Do I need to Ache?

This must be the most common question a personal trainer gets.


Some people love it, some people hate it..


Do you need to ache to have had a good work out?


I get this question a lot and I wanted to ‘debunk’ some myths you may have heard.


That ache we all get when we do a new exercise or we have just gone back to the gym after a long layoff can be very painful.

Climbing stairs, getting off the couch or getting on and off the toilet can be hard work.


But why do we get it?


The ‘it’ we are talking about is ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’ or DOMS for short.


When we exercise with weights we are actually breaking muscle down so we actually don’t grow when we are in the gym. We grow by recovering better, eating better, sleeping better and being less stressed


The reason why we it hurts so much is down to a few reasons;


You are not used to the exercise – Often when you perform a new exercise you are working muscles that you may not have worked in that way before therefore the muscle is not used to it, hence it leading to you using the elevator the next day at work.


You are not used to the volume of exercise, say if you had been doing 10 reps of an exercise but then the next week you did 20 the volume is obviously higher and the muscle is under more tension for a longer period of time leading to you being more sore.


If you don’t ache after a workout your probably used to the exercise and the movement pattern so therefore the muscle has adapted. When the muscle is used to the exercise you should always try and advance with progressive overload like increasing weight, reps, or a move to a harder variation.


I’ll give you an example. 2 weeks ago I started a new training plan.

I had 3 different weight training days, after each of the days I was sore but this week it’s not really that bad at all and I am lifting heavier.

That’s because I am used to the movement patterns, all I have to do now is up the intensity so I keep progressing by upping my weights or having less rest in-between sets.


Just because someone can make you sore doesn’t mean it’s good, If you went and did 1000 lunges now, you would hardly be able to walk tomorrow and it’s not useful, it’s not progressive and it’s just damn right silly.


So whenever someone tells you, you didn’t work hard enough because you didn’t ache you now know the truth.