean your muscles aren’t growing. Several factors can influence muscle soreness, including individual differences in pain perception and adaptation to exercise.
The key to muscle growth is consistency in your training program, proper nutrition, and allowing your muscles to recover and adapt. Over time, as your muscles adapt to your workouts, you may experience less soreness even though you are still making progress. So, while soreness can be an indicator of a challenging workout, it’s not the sole measure of muscle growth. Listen to your body, focus on progressive overload, and maintain a balanced fitness routine for the best results.