What Causes Sore Muscles?

The expression “feel the burn” is something we’ve all heard at some point in our lives. This refers to the burn felt in your muscles during strenuous activity and is almost always followed by sore muscles the next day. Sore muscles are a means to let us know we may have pushed ourselves too hard the previous day, and now you need to rest them before you try to push them again.

While we know that a hard workout or any out of the ordinary strenuous activity has the possibility of leaving you with sore muscles the next day, what exactly causes it, and what can you do to prevent it?

Sore Muscle Causes

Sore muscles are caused from overexerting the muscles to the point where they tear a little bit. As the muscle heals it will be sore, and this lets you know not to push it too much for a little while. As you work out, or doing whatever it is you are doing to stress the muscles, small tears are created on the z-band filaments, which slide over each other as the muscle is contracted. The level or damage relates directly to how sore those muscles will feel the next day.

As the muscle is worked, it contracts and relaxes, and the more stress placed on the muscle, the length of time involved and how often this is done, will relate directly to how much damage is done to the muscles. The fact that the muscles feel sore the next day is a sign of healing and regrowth of the muscle fibers. It’s during this phase that more muscle tissue is created, adding to the size of the muscles. Simply put, overexertion of any muscle in the body can cause it to become sore the next day.

How to Prevent Sore Muscles

If you are trying to gain muscle mass and get your muscles stronger, you will have to deal with sore muscles, especially when you first start any type of workout plan. This is perfectly normal and, as time goes on, the soreness of your muscles will decrease. There really is no way to prevent sore muscles as long as you want to gain muscle mass. The damage from the workout is what causes the soreness, and that is a part of the growth and rebuilding cycle of muscles.

If you are trying to gain muscle mass through workouts or any exercise, sore muscles are something you will have to deal with as long as you’re working out. Stretching will not make a difference or prevent sore muscles, but it does help prevent other muscle related problems.

Feel the Burn

There are a few ways to limit how sore your muscles will be:

  • Only push the muscles hard once or twice a week and allow them to heal
  • Work out until you feel the burn and then back off some and do it again
  • Know your own limits

There are creams and ointments to help relieve the pain, but this is the type of soreness where your body is telling you to go easy for a little bit so it can heal. If you have sore muscles, listen to them and let them rest.


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