Why am I so sore after lifting?

Consuming about 100g protein daily (I'm female about 132 lbs) - have read in multiple sources that protein helps with soreness. Also taking creatine, beta alanine, and ZMA. I skip around on taking them so they're not as regular as the supplement bottles suggest. Mostly take 5g creatine every day, maybe average about half of the beta alanine 1.6 g serving, and ZMA at nights 2-3 times a week while recovering. But none of them have seemed to help the soreness really. Maybe my muscles still use those nutrients but I just can't feel better in my recovery. I feel like I need two days in between workouts just to rest my body. It feels good in some ways but kinda tired and uncomfortable in other ways.

Should I just take comfort in knowing those muscles are getting stronger and I really need the recovery time with protein/carbs/fats to replenish and grow?


  • AJ_G
    AJ_G Posts: 4,158 Member
    Soreness is just a natural thing. When you lift, you're literally tearing your muscle fibers apart, so you're going to be sore while they heal back up.
  • ana3067
    ana3067 Posts: 5,639 Member
    Soreness is normal when new to lifting. It is also normal if you are over-exerting yourself, are injured, or you are changing your routine up. It is also normal if you completely skip stretching and improper warmup before your working sets (dynamic stretching, tiny bit of cardiovascular work, some warm up sets) might be contributing as well.

    I pretty muhc only get sore now when I change my routine or if I change my rep scheme. And it's temporary. If you are perpetually sore then IMO you are doing something wrong.
  • Sarauk2sf
    Sarauk2sf Posts: 28,079 Member
    How long have you been lifting and how often (per week) do you work the same muscle groups?
  • monikker
    monikker Posts: 322 Member
    I'm a few sessions back into a routine where I work two or three major muscle groups together - chest and back, legs, and arms and shoulders. So 3 different days a week. I do a little bit of stretching and warmup but not a lot. Maybe I should do more for warm up and cool down. But I feel like anytime in the past after doing at least several sessions each of the muscle groups, I was still pretty sore.

    Legs are the worst, but I like to do stuff that really burns like squats and lunges - so it seems normal to hurt from working those muscles a lot. But still, ack I need a massage on the double!
  • ana3067
    ana3067 Posts: 5,639 Member
    It's not normal to hurt, period. To have muscle soreness sometimes, yeah. but to HURT? no.

    either you're working each muscle too frequently, you perhaps have poor form (are you ego lifting?), doing way too many sets/reps, not stretching properly afterwards, and not warming up properly, based on the additional info.

    What is your actual routine like? I'm guessing MWF, so what do you do each day with your set and rep scheme?
  • Sarauk2sf
    Sarauk2sf Posts: 28,079 Member
    Usually you adapt - the more frequently you lift (within reason) and the longer you do it, the less sore you should get.

    If you are finding soreness other than general DOMS, you may want to look to do some mobility work for those areas.
  • ryanwood935
    ryanwood935 Posts: 245 Member
    If you are only a few sessions in, the DOMS gets less severe over time. Warmups should definitely be part of your routine. It may not help much with recovery, but it will prevent injuries. Cool downs on the other hand, can help with soreness. Stretch well after you are done lifting and don't skimp. If you aren't flexible enough, it could be causing you pain beyond normal DOMS. Your best mobility gains come after your muscles are already warm, aka post workout.

    As far as I know, beta alanine shouldn't affect DOMS. It's mostly used by lifters who do supersets or a lot of high rep/low rest work. ZMA is pretty much a sleep booster if you are zinc or magnesium deprived. If you are getting enough in your diet, I don't believe ZMA will do much for you. Even then, it only works through better sleep.

    I would spend more time stretching, and if you don't have one already, invest in a foam roller. The pain from DOMS is a like a battle wound you get to carry with pride! Do what you can to reduce it, but also embrace it.
  • dakotababy
    dakotababy Posts: 2,401 Member
    DOM DOM DOMS! I love Doms! DOM DOM DOMS! We love Doms! DO-DO-DO-DOMS! One day, You will love DOMS too! DOM DOM DOMS!
  • arditarose
    arditarose Posts: 15,575 Member
    Oh. I'm always sore. After every muscle group I'm sore the next day, and possibly the following day. I thought it was normal? Fun, will have to research more on that tomorrow.
  • monikker
    monikker Posts: 322 Member
    Ok, have also read about BCAAs and glutamine helping with soreness. I can barely get the powdered Body Tech stuff down because it tastes so nasty. Don't take it much.
    Also, I try to drink a lot of water but don't always get 8 cups down.
    I get about 7 hours of sleep a night. Sometimes a little less, sometimes 8-9.

    I'm gearing myself up for only being able to do 7-8 reps per set at most. Because that is how I understand my muscles can really grow...but I took it easy the first 3 sessions, did probably 15 reps per set for most of the exercises. 2nd round of sessions, did more and lifted a little heavier. For clarity, I'm trying to work my muscles to failure and eat a lot so they'll grow big and strong :) Biceps and triceps usually don't get that sore - my pecs will be fairly sore, back moderately sore and legs really sore (after working each muscle group, respectively)

  • monikker
    monikker Posts: 322 Member
    @arditarose it seems like DOMS is supposed to be normal. I don't know if having a worse 2nd day after the workout is though, haha. My 2nd day has been more sore, or at least just as sore as 1st day I wakeup after the last workout.

    Mainly what I'm trying to get is suggestions for how to make the DOMS last shorter or make it more comfortable. Recover quicker etc. But some people just think I may not be doing it right. I'm sure they could be right. I think the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) will be less severe after a few more workouts, but I'm still planning to progressively load more weight and change the routines up later etc so I assume I'll still have soreness.
  • gmallan
    gmallan Posts: 2,099 Member
    Yep DOMS is normal and is particularly bad when you're just starting out, you add in something new or you increase volume or load significantly. Yes, it's also quite normal for DOMS to peak in terms of soreness 2 days after lifting (it can go on for up to 4-5 days).

    Once you adjust to your routine it'll get better. Frequency and consistency of workouts can help (i.e. if I squat once a week - guaranteed soreness but if I do it three times a week it's not so bad). Unfortunately some people have poor genetics for recovery and seem to get worse DOMS (including me). Others are lucky and won't get it at unless they have a significant change in routine.

    Things you can try include mobility work, ibruprofen, heat, epsom salt baths, foam rolling, massage, ice baths, contrast showers, slowly increasing load and volume etc. Although the literature seems to indicate that there is nothing that will actually alleviate DOMS completely these things may help a little
  • harlequin0318
    harlequin0318 Posts: 415 Member
    that 48 hour burn - the worst
  • farberry
    farberry Posts: 71 Member
    When I first started out I could barely move for 2 days after a work out, and actually the one thing that helped was doing other exercise. As in, my arms and shoulders were killing me, but I put on an ab workout video from youtube and completing that warmed everything up and stretched it out without putting direct load on my already sore upper body muscles. Obviously you don't want to overdo anything, but if you're just a bit sore and feel up to it this really helped me!
  • Wheelhouse15
    Wheelhouse15 Posts: 5,589 Member
    First off, stop relying on supliment company BS about reducing soreness etc. There is nothing that stops DOMS but a NSAID like ibuprofen, naproxen or ASA will help as will heat and stretching but message and rolling will likely increase the soreness rather than help it (although they can provide temporary relief). Any time you change your routine or take an extended break you will likely have some DOMS and you'll just have to get used to that fact of life as a lifter. It's not so bad and soreness is often a badge of honour so wear it prodly because you earned it! :smile:
  • You are just over training and/or not resting enough, cut back.
  • Sarauk2sf
    Sarauk2sf Posts: 28,079 Member
    You are just over training and/or not resting enough, cut back.

    How can she be overtrained - she is on a 3 day a week full body and has only started back recently.

  • tycho_mx
    tycho_mx Posts: 426 Member
    edited November 2014
    It's absolutely normal. And after you're at it for a while, you'll realize that:

    a) you get less sore because your body is getting better at absorbing work
    b) you're equally sore BUT you can still put a quality workout
    c) you're so sore you can't work out effectively - you need extra recovery via time, nutrition, massage, or a combination.

    See "delayed onset muscle soreness". There's a lot of material online.

    PS - there's a difference between hurting and being injured. Learn that as well!
  • ThePhoenixIsRising
    ThePhoenixIsRising Posts: 781 Member
    Usually takes me 2-3 cycles before the DOMS are gone. Funny thing is for the next 8-10 weeks I miss them, till I switch my lifts up again. I do use glutamine and feel it helps. I take 15g after I lift, and 15g before bed on lifting days.
  • The odd thing about soreness after workouts (if it is not from an injury or doing an exercise incorrectly) is that people experience it after different exertion levels and to different extents. Some almost never get any soreness, and some, like me, get soreness very frequently, almost after every workout unless I'm going light. People will claim it means this or that, but if its just post workout soreness, you are going to have to learn your own body's patterns and adjust. I find for me if I exercise hard, I cannot do entire body 3x/wk because of the soreness, this is one of the reasons I do split workouts. Any change in weight or type of exercises increases the probability and length of soreness in hours/days afterwards. Some muscles are much more vulnerable to inducing soreness when exercised heavily than others...and not always based on how often you use them. I've also noticed the initial onset of soreness has increased in time as I got older, and the length of soreness seems to have increased a bit too.

    All the myths about having to stretch vigorously beforehand, getting sore only without enough protein or without certain supplements are not true. Soreness = you overdid it is not necessarily true...but can be. That last one is hard to judge sometimes at first, but you learn with time.

    Either way, the things you can do that I have found moderate and reduce soreness are increasing regular sleep, and stretching after exercise, activating/exercising the muscles lightly while sore, and massage before onset of soreness.