While a lot of people gauge the effectiveness of their workouts on the presence or absence of soreness, it is not always an accurate gauge. While, I myself like the feeling of DOMS, I know the feeling that I had a great workout due to their presence is highly psychological.
A better gauge of whether or not you are working hard enough is whether or not you are achieving your goals. Have you been increasing the amount of work you have been doing either by increasing the amounts of weight, reps, or sets or have you basically plateaud and stuck doing the same weights/sets/reps? You don't have to go up on every single workout, but you should be increasing work or decreasing time (depending on your goals) on a regular basis. If you are able to increase the amount of work you are capable of doing or doing the same amount of work in less time, this is sure-fire proof that your body is making adaptations to allow this greater amount of work to be done and that is the bottom line. We work out to force the body to make adaptations and the type of training we do is to force the specific types of adaptations that meet our goals.
Now, if you are not increasing the amount of work or decreasing the time it takes to accomplish the same amount of work, that means the body has fully adapted to your current workout and you need to change things up. Swap out exercises, change set/rep schemes, change rest periods, change equipment, change something to force your body to start making adaptations again.
Focus on results not soreness and you'll never go wrong. Don't try to push things too far too fast just to get a feeling of soreness, you could easily wind up on the shelf.
Last edited by Depalma; 02-25-2008 at 09:15 AM.