Are You Never Sore After Doing Squats? That Is Okay!
April 28th 2019
What should you feel about doing squats? Should you be sore? Should you feel fatigued? Should you feel anything at all? Squats are one of the fundamental exercises for all strength training programs. Squats help us grow our legs and posterior chain so that we can become functional, strong, aesthetic and explosive. But is it alright to never be sore after doing squats?
Not sore after squats
As your body becomes more efficient at lifting weights, DOMS will decrease to a point where you may not even get sore after doing heavy workouts. This is not a bad thing since you know that you have exerted your muscles heavily. The only difference now is that you are still able to walk and sit down without any major discomfort.
As a novice lifter, you normally feel DOMS after your first few heavy sessions. You will usually feel crippling levels of soreness after doing squats specifically. Sitting down may be difficult. Walking will be difficult. Climbing up and down stairs is tough. Running and doing cardio is usually out of the question. Lifters are a mess with leg DOMS. And for the most part, a lot of athletes associate muscle growth and strength with feeling DOMS.
Make sure you have proper form
Beginner lifters need to make sure that they learn how to squat properly. For more experienced lifters, they must also maintain their good form under heavy loads. For more advanced lifters, it is very easy to pinpoint and judge someone else’s form. However, with that experience, you should also be disciplined enough to perform a good squat with good mechanics. And what does that usually entail?
Squat stance that you are comfortable with
Whether you choose to do a narrow squat stance or a wide squat stance, make sure it aligns with your strength and fitness goals. To be quite frank, it really does not matter which one you pick. Most strength coaches will tell you to start off with a shoulder width stance. Depending on how you react to that stance, you can try to narrow or widen your stance. Pick something you feel relatively comfortable in since you do not want to pick a squat stance that makes the squat harder. It is good to note which stance that is so that for future squat workouts, you can implement a harder squat accessory by addressing your weakness.
Weight on your heels
You should not be leaning forward on your squats. This is a recipe for disaster and will not allow you to build a strong squat. You want to place all the pressure on the heels of your foot in order to stabilize your squats.
Should I try to get myself sore after squats? No pain, no gain?
No, you just need to follow your program. If your program is Starting Strength or Greyskull LP, you will naturally progress with your squat every workout. If you are not sore by today’s squat workout, do not worry. There will be plenty of other opportunities awaiting you. You will need to squat heavier weights in the future and for possibly more reps and sets as well.
Soreness is not an indicator of progress. If you are improving your strength every week, that is a better indicator of progression. Your body gets more efficient at squatting as you continue to practice the movement.
Why are my glutes not sore after squats?
According to Bret Contreras, squats are not capable of developing the upper glutes very well. So, if you think that just doing squats is a great idea for glute development, you may need to evaluate your training plan.
At the same time, there are some lifters that get great glute development by just doing squats. Many lifters seem to agree that it really depends on the individual. There is a common story that gets told about muscle development - there are two lifters, lifter A and B. Under the same squat program, form, eating plan and sleep schedule for twelve weeks, lifter A will come out with more developed quads and lifter B will come out with more developed glutes. If you go down to the nitty-gritty, you can also find that individual difference play a small role in how lifters grow and exert muscle. Leverages may be different, which can definitely play a big factor. I hate to use the word genetics but in very small cases, a son who has parents weightlifting may have a better chance of developing his strength faster than a son who has parents who did not do any sports in their lives. Though there are a ton of variables, some exercise scientists want the public to believe that genetics has a role in lifting weights.
Quads are not sore after squats?
The squats work your quads. It is as simple as that. If you are not feeling your quads burn during the squats, are you doing something wrong?
Make sure you squat to depth, below parallel
Some lifters commented that they do not feel any soreness in their quads from doing squats. However, if they give you a form check, you can see they are only half squatting.
It really depends on your goals. For a majority of lifters (virtually everybody), you want to be strong. You want aesthetic legs. One of the best ways to achieve that is by doing full range of motion squats. If you are unable to lift as much as your gym partner, who cares? Tame your ego. Keep your ego in check. You are doing more harm than good if you are ego-lifting.
Again, do not use soreness as a measure of your progress. Stick to your training program and let your numbers do the talking. Strength training and muscle growth will take time. Trust in the process and allow your body to adapt to the training stimulus.
Not feeling sore after squats is not necessarily a bad thing. It is far more important to make sure that you are still progressing in your training program and that your working sets for squats are getting higher and higher.