Is it Ok to Work Out with Sore Muscles – BoomerMuscle

Is it Ok to Work Out with Sore Muscles

muscle sore

Is it ok to work out with sore muscles? YES! In fact, a certain type of soreness should be your goal as you’re trying to build muscle.

It’s important to know the difference between Pain and Soreness.

Pain is bad, Soreness is good.

It’s a signal from your body that there is a real problem. If you feel genuine pain, you should immediately stop and tend to it.

Soreness is different. I like to think of it as a “pumped up” feeling in your muscles. It’s a signal that the process of hypertrophy is taking place. Blood is rushing into your muscle to flush out waste and bring nutrients to repair the microscopic damage your training has done to the target muscle fibers.

That’s what you’re to training to accomplish, and the pumped feeling is a sign that it is happening.

If you’re just starting out to build muscle, this sore feeling may be new to you. You may mistake it for pain. So how do you tell the difference? Tough question to explain if you’ve never felt the soreness pump before. 


Pain causes a sharp sensation in your joints or muscles. It makes movement difficult. This could be due to an actual strain in the muscle. This could limit your ability to move and send a sharp pain signal when you try.

Muscle strains generally heal themselves, but should not be aggravated by more training. If the sensation lasts more than a couple days and continues to cause you great discomfort, it might be time to see a doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor. That sounds like Pain.


Soreness is more of a dull, swollen sensation in your targeted muscles. It can happen the same day as the workout, or even a day or two later. You’re feeling the ‘burn’ as lactic acid builds up in your muscle due to taking it to failure against resistance. You will see it referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS.

No Pain, No Gain?

In the old days of bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger was famous for saying “No Pain, No Gain.” Taken literally, that statement is just flat out wrong. No Pain Ever is our motto.

But to be fair to Arnold, what he was trying to say is that muscle growth doesn’t happen without Hypertrophy. And that’s the process of causing microscopic damage to targeted muscle fibers so that the body’s natural healing process builds them back again just a bit stronger than before.

That’s a mouthful. And it doesn’t rhyme like ‘no pain, no gain.’ But I believe that is what he actually meant to convey.

If you’ve trained before or are currently, you probably know how to tell the difference. It’s going to be more difficult if you’re new to putting your muscles to work. But don’t let soreness deter you. 

The best medicine for genuine soreness is to keep staying active and doing your workouts.

Learn to associate that feeling as the “pump” you’re aiming to create and recognize it as a sign you’re efforts are paying off.

For more perspective, check one of my favorite resources, Web MD.

And for more of my take on the Muscle Pump, check this out.

Ever been sore after a workout? What are your thoughts on Pain vs the Pump? Please share below or drop me a line at:

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Brian Patterson

I've been resistance training for nearly 50 years. As a younger man, I used to believe in using ever-increasing amounts of weight. Until one day in my mid-50's, my aching joints could not take the punishment any more. I had to develop a new way of working out that was effective, but free of pain. I found it. It works great. I'd like to share it with you.

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Brian Patterson - June 5, 2021 Reply

Wow Chris. You’ve had some tough challenges! I had a 3X bypass 17 years ago and total replacement of my right knee 2 years ago. The arthritis in my shoulder is manageable as long as I use the light weights with strict form. I think sometimes the workout makes it actually feel better.
Sleep is crucial for building muscle and general health. I struggle sometimes. I also have sinusitis that can keep me awake. Seeing an ENT soon and hoping for a fix.
Bands can be a great alternative to weights.
I hope you find a routine that feels right and gets results.
I always say a little muscle soreness is good but pain is never good. Always listen to your docs over a guy like me. And take care. If we’re doing the light weights correctly, it should be much easier to control the motions and the workout.
Checkout the Boomer Facebook page for general articles on nutrition and workouts.
Good luck to you in all things!

Chris - June 5, 2021 Reply

Thanks for the great info on training.
I have been working out since the age of 13.
Today I am 60 and at the age of 52 and 53 I had
Bilateral knee replacements. 2017 I had a rogue
piece of hernia mesh that wrapped around organs,
nerves and blood vessels. It had to be removed!

That made the knee replacements a piece of cake.
I am still healing in 2021. I lost my right testicle and had a a total abdominal rebuild. I still have to ice my abdomen down after training because it swells. Most doctors will not advise on how one should train after these issues
Thanks for giving me some hope, I have a full home gym, but sometimes I use just bands. I am definitely going to move towards your style of training.. The question I was going to ask you, is about your arthritis in your shoulders. Do you still do pressing movements for them? I also have that same issue and sleeping can be an issue. Do you have issues sleeping? Thanks again and God Bless
Chris Szaroleta

Brian Patterson - February 16, 2017 Reply

Thanks for weighing in! I agree if you are in pain, you must stop and rest. It will be hard for some people to discern between real pain and muscle soreness. But when in doubt, best to err on the side of caution.
Thans for stopping by!

Xdeem Li - February 16, 2017 Reply

Well like Arnold said, no pain no gain! However, we need to listen to our bodies. I think what Arnold meant was that you need to work hard to see results. If you are in pain, then you must rest. This is especially the case if you are lifting weights or doing some sort of strength training. If you are doing light exercises, then you are probably feeling soreness. For example, running or doing ab crunches. If that’s the case, continue on and work hard, cheers!

P.S. would you please comment on my article, thanks:

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