Sore After Exercise? What's Normal, What's Not

Sore After Exercise? What’s Normal, What’s Not

If you’re starting a new workout program, you might be wondering if you’ll be sore after exercise, especially if it’s your first time training at the gym. Understanding muscle soreness can help you navigate your fitness journey more comfortably and effectively.

What to Expect: Sore After Exercise

When starting a workout routine, it’s important to know what kind of soreness is normal and what isn’t.

Mild Soreness is Normal

For beginners, experiencing some mild muscle soreness after exercise is common. A fitness professional can help you ease into a workout program to avoid excessive soreness. As you get used to working out, your body will adapt, and you won’t be as sore as often.

Experienced Gym Goers Get Sore Too

Even seasoned gym enthusiasts experience soreness, typically when they perform a new exercise or significantly increase workout intensity by adding weight or volume, or reducing rest periods.

Athletic girl feeling pain in her neck

The Cause of Muscle Soreness

Let’s delve deeper into the mechanisms behind muscle soreness:

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Muscle soreness, often referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. This exercise-induced stress can be beneficial, as it prompts the body to repair and strengthen the muscles. For example, if 10 squats make you sore initially, your body might adapt so it takes 12 squats to achieve the same level of soreness next time.

Appropriate Stress and Recovery

A great coach understands how to balance stress and recovery. They design workout programs that challenge your muscles, connective tissues, and physiological systems in a way that promotes growth and strength. An effective program includes adequate rest, recovery, and nutrition to ensure continuous improvement.

Managing Muscle Soreness

Let’s discuss how to navigate and manage muscle soreness effectively:

The Role of a Fitness Coach

A qualified fitness coach evaluates your current fitness level and prescribes a workout regimen that progresses toward your goals without causing undue soreness. They teach proper movement techniques to help you avoid joint pain and injuries, which are not normal aspects of training.

personal trainer at gym with woman for training

Adapting to Exercise

As you gain more experience, you’ll recognize that mild soreness is a natural part of the process. Your coach will monitor and adjust the intensity of your workouts to ensure they remain effective and safe.

Evaluating Workout Quality

It’s important to understand that the absence of soreness doesn’t mean your workout wasn’t effective. Fitness gains can occur without significant soreness, as progress is reflected in increased strength, endurance, and overall fitness.


Fitness training can lead to muscle soreness, but a knowledgeable coach will ensure your activities are safe and suitable. As you become fitter, you’ll experience soreness less frequently, although occasional mild soreness is still possible after certain workouts.

Start Your Workout Journey With Us

Are you located in the Concord area and looking to start or enhance your fitness journey? At Amoskeag Fitness, our experienced coaches are dedicated to helping you achieve your fitness goals safely and effectively. We offer personalized training plans designed to minimize soreness while maximizing results.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and take the first step toward a healthier, stronger you. Visit us at Amoskeag Fitness Concord to learn more!

FAQs About Being Sore After Exercise

Have more questions about muscle soreness? Get answers to your burning questions below:

Why am I sore after exercise?

Muscle soreness after exercise is typically due to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This is a normal response to new or intensified physical activity.

How can I reduce soreness after exercise?

To reduce soreness, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts, ensure proper warm-up and cool-down routines, stay hydrated, and maintain a balanced diet. Rest and active recovery, such as light stretching or low-intensity exercise, can also help.

Is it bad to exercise when sore?

Exercising with mild soreness is usually safe, but you should avoid intense workouts if you’re experiencing severe pain or discomfort. Listen to your body and consider consulting a fitness professional to adjust your workout plan accordingly.

How long does muscle soreness last?

Muscle soreness usually peaks within 24-72 hours after exercise and subsides within a few days. If soreness persists for longer or is accompanied by severe pain or swelling, it might indicate an injury, and you should seek medical advice.

Can I prevent muscle soreness entirely?

While it’s difficult to prevent muscle soreness entirely, especially when starting a new workout routine or increasing intensity, you can minimize it by gradually progressing your workouts, using proper form, and incorporating adequate rest and recovery.