Why Do Some Exercises Make You Sore (And Others Not)

We have all felt it.

The day after a workout (or sometimes the day after that)

Stiff, sore and aching muscles.

In the geeky world of sports science this is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and is typically worse when you are a) just getting back into exercise b) introducing new exercises into your routines c) significantly ramping up the amount of work completed during a workout.


Even with experienced trainers whose bodies are well-versed in a wide variety of exercises and who always apply a high degree of effort to their training sessions the amount of muscle soreness can vary significantly from workout to workout

The likely culprit is the amount of load being applied to muscles in a stretched position. Depending on exercise selection this can vary quite significantly from workout to workout.

For example you will likely feel a lot more muscle soreness after an intense set of bulgarian split squats than you would after an intense set of wall sits.

Generating lots of muscle soreness is by no means an essential requirement of effective exercise. Some people like the feeling, others don’t. If you fall into the latter group try to fill your workouts with exercises which allow you to work hard but simultaneously limit the amount of load being applied to your muscles in a stretched position.

Resistance bands and bodyweight isometrics can work really well for this. Check out The Gymless Training System exercise library to see these moves in action.