Some people love aching after a workout, while it’s nice to know you have had a good session; I prefer results to be an indicator than how much I hurt. If you are reading this we are probably on the same page.

Aching after a workout is also known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and usually kicks in a day or two after a work out and typically lasts around 48-72 hours (although lasting a week is not unheard of). You simply do not need to ache after exercise to improve so lets look at ways in which to keep discomfort to a minimum.


DOMS are most common when you first start training or when you introduce new exercises. make sure you warm up thoroughly and build up how much exercise you do from session to session. People start exercise regimes with more enthusiasm than ability but don’t slow down your progress by starting too fast.


Training infrequently or training a body part at a time can mean you are sore after every workout (it can reduce your gains too). This also includes waiting to stop aching before your next session, so in other words if you are a bit sore after a session training the same muscles again can really help reduce those aches and pains.


Some exercises are more prone to causing aches than others. it is a myth lactic acid or ‘getting a pump’ contributes to muscle soreness but exercises that stretch you under a load (heavy eccentrics) do tend to cause soreness.

Lunges, dumbbell flies, stiff-leg deadlifts all fall in to this category. On the flip side shoulders do not really get much of a stretch in the gym so rarely ache after a workout.


Studies have shown stretching does not help with reducing DOMS but massage has been proven to significantly improve post workout soreness. The exact mechanics of how it works are not known but it will come with a host of other benefits including feeling more rested, de-stressed and probably getting a good night night sleep which will all boost your recovery


Time is a healer and some people are more prone to being sore than others, maybe you need to alter your exercise selection or build up to harder sessions gradually, train out some of the soreness but a few aches here and there should be expected and a small price to pay for all the benefits a well structured training program can give.

About the author:

Richard Patman is a much sought after fitness professional based in the Cambridge gym, RP Fitness.

Richard is a former world powerlifting champion and has helped many others reach similar standards.

He is constantly expanding his qualifications in coaching and sports therapy and is particularly known for developing innovative cross-disciplinary approaches to help his clients reach their goals.

For more information or to book an appointment with Richard click here