Last updated on November 15th, 2022 at 01:36 pm
Have you ever found that even after a really intense session that your biceps aren’t sore the next day?
Many people typically view muscle soreness as a way to gauge how effective a workout was.
So, there’s nothing more frustrating than pumping out various sets of biceps exercises to feel absolutely nothing the next day.
Does this mean that your biceps haven’t been properly worked?
Will this impact your strength and size gains?
Have you just wasted an entire workout?
Here’s my take of not feeling bicep soreness the next day.
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Why Are My Biceps Not Sore The Next Day?
It’s not actually a bad sign if your biceps aren’t sore the next day. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) will usually occur for the first few weeks, possibly months, of training. After this initial period of training you won’t feel sore after every single workout. If you can feel your biceps working at the time, plus you’re progressing in terms of biceps size, strength, reps, sets and weight lifted, then you have nothing to worry about. That being said, the body will adapt very quickly, so if you’re no longer progressing it’s time to change your routine.
1. Soreness Doesn’t Indicate Effectiveness
Let’s get this out in the open straight away – feeling sore is not an indication of an effective workout.
When you first started training with weights you were probably sore all the time.
In fact, this post-workout soreness usually lasts for a number of weeks, and in many cases for many months.
However, your body soon adapts to the stress being exerted upon it.
After this, it’s not unusual to go weeks and weeks without ever feeling sore.
And then every once in a while that familiar post-workout muscle soreness pops up again.
This is of course, delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which typically occurs a day or two after your workout.
DOMS are very different from the soreness that you may feel during a workout, which is referred to as acute muscle soreness.
I think many of us have an expectation of muscle soreness from every single workout because of those first few months of training when we were constantly sore.
It’s not uncommon to actually gauge how good a workout is based on how sore we feel the next day.
I’m sure we’ve all been there – the day after leg day every step you take causes you to yelp in pain.
And let’s not even get started on the sounds that come out of your mouth as you try to make your way down the stairs.
But this is no problem.
The soreness obviously means you had a great workout.
You would actually expect even more soreness from working the biceps because they are such a small muscle when compared to the legs.
However, it’s time to dump this type of thinking.
Once you’ve been working out for a while you CAN’T expect to feel sore after every workout.
And on the odd occasion that you do, this doesn’t mean that you had a better workout.
There are actually far better ways to determine whether you’ve had a productive biceps workout.
2. Do You Feel Your Biceps During Your Workout?
Quite simply, can you “feel” your biceps being activated during your workout?
And even though I mentioned acute muscle soreness above (soreness of the muscles during your workout), I’m not talking about feeling sore at the time.
If you can feel your biceps contracting and being stimulated during your exercises then trust me they are being worked adequately.
I’m a great believer in the mind-muscle connection.
So, I always make a concerted effort to really focus on using and feeling the target muscles being worked.
When it comes to biceps I typically find that doing some high rep curls with a resistance band helps to focus my mind onto my biceps.
Something else that you may find useful is to fully contract the biceps at the top of the movement.
So, irrespective of which exercise you’re performing make sure you give the biceps a good squeeze when they’re fully contracted.
I will generally hold the “squeeze” for a count of 2-3 seconds.
And this once again helps me to focus on working the biceps properly.
Additionally, biceps are definitely one of the muscle groups that react best when you take them through their full range of motion.
So, definitely no half or quarter reps please, unless of course you’re performing 21s (see the video below).
Just make sure you stick to good rep range, your form is on-point, and you’re getting close to failure with each set, and you’re good to go.
With that being said, just to play devil’s advocate, there are certain muscles in the body that you may not feel while working them.
This could be the biceps for many people.
So, I appreciate that you may not even feel the biceps during your workout.
However, there is one sure way to know whether your biceps are being worked effectively.
3. Are Your Biceps and Workouts Progressing?
The easiest way to know whether your workouts are effective has nothing to do with soreness.
It’s all about progression.
There are a few ways that you can judge progression.
The one that most of us would love to see is whether our biceps are getting bigger and stronger.
And this is perfectly possible without ever feeling sore.
So, are your biceps bigger than before?
Do they appear fuller, rounder, more solid?
Have you started to notice bicep peaks coming through?
A simple sight test can help to ascertain whether you’re progressing in terms of size.
With that being said, it can take a fair while for your biceps to grow, often longer than many of the other muscle groups.
It’s probably much easier to measure progression in terms of strength.
Are you lifting heavier weights with your biceps exercises?
Are you able to do more reps of the same exercise than you were a month ago?
Do you take less rest between sets of biceps exercises?
Do you feel you have more in the tank compared to last week or the week before?
If you can answer yes to any or all of these questions then your biceps training is definitely progressing.
You don’t have to worry about feeling sore during or after your workout.
4. When Was the Last Time You Changed Your Routine?
If none of what I’ve mentioned so far rings true for you, it could be time to change up your routine.
So, if you’re not feeling the biceps working during your workout, or you’ve plateaued in terms of reps, sets, additional weight, etc. it’s probably time for a change.
As I’ve mentioned, the body does adapt to exercise fairly quickly.
So, if you’re simply performing the same exercises, at the same time, using the same rep and set schemes, your progression is likely to come to a screeching halt.
I have actually discussed this before, so you can learn more about why your bicep curls aren’t progressing.
Even something as simple as changing the day of your biceps workouts can stimulate new growth.
Then again, performing the same exercises in a different order, or at a different time in your workout, can once again stimulate new growth.
And of course changing up the exercises, reps and sets will definitely get your biceps growing again.
So, rather than worrying about whether you’re feeling sore or not, if you’re not progressing, let’s change things up a little.
15 Best Dumbbell Biceps Exercises (GET BIG ARMS)
You shouldn’t worry if your biceps don’t feel sore the next day after a workout. Soreness is not an indication of effectiveness. You will know if your biceps workouts are effective if you can feel the target muscles during the workout, and if you are progressing in terms of size and strength. If you find that you’re not getting any size or strength gains then you should change up your biceps routine in terms of exercises, rep and set schemes.
Next, something which may sound a bit strange, but if you know, you know.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.