Exercising with sore muscles! – DO or DON’T?



This is the topic that has been bothering me as well, so…is it healthy or not to exercise when your muscles are sore? I’m sure this question has been in mind of every fitness fan since sore muscles is a syndrome experienced both by beginners and pros’.

I decided to make a reliable research about it and compare the opinions of various fitness experts on this matter.

And here is what I found out. The first thing you need to do when you experience sore muscles is assess the intensity of your pain. Is your pain indeed unbearable or are you just searching for an excuse to skip your workout? Let me calm you down by saying that in most cases – it is an excuse. Even intense and regular workouts most likely won’t harm your muscles to the extent that you’re “too sore to exercise”. So the next time you’re considering skipping your workout because of soreness – you are just being lazy 😉

Now what about if your muscles keep hurting 2 or 3 days after your workout? Surprisingly, there is a name for that – it is called the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) syndrome. It is the result of stressed muscular tissue because of physical activity it wasn’t used to. It normally occurs after the muscle is performing durable and lengthy contractions. In other words, it is when you perform long sets of exercises on one group of muscles.

Now here is the good news – you don’t need to worry about this. Your muscular tissue is experiencing microscopic damages that as a result, make it stronger and firmer. THIS IS GOOD PAIN!

Nobody is immune to it and experts do NOT recommend taking pain killers  – it is a natural process of muscle restoration which shouldn’t be disturbed. Another good news is that you DON’T have to pause your workout routine for 3 days in case you have sore muscles.

This will only apply in case you’ve been hiking for 2 days straight and you can barely get out of bed.

A few ways to handle your workout during soreness is to either exercise another group of muscles, or in case you’re a runner (like me), slow your running pace down and perhaps decrease the duration of your workout. In fact, my own experience shows that exercising on sore muscles removes the feeling of soreness during the workout and isn’t unpleasant.

Experts say that exercising during soreness isn’t harmful for your muscles and doesn’t impede their formation. You might want to have a day off in case you’re too concerned with your health – one day should be more than enough.

But if you’re a tough nut, just hit the gym and don’t worry too much about it! I’m curious though, has anyone experienced the so-called DOMS syndrome for more than 3 days? Has anyone ever been harmed from exercising with sore muscles? Never happened to me, just curious!



8 thoughts on “Exercising with sore muscles! – DO or DON’T?

  1. Thanks for posting about this. I’ve been curious about this as well but most of the time persevere and workout with sore muscles. It’s good to know that it won’t likely be detrimental to future workouts.

    • Thanks for your opinion! Indeed, it has been bothering me aswell and I’m relieved too! I’ve been exercising on sore muscles numerous times and I’ve always had the little worry in my head. Well now we know 😉 Keep exercising!

  2. AnthonyR

    I always get DOMS after a tough BJJ tournament or a really hard leg day (tons of heavy squats). I alway thought that my muscles were the slowest healing in the world. lol. Sometimes the muscle pain lasts 5-8 days in my legs…

      • AnthonyR

        Sometimes iT doesn’t kick in until 3days late for me. Especiall my hamstrings… I know, I’m a freak. lol

      • haha I guess it’s just something specific to your body. I must say I’ve had that too. First day NO pain at all – second day – can’t even sit on the toilet! haha, so I guess it’s normal, thank you for sharing!

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