Can you exercise while youre stiff?

Why do we get stiff after a good workout, what exactly makes your muscles feel so sore after exercise?

And can you exercise while youre stiff? Well being stiff is actually a sign of micro-tears in your muscles! It sounds more painful and damaging than it is. It actually helps you get stronger and allows your muscles to grow. In the recovery period, your body repairs these tears and your muscles come back stronger and bigger than before.

DOMS (or delayed onset muscle stiffness) is a term you may hear people throwing around at the gym. This is basically the delayed stiffness you feel after training, possibly 1-2 days post workout.

Now before I go on, ladies this theory of “tear your muscles for them to get bigger” does not mean that when you lift weights for a while you will be huge!

Remember that misconception! It takes a lot of work to get ‘big’ and this tearing and repairing process is simply making those muscles stronger. And stronger bigger muscles take up less space than fat plus pull the skin more, so it looks firmer.

You do not have to be stiff to know your workout was good!

This is something so many seem to chase..

And I am sorry to tell you that it shouldn’t be the first focus in your training. Yes, it can be one of your goals, but it shouldn’t be your main goal. The more consistent you are with your workouts the better your body will get at adapting and recovering. So this pain will fade and you will feel more energized and even stronger in your performance.

Focus on eating well, rest and recovery and with every workout allow your body to push its limits within reason.

The science tells us that recovery is vital to growing your muscles and getting stronger in the gym.

Recuperating your muscles is a large part of getting better in all areas of training. From physique to performance. Also imagine having crazy stiff legs only to go back to the gym to train them hard again?! It would feel impossible. The prevailing wisdom states that you should allow 1-2 days per muscle group to recover. For example if you trained shoulders and back today then you shouldn’t train those muscles again until 2 days’ time.

Most well-planned workouts, and trainers incorporate this concept to make sure you have enough time to recover and grow.

Movement all in all assists with circulation (hello further recovery). Oxygenation of the muscles happens and helps move that lactic acid so, do not skip your workouts all together! If youre still asking ‘can you exercise while youre stiff’ the answer is yes. But if you want to help this stiffness, movement is key! Not exercising the same muscle group to exhaustion. Walk or a cycle, or even just a light full body day could alleviate the pain. Even if you are feeling as like you don’t want to move at all, just avoid using the same sore muscles for example squats back to back.

Let me know below how stiffness affects you! I would love to know



Isilda Da Costa is a personal trainer and women’s fitness specialist who, if she isn’t at the gym training, is busy researching the most up to date information for growing those muscles. She has combined her love of everything healthy by being a health coach in her own health shop in Swaziland. Follow along on @izzy.healthandfitness

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