Do You Get Stronger After Every Workout?
May 24th 2019
Find out whether or not you are getting stronger after every workout in the gym. No matter what sport you do, it is a huge positive if you do any form of resistance training. Depending on your sport, you may opt for a more aggressive workout in the gym. Yet, there is a striking similarity for all sports - you need to get stronger. Your body needs to become physically stronger. For more aerobic sports, like running and hiking, to more technique-based sports, like basketball, golf or fencing, you will experience some benefit if you lift weights. So, let us dive deep into whether or not you are getting stronger after every workout.
Do you get stronger after every workout?
Yes, you are getting stronger after every workout. Just like how your skin replicates every second, you may be unaware of its presence because these changes occur at a microscopic level. It is ideal that you continue to focus long term on your fitness goals and to make sure you are constantly improving.
How to get strong?
In order to get stronger, it is not directly related to getting sore. In order to become strong, it is dependent on many variables such as technique, muscle size, motor patterns, and CNS efficiency. However, do not let these different factors intimidate you; there are many ways you can train strength at the gym. So, let us go over three basic training principles you will see in all resistance training programs.
You are training strength
If you lift weights, this means that you are lifting in a moderate to high intensity. If you lift low-intensity weights, you are simply flexing your muscles but are not demonstrating any strength. When lifters start lifting at a moderate intensity, this is where things change drastically. Things get a bit harder but it depends on your volume and frequency as well. It is usually at moderate intensities that many strength athletes develop their strength, around 75% of their one rep max.
At higher intensities, volume and frequency are usually low. At these intensities, maximal strength and power are exerted and shown.
You are training speed
This is one factor that is often overlooked by many strength coaches. Let me rephrase that, many strength coaches will speak about this topic but it gets overshadowed by many other factors that beginner lifters should be aware of.
From a practical point of view, if you move heavy weights quickly, this is also another avenue of strength. This is your body’s ability to become efficient in a movement and optimally recruits muscles in order to handle any heavy stimuli. This is one reason why Olympic weightlifters appear “small” but they are some of the most powerful athletes in the world. They are explosive and pack a lot of power in their bodies.
You are training technique
Depending on lifestyle, you will need to train your technique to be both precise and accurate. For boxes, they must be nimble and adaptive. For powerlifters, the squat, bench press and deadlift needs to be mastered. For Olympic weightlifters, the clean and jerk and snatch are their bread and butter. Having the most effective technique will help optimize your strength to another level. This is because you are not allowing your body to leak any energy and become inefficient when your entire body is focused on completely one task.
Is muscle soreness an indication of getting stronger?
Muscle soreness can occur between 24 hours to 72 hours after your workout. This is usually shortened to DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness. This soreness is a result of your body experiencing microtears in your muscle fibers. This is especially common when you are doing a workout for the very first time or have been inactive for an extended period of time. This is your body’s adaptation in order to repair itself and grow stronger.
Now, should you depend on muscle soreness as feedback to determine whether or not you are getting stronger? No, you should not.
Muscle soreness is a symptom that your body is adapting to your training. However, your body will become less sore over time once it has adapted to the training stimulus. It is more important to focus on long term goals and whether or not your performance is improving. This is one reason why many beginner lifters will experience crippling DOMS during the first few weeks of training. Then, this frequency of muscle soreness will decrease quite drastically. They may get random soreness here and there, depending on where their weaknesses and strengths are.
Should I aim to get sore after every workout?
No, you do not need to focus on getting sore. You should focus on developing or choosing a great workout program that you can run for at least one year. This should be after you decide upon your goals to strive for. I have personally run and reviewed some beginner strength training programs - Greyskull LP and Starting Strength. If you are looking to start off your strength training journey correctly and need a nudge in a good direction, these two programs will help you achieve just that. It is also equally as good if you are able to do the make your own program as well. However, in order to do that, you must be able to understand specifically what your needs are and how to apply different strength training principles throughout your entire program. Depending on the lifter, this can take a couple of hours to learn or many months of trial and error. So, I would highly suggest you check out my reviews to see whether or not your goals match up with these two programming styles.
In addition to training hard in the gym, lifters need to make sure that they are doing things right outside of the gym. For 99% of lifters, I would say they are already doing more than enough in the gym. It is what they do outside of the gym that really slows down their progress. If you are drinking and partying hard every weekend, you are slowing down your gains, whether you rationalize how beneficial it is that your social game needs to be improved or minimize the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol. Only you know what is most important for you.