Working out with sore muscles is not recommended and should be avoided. It stresses the muscles even more and could decrease your performance and strength in the long run.

Working out with sore muscles – soreness

Working out with sore muscles is bad for your musculature. But what actually is muscle soreness? Sore muscles refer to very small injuries or tears of the muscle fibers that we notice as muscle pain in the respective area. In most cases the pain occurs a few hours or even a day after the workout. That is because the muscle fiber doesn’t have any pain receptors. It usually takes the pain causing substances the mentioned period of time to reach the pain receptors outside of the muscle fibers. Furthermore, the fibers swell after some hours what also causes some muscle pain.

Working out with sore muscles – occurrence and prevention

Sore muscles mostly occur when we are working out for the first time, when we pick up the workout again after a break, when we add new exercises to our program, and after very hard workout sessions. Experts also say that especially eccentric training causes muscle soreness. To prevent sore muscles we should build up our training slowly and dose the strains. A careful warm-up should be the beginning of every training session. Experts have proven that it helps to not workout the individual set until the very last possible repetition. It is much more gentle to abort at a rate of perceived exertion of medium-to-hard. I have experienced that when you work out one exercise frequently in your training sessions it is even possible to go to the very last possible repetition without getting sore muscles afterwards. But this must not always be the case.

Working out with sore muscles – relief

Working out with sore muscles should be avoided. There is no relief from muscle soreness. We can just wait until our muscles have regenerated. What we can do is to ease the symptoms what in most cases is the pain. A warm bath or sauna feels good when our muscles are sore. Also smooth physical activity helps to ease the pain. What we should not do is to work out hardly. Also intense stretching sessions or massages should be avoided. After a few days the muscle soreness disappears mostly without consequences. A touch of sore muscles the day after the workout could be an indicator of an intense training. But there are no coherent studies proving that soreness is an indicator of an effective training in general.


All in all we have to wait and take it easy when we have sore muscles. Easing the pain with warmth and smooth activity helps us to relax but doesn’t relief the soreness itself.


Working out with sore muscles

Working out with sore muscles should not be done after all. Learn why!

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