Why Am I Not Sore Until Two Days After I Workout?


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS for short) hits between 24 and 48 hours after intense and unfamiliar exercise and can last for 3 or more days. The last time I remember getting beat up knock out sore for days was the 9 sets of 8 overhead squats; Monday I squatted, Tuesday I was tired but mobile, Wednesday was PURE PAIN, and by Friday I could finally pick my kid’s toys up off the floor again without groaning.



The exercise must fit two factors to cause DOMS:

  • Intense
  • Unfamiliar



This is probably a no brainer, hard work makes you sore. No pain, no gain. Know that the pain you are feeling, though, is your muscles working hard at recovery. The hormones in that area have donned their hard hats, reduced the speed limit down to 35mph, and gotten to work repairing your broken down muscle fibers. The traffic may move slowly a few days, but rest assured that the repairs will not only get you back up to speed but improvements will be made and your muscles will be stronger for it.


So take some time off. If you do travel through that area again during the repair work, give the workers plenty of space to do their job. Move minimally in those same movement patterns, enough to work mobility if you like, but not under any more stress or load.



This will be encouragement for those of you just getting back into exercising: the soreness you feel after EVERY workout is because the body is just starting to move again. If the movement is not one that the body is accustomed to (first time squatting/pressing in a while, first time running or going on a long hike) then DOMS will strike. But once you get in the rhythm and regularity, the familiarity of these movements allows your body to work muscles repair with little to no soreness.


So when DOMS comes for you again, remember every time you wince in pain that the muscles are coming back stronger, and you are changing and growing as a capable physical person. Talk to your coach, talk to your fellow exercisers, I’d say it’s probably the number one gym topic of all time.