les courbatures en musculation

Is it a good sign to have body aches?

All people who do intensive strength exercises experience at one time or another the unpleasant sensations of body aches after a weight training session.

Some will avoid them at all costs, while others prefer to forget about them.

Do you have to have aches to build muscle?

Is it good to do sport again on aches?

How to reduce the impact of aches after a session?

To cut to the chase, aches are just body sensations and they shouldn’t stop you from continuing on to the next session.

Stay until the end of this article because you will therefore know:

  • why we have aches after a session with sports exercises
  • what the soreness signal actually means in your muscle development
  • how to reduce this unpleasant feeling of aches after the session
  • things to avoid when you have aches with bodybuilding

Ready? Let’s go.

What to do when you have muscle soreness?

Are sore muscles in bodybuilding a sign that we have worked our muscles effectively during the session. Is it dangerous to continue despite the unpleasant sensations.

Here is the physiological response of aches in response to the effort that has been requested from the muscle.

What body aches mean for muscle growth

If you have experimented with strength training by lifting heavy loads, during the following hours you may have painful sensations in the muscles. These aches can appear up to the third day after strength exercises and disappear for a maximum of one week.

Indeed, the muscle fibers are damaged by the effort and this creates pain at this level. It is an ingrained belief that it is the lactic acid accumulated in the muscle during exercise that is the cause of these soreness after the session.

Researchers have found (1) that it is this protein breakdown in muscle fibers that triggers these characteristic pain, inflammatory reactions.

The breakdown drives the process of muscle repair so that the muscle is stronger for the next sessions. Indeed, the hormones of protein synthesis will be activated to strengthen the muscle (2)

It is therefore a higher production of new proteins in the muscle, compared to damaged proteins, which will determine muscle growth.

You can watch this bodyweight program to better understand muscle growth.

Muscle fatigue and soreness after session are different

We can distinguish muscle fatigue and the feeling of aches.

Muscle fatigue is what makes us feel flushed after exercise. It is the lactic acid produced during exercise that causes this muscle fatigue. (3)

Muscle fatigue does not mean that there will be muscle development after the session.

It is important to understand this because too much muscle fatigue eventually leads to overtraining, with negative consequences.

Are body aches a good sign of muscle growth?

Let’s remember why we have pain after bodybuilding: It is the degradation of proteins in the fibers that causes this inflammatory reaction, the body aches.

Aches are simply sensations and do not are not proof of muscle development.

Two studies are interesting on this subject which will undermine the belief “you have to feel that it works to gain muscle”:

This is reassuring for two things:

  • It’s not because we don’t have aches that we did our session badly. The “no pain no gain” is useless in bodybuilding, if you have not understood the criteria of a good workout.
  • Some sports give you more aches, but these are not the most effective sports for gaining muscle

how to get rid of body aches

Aches are an unpleasant feeling that beginners want to avoid in bodybuilding. It’s a common mistake in the gyms to back off the next session or lift lighter after getting sore.


You must not stop and delay the next session because of body aches. These are sensations: aches are not indications that allow us to check whether the session is beneficial or not.

The best way to have them regularly after a session is to space out the sessions too much and to wait until you are no longer sore before redoing the muscular effort.

It’s counter-intuitive, but the solution to reduce the impact of these aches is to continue the sessions with the rest time necessary to be in good shape.

For our alphas, in the AlphaBody strength training programs, we tell them: “the best way to get sore is to miss the next session”.

Moreover, beginners in bodybuilding are more subject to these benign pains than people who regularly lift loads and who are experienced. (6)

Although you can train with soreness, too intense and too frequent a program can decrease muscle gains. A good weight training program works the different muscle groups in different sessions anyway to allow time for the muscles to rebuild effectively before the next effort.

What to do when your muscles hurt after training?

There are two methods that are generally recommended for beginners.

However, it is not recommended according to the opinion of scientists:

Stretching is not effective in reducing muscle soreness induced by strength exercises (7)

In AlphaBody programs, we do not recommend stretching or warming up before the session. There are more effective and less dangerous warm-up strategies for injury prevention in bodybuilding. Also, you can injure yourself by overstretching the tendons with the stretches.

the productss anti-inflammatories: take a doliprane or an ibuprofen to ease the aches?

Bad idea because the painful sensation of body aches will decrease… with a decrease also in protein synthesis (8). Doing an intensive and beneficial session to not get the good results is frustrating!

The effective means that we recommend to feel less the impact of aches after bodybuilding sessions

  • Massages with muscle foam rollers. (9) The foam rollers used to relax the muscle after intense effort are effective according to scientists for good muscle recovery and limiting aches. Some massage guns are too powerful for this use. Muscle tissue may be more damaged with these massage tools.

All aches therefore allow you to resume the exercises at the next session. They do not prevent you from training after these inflammatory pains. If the pain is too much to train properly and it’s impacting performance, it’s likely that the cause isn’t the aches.

It is sometimes overtraining that limits performance: it is this signal that must be monitored to avoid the risk of injury during training.


Do you have muscle aches after a weight training session?

This is not a reason to stop the sport because aches are simply unpleasant sensations. They are caused by the small tears in the muscle fiber and the proteins degraded by the effort.

A distinction must be made between muscle fatigue which originates from metabolic waste during exercise.

Intense muscle fatigue should be monitored when training is too frequent (overtraining). It can lead to injury and a general lack of motivation.

Body aches usually disappear within 5 days of exertion.

They are benign unless we have lifted much more weight than our body can support. Muscle soreness after strength training is not necessarily a good sign of an effective workout. You can do an effective session without feeling aches. Most experienced bodybuilders feel less and less of this unpleasant feeling after their session.

The best solution for body aches

Leave at least a day of rest for the muscles to recover, but don’t stop. The sensations will quickly disappear.

Consistently following a good training program and proper nutrition allows you to transform your body. But if you work on your exercises by measuring performance only through sensations, this is the direct path to stagnating in your muscle gain!


  1. RB Armstrong Mechanisms of exercise-induced delayed onset muscular soreness: a brief review 1984 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6392811/
  2. Sophie BP Chargé, Michael A Rudnicki Cellular and molecular regulation of muscle regeneration 2004 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14715915/
  3. Wim Ament, Gijsbertus J Verkerke Exercise and fatigue 2009 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19402743/
  4. RG Eston, J Mickleborough, V Baltzopoulos Eccentric activation and muscle damage: biomechanical and physiological considerations during downhill running 1995 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7551767/
  5. Kyle L Flann, Paul C LaStayo, Donald A McClain, Mark Hazel, Stan L Lindstedt Muscle damage and muscle remodeling: no pain, no gain? 2010 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21270317/
  6. John FT Fernandes, Kevin L. Lamb, Craig Twist Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Recovery in Young and Middle-Aged Males with Different Resistance Training Experience 2019 https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4663/7/6/132
  7. Rob D Herbert, Michael Gabriel Effects of stretching before and after exercising on muscle soreness and risk of injury: systematic review 2002 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12202327/
  8. TA Trappe, JD Fluckey, F White, CP Lambert, WJ Evans Skeletal muscle PGF(2)(alpha) and PGE(2) in response to eccentric resistance exercise: influence of ibuprofen acetaminophen 2001 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm. nih.gov/11600586/
  9. Zainal Zainuddin, Mike Newton, Paul Sacco, Kazunori Nosaka Effects of massage on delayed-onset muscle soreness, swelling, and recovery of muscle function 2005 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16284637/
  10. Reinaldo Abunasser Bassit, Carlos Hermano da Justa Pinheiro, Kaio Fernando Vitzel, Antônio José Sproesser, Leonardo R Silveira, Rui Curi Effect of short-term creatine supplementation on markers of skeletal muscle damage after strenuous contractile activity 2010 https://pubmed.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/19956970/
  11. J David Branch Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis 2003 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12945830/

#stop #bodybuilding #muscle #aches #Alphabody

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