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Am I Working Out Hard Enough? No DOMS!

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Hi all

Hoping for some help with a query of mine. I am aware delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is not required for muscle growth, it is a good indicator of one method to increase hypertrophy - muscle damage ( the other two being mechanical tension and metabolic stress).

When I first started working out 4 months ago, I would get almost debilitating DOMS (that I do not miss) but I have noticed in recent months - even when increasing volume / reps that the amount of DOMS is almost non-existent or very very mild. I am not complaining about not being sore but it does lead me to question If I am working out hard enough?

I hit the gym 5x per week so I am sure its not overall frequency or volume...



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It's hard to be sure because there's no scientific literature that we can point to that would give a conclusive answer. I believe there are people in both camps: DOMS is best, and DOMS isn't needed.

I'm in the camp where it's not necessary, except in beginners. You could technically call yourself a beginner at the stages you're at, but when I say beginner I literally mean people just starting off. Your body likely has just adapted well to the physical stress that lifting puts on you; some people can adapt better and faster than others, and it's very much genetic.

From what I know about your routine/activity level, I'd say you're fine without feeling soreness. You're pushing yourself hard enough in the gym to see progress (as been proven, really). I actually think debilitating DOMS is inappropriate, because it forces us to stop working out until it settles down — and from what we know, frequent training is better for hypertrophy than, well, less.

It's very hard for me to get sore. Even when I was in the first few years of lifting, I could change my workouts and routines and feel very little soreness from the change, but I was still progressing in strength and muscle despite not being sore.

One thing that I think I've recommended before and I'll mention here again: if you want to try to get more sore (because chasing progress in a healthy and motivated way is only a good thing imo), try to focus a lot on the eccentric movements of the workouts you're doing. Bring the weight back to starting position slowly using the weight you'd normally do, with the same reps/sets you were going to do. Just change that one aspect and you might be surprised at the soreness that comes. It may not be debilitating (shouldn't be, again, imo), but you'll at least feel something. Most likely.

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