Should you lift weights with sore muscles?

United States
November 17, 2010 2:05pm CST
Hello, I was wondering if it was acceptable to lift weights with very sore muscles (DOMS) from a previous strength-training session. Would this increase more growth and strength by gritting your teeth and pushing through the pain? Or would it be better for muscle development to allow them to rest and heal? What about very light muscle soreness?
8 responses
• India
18 Nov 10
muscles need time to heal and recover themselves so rest is more important for building muscles.you should perform every set to muscles failure but take time to recover from each set.if you have soreness in your muscles till next day then take a day off from gym and give your body time to recover and heal itself. take balanced and nutritious diet and plenty of rest.
• Romania
18 Nov 10
This is correct. The growth and strengthening of your muscles occurs when they repair the micro-ruptures caused by your exercise with excess material (hence the need for protein intake). If you work them too hard your muscles will be damaged too much and you might actually lose strength instead of gaining it. Also happens if you don't feed your muscles properly.
• United States
29 Jan 11
I also agree. Let them heal. After doing weight lifting for some time the soreness will be much better. At first it seems impossible to lift weight again and in a few months you don't need as much recovery time.
@starrm (124)
• United States
19 Feb 11
Rest and recover. If you're experience light fatigue and soreness, it's often a good idea to do an active recovery routine. This can include using resistance bands, much lighter weights and I'd recommend using a foam roller to break up lactic acid. A light routine will help to increase blood (hopefully full of nutrients) flow to sore muscles and aid in recovery. BUT, if you're experience Delayed On-set Muscle Soreness, the only prescription is rest, recover, light stretching and waiting until it passes before hitting the weights again. You might also want to consider scaling back your routine and building up to whatever workout brought on DOMS. It's much more efficient to build up to that point than to have to take 3-4 days off every time you do it.
• United States
1 Feb 11
Sometimes its good when you just want to have the feeling of working out, and not training at your maximum level. Just going through some exercises with light weight, reping out like 20 reps and just focusing on the contractions and stretches instead of the strength and power of the movement.
• United States
29 Jan 11
They'll probably only be extremely sore if you just worked those muscles the day before. Say, you worked your arms yesterday and they're sore... I would say, today stretch those muscles, and strength train with a different muscle group. If you're doing intense exercises on the same muscle group every single day, then that doesn't give that group any time to repair the muscles (and repairing the muscles is what makes them bigger in the first place).
@jazzsue58 (2673)
29 Jan 11
As a registered/qualified PT (ret) I know that, officially, you shouldn't work out sore muscles as it can lead to injury. But from personal experience I found that when you first train, EVERYTHING is sore for days afterwards! Same if you try a new training exercise. If you blast the muscles real hard, it'll kill you to even walk. Leave it a minimum of 3 days before targetting that muscle group again - longer if they really burn - but train AROUND the affected area in the meantime (with legs, a chest workout is beneficial for some reason, guess it's all that huffing and puffing.) Then your next workout should be a light one, high reps to pump lots of blood into the area and speed up recovery. Follow this with a mid-rep workout or go back to the heavies - use your instinct but ALWAYS intersperse max. lift workouts with lighter ones or you'll overtrain quick as anything. Don't go by bodybuilding zines - they're written by and for steroid users as a rule! Train a max. of two body parts a time (legs break down into 3 areas - quads, hams and calves, so if your leg workouts are killing you do, say, quads day 1, chest/back day 2, hams/biceps day 3). At least every 5 days, take a total rest from weights. Supplement with lots of vitamins/minerals and amino acid supplements. People get worried if they see 5 days go by without retraining a muscle group - I did, and lost muscle and overtrained as a result. not that I do that anymore... I like my free time! It's a lot easier to overtrain than undertrain - if you've really blasted those muscle fibres, you can hypertrophy (get 'em bigger) with as much as 10 days between workouts - remember, other muscles are getting a blasting in the meantime, using the same "heavy/light/moderate" protocol. Try to mix it so, for example, heavy chest days don't follow heavy leg or arm days. You should only do "whole body workout, 3 days a week" type stuff if you're lifting sugar packets. Otherwise, you'll slew away the muscle you've made and end up damaging yourself.
@BART78 (2933)
• Canada
16 Dec 10
DOMS is normal when muscles are stimulated properly during the intense workout...the thumbs rule is you should allow each body parts to rest and recover for two days..but it depends with your level of strength and how long your are lifting some weights, after two days is sore is still there try to do low reps. using 10% of your RM..
• United States
18 Nov 10
Sometimes I can do a light work out and work all the soreness out. You want to be careful though as you don't want to pull anything for sure! But usually it is okay if there's not further injury.
• Indonesia
18 Nov 10
I know that it's a bad idea to exercise your body when your muscles are sore. Because it can cause you a great pain to your muscles. But recently when I go to gym with my friend, my instructor told me that if your muscles very sore from a previous strength-training or exercise, you must do the same exercise where you can that pain. Like the proverb "Beat Iron with Iron". But, if you feel that your muscles can't do heavy training, just do light training at the beginning. When it got better, you should try it more heavy than before.