Another great question posted to my “Ask The Trainer” blog on ExerciseTV’s Community:
“I just started working out on Monday and I am feeling the burn from it. I know that this is normal and that I’m making progress. I wanted to know how long before the extreme pain eases off. I can barely lift my legs!”
“Well..I’m glad that you started a new workout routine! Soreness is almost always going to happen when you try something new…either a new workout, new weights, different reps, etc. This is not a bad thing though…it means you are challenging your muscles and are on the road to seeing results. When we get into a workout groove and do the same workouts over and over, our muscles will get used to it and they won’t be sore at all. However, the “no pain, no gain” motto isn’t always true. You do want to challenge yourself, but don’t overdo it to the point of pain. I think since you are just starting out, your soreness is probably normal. It will get easier and you won’t be sore every time.
If the soreness happens within 24 hours, it’s normal muscle soreness that occurs when we make small tears in the muscle (sounds bad but that’s what it is) and then when the muscle repairs itself, that’s when it gets stronger, more toned, etc. But, if you didn’t get your soreness until a couple days later and it’s still with you, you could have DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness). This isn’t always bad either, it just means that you really challenged your muscles and you need to take extra time for them to repair.
Tomorrow go for an easy walk or warmup your muscles for 10+ minutes and then do some good leg stretches (search for some videos on here). Also, if you have a foam roller you may want to use that. Advil or an anti-inflammatory will help you too, along with some ice packs.
If you are still really sore or in pain, check with your DR because you may have injured yourself or pulled a muscle or ligament. Everybody is different and some people respond differently to workouts. But, pain is never the goal : )