How Sore You Were When You First Started Working Out Vs Now
When you first start working out as a newbie you'll notice after 24 to 48 hours you are absurdly sore.
When a new type of stimulus/resistance is exerted upon your body you will inevitably experience “delayed onset muscle soreness” (DOMS), which is completely normal and expected.
You'll notice as you become more and more advanced, you start to become less and less sore.
Then the question arises, “is what I'm doing effective for muscle growth if I'm no longer sore?”
The short answer is … No, you don't need to be sore after working out to gain muscle.
If you just trained your legs and your legs aren't super sore, does that mean that you're not training them adequately enough?
I don't think so, especially if you're getting enough macronutrients, you're hitting your daily calorie allotment and sleeping enough (all things that will shorten your needed recovery time).
For bodybuilders who are enhanced, you'll also notice you have a much lower propensity to soreness.
Even when you do get sore, you recover a lot quicker, and at the end of the day it's not going to hinder your growth if you're not feeling sore.
Training like a lazy f*ck will prevent you from gaining muscle yes, but if you're training hard and intelligently and still aren't getting sore, don't sweat it.
Don't train yourself into the ground or do something stupid like go to the gym again later that day because you aren't sore.
Some guys will wake up the day after chest day and if their chest isn't sore they will literally go back to the gym and hit the same chest exercises again.
Do not think that the absence of muscle soreness is an indication of an inadequate workout.
Signs Of A Good Workout
Again, you don't need to be sore after working out to gain muscle.
As long as you're stretching and contracting the muscle properly, incorporating progressive overload, and hitting muscle failure on at least your last set of each exercise, you'll grow (if you're eating enough and don't have a hormone deficiency).
I'm very rarely sore myself with the exception of leg day.
That doesn't mean that my legs are going to grow better than my other body parts though.
Don't burn out your central nervous system trying to hit the same body part three days in a row because you're not getting sore from it.
Train properly, hit your macros, get enough sleep, and you'll be good to go regardless if you're sore or not.