No pain, no gain is perhaps the most common exercise mantra. As a result, countless athletes equate post workout soreness to a beneficial training session. Therefore, many believe that a lack of soreness indicates a lack of effort. Unfortunately, that assumption could not be further from the truth. Soreness doesn’t indicate progress, thus should not be viewed as a goal. True progress is measurable. It is easily tracked and observed in action.
Soreness Does Not Indicate Progress
Speaking as a coach, I am not paid to develop sore athletes. My job is to improve their performance. The presence of soreness is irrelevant. As discussed below, no one cares how the athlete feels. What ultimately matters is how the athlete performs.
Furthermore, as you gain experience, you naturally won’t feel the same soreness that you did as a beginner. Once again, that doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard enough. It simply highlights the fact that you’ve improved. You can handle greater volume and more intensity.
Speaking for myself, it is very rare for me to wake up with considerable soreness. The lack of soreness certainly does not indicate a lack of effort however. I still work just as hard as I ever did. It’s just that my consistency over the years has gradually improved my work capacity and recovery abilities. In my eyes, that’s a plus. I don’t need soreness to know that I’ve worked hard. I’d rather focus on legitimate improvements that can be quantified and tracked over time.
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“Make measurable progress in reasonable time.” – Jim Rohn