MAR 10, 2016 01:16 PM PST

Are Sore Muscles Growing?


Imagine you're about to do 50 squats - after not exercising for months. Your muscles aren't used to the exercise, so you should expect to be sore. This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness, and it will be at its worse between 24 to 72 hours after the workout.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is thought to be caused by micro-trauma in the muscle fibers. Microscopic muscle tears occur when doing eccentric contractions, which is when your muscles contract and lengthen at the same time. Common exercises that cause eccentric contraction include lowering weights, push-ups, and the downward motion of squats. These movements involve your muscles sort of relaxing, but still contracting to hold the weight up. The tiny muscle tears cause inflammation, which activates nociceptors. Nociceptors are neurons responsible for sensing pain. As time passes, your muscles heal and the pain goes away. The once-sore muscles are also more adapted to the exercise and won't hurt as much the next tie they are put to work.

So, how are soreness and growth related? No one is really sure. While muscle building involves minor damage in healing, it's not clear if the soreness and growth use the same mechanism. Growing muscle has to do with lifting weights and dieting appropriately. So, from what we know, being sore has nothing to do with it.
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
You May Also Like
NOV 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 20, 2019
NASA's Dawn Mission Taught Us Much About the Asteroid Vesta
In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at its destination, enabling planetary scientists with the American space agency to study a particularly capt...
NOV 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 20, 2019
It's True, Elephants Are Highly Intelligent Animals
If you’re ever asked what the world’s smartest animal is, then the humble elephant should certainly come to mind. These incredible beasts have...
NOV 20, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 20, 2019
Radioactive Spill? Self-propelled Microbots to the Rescue
Scientists have been looking for an effective method to clean up radioactive elements in industrial wastewater and accidental spill, to support and boost t...
NOV 20, 2019
Neuroscience
NOV 20, 2019
Finding Pleasure in Music Comes From Balance of Uncertainty, Surprise
  A new study by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences shows the effect that uncertainty, about a song's progression, an...
NOV 20, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 20, 2019
The Elements that Could Go "Extinct"?
Extinction doesn't just happen in the world of biology — it might also have to chemical elements. Our world of modern technologies relies on a lo...
NOV 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 20, 2019
Cheetahs Band Together to Take Down Larger Prey
Cheetahs are impressively large cats, but they aren’t quite as large as the fabled lion. Their smaller stature means that they’re compelled to...
Loading Comments...