When it comes to strength training, pain does usually equate to gain. You need to break down muscle fibres in order for them to repair and grow back stronger. But that repairing process can hurt.
The trouble with braving a workout through DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and waddling back in to the gym, is that it could mean your muscles aren’t getting the time they need to repair. This could lead to long-term damage.
Often however, it’s just a state of mind. We all ache after a workout (if you’ve done it right!) and you’ll know whether the pain needs rest or if it’s more a mental battle.
Listen to your body. If you need to compete at a professional level and you put your body through a tough workout at the peak of DOMS, then you won’t be doing yourself any favours.
Your peak DOMS time is from about 18-72 hours, and this is where you need to let your muscles recover so they grow strong.
The key to getting through this is to work different parts of your body so you can get through DOMS without injuring muscles you’ve already worked.
With this cycle approach, you can get around the problem.
Mix up your workouts and then regular gym trips throughout will be no problem.
There is no way I could exercise through my muscle soreness anyway. It just feels too much and is like your body saying it's wrong to do. Good to know it's best to rest til the ache is over.
I use a split approach, working upper body on one visit and lower body on the next. Obviously I use all my muscles but that means the serious work can be spread round without having to miss a session.