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Should I Workout When I'm Sore?

Are You In Pain? Super Sore? Kind Of Sore? All Will Be Revealed!

Posted by Scott_Herman - February 4th, 2015

Today I want to answer a question that I get asked all the time.

“Should I workout when I’m sore?”

I actually saw a video on this topic the other day by another YouTuber and it blows my mind the amount of misinformation that is out there. In the video I watched this person answer the question by rambling for a while, throw in some fancy words here and there and for some reason everybody believed what he said!

In the end, the stuff he said didn’t any make sense or really amount to any conclusion at all. This is what really gets to me Nation. You all need to be able to tell the difference between real life experience and research knowledge versus people who know how to ramble and babble about a topic for 10 - 15 min, but never really give you any concrete information.

But enough venting and back to the topic at hand.

Today we are going to talk about DOMS, which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Let’s say you hit the gym ultra-hard or just came back to exercising after being out of the gym for a while and about a day to three days after your workout you start feeling sore. This feeling of pain is what we call DOMS and it is caused by all the microtears and inflammation that happens to your muscle tissue as a result of your workout.

The process of repairing your muscles is what causes them to grow in size and get stronger, so this is all normal and a part of the process.

But should you go back to the gym if your muscles are still sore?

The answer is: It depends on how bad it is.

Are You In Uncomfortable Pain?

If you’re in a lot of pain and it feels like something is wrong, obviously you should not go to the gym and you should go see a doctor. Most of us know our bodies well enough to know when something is not right. But this is not what I want to focus on.

Are Your Muscles Sore To The Touch?

If you didn’t injure yourself but the muscle is very sore to the point that it hurts when you touch it or causes you to not have full range of motion, than my answer is:

Wait another day to work that muscle group.

The key point here is do not train the muscle group THAT IS SORE. I’m not saying skip the gym, I’m saying let this specific muscle recover and focus on another area for that day.

For example, if my legs are killing me I still train that day but I will adjust my schedule to work something like biceps. There is no need to rush the process because if you’re experiencing DOMS and can't perform full range of motion on your exercises, you’re not going to have the most productive workout anyway.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your muscles are working on repairing the tears you’ve inflicted on your previous workout, creating more tears and damage will only disrupt the recovery process.

So the bottom line, rest THAT area a little longer.

Do You Have Light Muscle Soreness?

If you’re feeling reasonably sore, but it’s not as drastic as the situation described above, it’s actually a good thing to go to gym and get the sore muscles moving again. Just be sure to take it easy on the weights!

This is not the time to go hardcore and try to hit a new personal record. What you want to do is hit some aerobic exercises and do some light lifting.

Activity in this case is good because it will increase the temperature in the area which increases oxygen flow and the flow of much needed nutrients to help heal the damaged area as well.

This blood flow is also good because it will help to take toxins away which were produced by the tears and subsequent inflammation of your muscle tissue.

So no excuses nation! Even when you’re extremely sore, you should still go to the gym!

It’s just a matter of figuring out how bad it is so you can decide if you can train the same area again or if you have to come up with a plan B to workout another part of your body.

Now knowing this, you might be thinking, if I workout but I don’t get sore, does it mean I’m not going to grow? Absolutely not! But I am going to talk about that in more detail in a future article! #HTH

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I have a question for you that i am doing gymming for gaining my weight and also look perfect currently my body is normal but i wanted to look better and for this, i am gymming for 6 to 7 months but there is no effect on my body even i am taking proper diet doing regular exercise what is the matter and my timing of gym is night after doing coming back to University and after doing university assignment writing service then i will give proper time to gym but didn't know what happened there is no effect of this.



I see nothing on recovery weeks?  Is it bs?  or should you do a 3 on 1 off type schedule for periodization?

Byoulie  Edit  Delete  Close

Yep, Chris was a brain freeze

Sorry for that!

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Who is Chris?  Are you asking me or someone else?  As for recovery weeks... every 4 - 6 weeks take a deload week :-D


I am more or less sore 7 days a week due to my training. Heck I have had DOMS lasting for a week once (legs) but that didn´t stop my from training legs during that time even though I ofc went a bit lighter during that point. Russian squat routine was 6 weeks of constant feels in my legs. But it paid of increased 50 pounds on my 1 RM during that time. 

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

training when on DOMS is the best.  Its how you show your muscles who the REAL boss is!! :-D


Had a trainer always ask me when I said that I hurt: "Are you sore or in pain?". Being sore is a good hurt - you can work through that. Sharp stabbing painor a persistent uncomfortable ache is a different animal. I once descdribed myself as one of is sillier clients. He said, "Not sillier. Definitely one of my more pain tolerant clients."

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Well educated cursing is the best! haha

jcgadfly  Edit  Delete  Close

If you don't mind an overly talkative smartaleck who has been known to curse like a well-educated sailor during sets...

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

That is what I like to hear!  You sound like the kind of client I would love to train!  Take the pain and push through it!


Funny my legs are pretty sore. I planned on doing chest tomorrow.


If I were to have written this article that's exactly what I would have said. I couldn't agree more, too many people think they can't workout if they are sore because it will cause injury or they aren't fully recovered. With proper warm ups and stretching if I am slightly sore still from chest day 2 days later I will still work chest but if I am extremely sore I will give another rest day and work my next muscle group to give chest 1 more day rest but not have to sit at home. Still good to get in and train, just because you are still a little sore doesn't mean your muscles aren't recovered.

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Exactly, sore muscles are to be expected.. can't be taking the week off everytime you are sore!


Oh no, it's chest day but my legs are sore...I better not go to the gym today XD

Haha seriously though, awesome video and article @scott_herman!

Too many people don't go to the gym because a certain part of their body is sore.

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Thanks @joehurricane.. yeah man. got to be able to hit the gym 5 - 6 days a week!  The soreness will always be there to some degree!