Does Soreness Mean Growth?

A conditioning specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science. His articles will help you!

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Does Soreness Mean Growth?

Arnold once said that you must take muscle soreness after weight training as an indication of growing. Is it true? I found that my muscle soreness after workout (which often occurs the day after) is decreasing week to week. I figure that there's only 2 options on this.

1. According to Arnold, less soreness, less growing, therefore less muscle mass.

2. My body is becoming adaptive, so I no longer experience such soreness, yet my body's growing anyway.

So which of the above is closer to reality? If the latter, then I'm wondering since our body is extremely adaptive, why bother waiting one/two days between workout? Can I train them everyday for like an hour, then I'll still get an 8-10 hour sleep anyway. The recuperation time is still higher. That would be 56 hours of recuperation and a total of 7 hours training per week. What do you think?

The reality is that soreness is a very poor indicator if muscle growth is occuring. If you worked at a level that demonstrates overload you will cause muscle growth. In fact, muscle soreness on a consistent basis can be a sign of doing too much work and leading you down a path of overtraining. Many top athletes train without any desire to experience muscle soreness as it impedes their ability to perform. While I appreciate Arnold's accomplishments as a bodybuilder his knowledge of the sciences is far more limiting.

There are several factors that go into how often you train, mainly volume and intensity. Volume being calculated by load X sets X reps and intensity referring to the percentage of 1 repetition maximum. (Figure out your 1-rep max here.) If more volume exists the body is needing to restore it's levels of energy components. The whole energetic theory is based upon the idea that suprecompensation of energy metabolites will occur resulting in increased muscle growth. If intensity is a high factor then time needs to be given primarly to the Central Nervous System to recover from such strenous work. If inadequate time is given no progress and sometimes backward progress results. There are some strength coaches that advocate very brief and intense training sessions be performed frequently during a day. However, this is more for strength development than muscle growth since volume is usually very low.

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This is just one question out of many! View the full listing of FAQs here.

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