Weight and Resistance Training - Do sore muscles really retain water?

02-07-2008, 05:24 PM
I can't seem to find solid info on it online, but my muscles are SO SORE, and my weight was up today, I'm wondering...

Do sore muscles really cause you to retain water?

Any links and/or articles would be great!

Thanks in advance!:D

02-07-2008, 05:37 PM
I really only know it from experience in that I always tend to weigh more after an intense weight workout. My muscles also can visibly swell.

As for links/articles, I don't have any.

02-07-2008, 06:03 PM
I'm with Nelie. I can *feel* the swell in my muscles after a particularly hard workout, or after the first workout after a break. The muscles hurt, they feel bigger and I weigh more. That's only anecdotal evidence, but it's good enough for me.

02-07-2008, 06:19 PM

You may notice a sudden size or weight increase in the first several weeks of training. This sometimes happens to novice trainers as a result of water retention. It freaks newbies out because they figure that they've bulked up overnight. Nope, it's just water. It's temporary and will go away eventually. Unless they're taking a buttload of drugs, nobody gains five pounds of muscle in two weeks.

02-07-2008, 11:25 PM
Thanks so much! :hug:

02-11-2008, 11:32 PM
I don't have any articles, but I know from my own experience that when my muscles are sore, I retain water. Sometimes A LOT of water. I weigh myself every day, so I can tell when I'm retaining water and when I'm not just by the number on the scale (I can also tell by how many times I have to get up and pee during the night :lol:). When my muscles are sore, the scale sometimes reads as much as 3-5 lbs higher than normal (and I get a great night's sleep because I hardly have to pee at all). If my eating is on plan--which it usually is--I know the weight is just water.

It seems counter-intuitive but drinking lots of water will help. Drinking water will flush out the toxins that are making your muscles sore and it also helps your body release the water it is retaining. Stretching will also help--always stretch after you work out and you might stretch a couple of times a day while your muscles are sore. It makes a big difference for me.

If you are really sore, take some Ibuprofen. I do think Ibuprofen also makes me retain water in the short term (I have never read anything to back this up, so it could be all in my head), but it will help with soreness, which will eventually help with the water retention.

08-24-2009, 11:39 AM
I know this is an old thread but after 6 hours of active volleyball and over 3500 calories burned, I woke up this morning barely being able to walk and up 1.5 lbs.

Since I know that I have been awesome this week I did some research and found this:


This actually made me feel alot better. I am hoping to see my weight dip below 150 this week and going up just killed me...but now maybe it will dip back down.

08-24-2009, 01:09 PM
I do think Ibuprofen also makes me retain water in the short term (I have never read anything to back this up, so it could be all in my head), but it will help with soreness, which will eventually help with the water retention.

That's not in your head. It's a well-established side effect of ibuprofen and the like. Some people may be more sensitive to this than others.

08-24-2009, 02:07 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I found this page that sounds trustworthy enough for me although they don't cite any of the literature to back it up. http://www.personalpowertraining.net/Articles/what_causes_muscle_soreness.htm According to them, part of the reason our muscles feel sore is from the water retention itself putting pressure on pain receptors... I had no idea!

08-27-2009, 06:41 PM
Thank you! I was good for the week and it adds 5 lbs :lol: didn't thought it's my sore muscles being awaken from their lazy, out-of-shape slumber.

Currently considering measuring my 3 sizes monthly in addition to weighing every week. :)

09-15-2009, 03:38 PM
it's your muscles needing water to help repair the tears it has. So even though your muscles are already retaining water, you still need to drink lots of water and consume protein to help recover.