When training to build muscle size, you do not need to train for muscle soreness. DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, is not an indicator of an effective workout. In fact, DOMS isn’t actually muscle soreness at all, but rather inflammation of the extracellular matrix (ECM).
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is connective tissue that provides structural support to cells. When you work hard with the weights, the resulting pain you feel is this ECM, and not related to muscle tissue damage or inflammation.
Instead of training for pain, try to hit the gym with the goal on improving each set. Try to add a rep or two to every set, each day. Over time, add weight when it makes sense. This is called progressive overload, and is the true muscle building key.
Do you train for pain, or for gains? Let us know in the comments section below.